Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (2024)

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ByElien

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There is something so wonderful about sourdough baguettes. With their abundance of crunchy crust, they are teamed with an airy, light, and chewy interior.

Reader Paula says:

Absolutely perfect recipe. I’ve baked these twice, and followed the recipe exactly. The baguettes were beautifully formed, airy, crusty and delicious. Thank you.
Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (1)

Making this sourdough baguette recipe is not that hard, and if you read on, you will see. This recipe for step-by-step sourdough baguettes will show you how to make these delicious French baguettes at home without commercial yeast!

The timings show a ‘range’ of time to complete these steps. They don’t have to be exact; there is flexibility. The perfect baguette needs time to proof properly so it’s light and airy inside. Then, it needs a hot oven to bake in and some steam to create that crisp crust. I create the steam in my oven using a pan of water or ice cubes.

If you love these sourdough baguettes, try thissourdough ciabattaorsourdough fougassenext!

Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (2)

Ingredients for crisp sourdough baguettes

Here is a rundown of what you need for these homemade sourdough baguettes. See the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for the amounts.

  • Bread flour or strong all-purpose flour(with a protein level of at least 11%)
  • Active sourdough starter– Mix active starter with flour and water and create a levain. This is the name for the separate mixture of sourdough starter, where the entire thing will be used in the dough.
  • Water
  • Salt

Your starter needs to be in good condition to make great sourdough bread. Learn more about sourdough starter maintenance, or sourdough bread troubleshooting.

Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (3)

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Equipment

  • You will need a large mixing bowl to make the sourdough baguette dough. This recipe makes 4 crusty baguettes, so there is a lot of dough to work with.
  • Kitchen towels or a couche (baguette linen.) A baguette tray is also helpful for holding the baguette shape, but you can do this with just kitchen towels.
  • If you have a baking stone to bake this French bread, you can use that. Baking stones are great for heating the baguettes fast and efficiently to create a fantastic and even oven spring.
Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (4)

Timing

The timing for homemade sourdough baguettes can be tweaked to suit your schedule, but here is a guide.

  1. Between 7 am-9 am: Create your levain. The levain can sit and rise for around 4 hours.
  2. Between12 pm-2 pm:Autolyze. Flour and water are mixed and left to autolyze in a warm place for about an hour, then the starter and salt are added
  3. Between 2 pm-7 pm: Bulk fermentation time. First, you will stretch and fold the dough for two hours every 30 minutes. After the last fold, the dough will sit for another 2-4 hours before pre-shaping until it has bulked by around 50%. As with all sourdough, this bulk ferment is very important to achieve an airy crumb, and the timing depends on room temperature.
  4. Between7 pm-9 pm: Pre-shape. On a well-floured bench, split the dough into four. Shape each piece into a ball and leave them to sit for 20-30 minutes. Shape into baguettes and place the shaped baguettes in the refrigerator for a cold-proof of at least 8 hours, but up to 24.
  5. The next morning– Baking day.

Making Sourdough Baguettes

  1. Begin by making the levain. Mix starter, flour, and water and stir well until thoroughly mixed. Add it to a clean jar and cover it with a loosely balanced lid.
Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (5)
  1. Leave it to sit until it has at least doubled but not collapsed. Once your starter is well underway and at least nearly doubled, you can start the autolyze.
Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (6)
  1. Mix the main bread flour and water in a large bowl and use wet hands to combine it into a shaggy dough.
  2. Leave this to sit for around an hour.
  1. After it has sat and the starter has doubled, add the salt and starter to the dough and mix it well with wet hands.
  2. This part can be sticky, but keep squishing it until the starter has been incorporated. If your mixer is large enough, you can also do this step in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.

Stretch and folds

  1. After the starter has been incorporated, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes then perform a set of stretches and folds or coil folds.
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Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (8)

Stretch and fold

Using wet hands, take one side of the baguette dough and stretch it up, then pull it over itself. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat this move. Continue stretching, folding, and turning the bowl until all sides have been folded.

That is ‘one set’ of stretch and folds.

Coil fold

Coil folds are great when its a wetter dough like this baguette recipe. Using wet hands, coax the sides of the dough up with your fingers and lift it from the middle and back onto itself. Turn the dough and repeat on all sides until it forms a ball. If the dough sticks too much to your hands, wet them again.Seecoil foldingin action.

  1. Perform 4 more sets of folds over the next 2 hours, one every 30 minutes.
  2. After this, cover the bowl and let it ferment in a warm place, ideally around 77°F /25°C for 2-4 hours until it shows clear signs of fermentation and bulks by around 50%. This timing will significantly depend on your room temperature.

Pre-shape

  1. Gently tip the dough from the tray onto a lightly floured work surface and cut it into 4 even pieces. Use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough first to get them extra even.
  2. Take a piece of dough and form it into a square. Take each of the square’s four corners and bring them, one by one, into the middle to create a little parcel. Flip this parcel upside down, so it’s seam side down, and then cup this gently in between your hands and rotate it around and around on the bench to form a ball.
  3. Leave the balls on a floured bench, covered with a tea towel for 20-30 minutes until slightly puffed, and pass the poke test. Use a finger to poke the dough. If it pops back out slowly and leaves a slight indentation, then it’s ready. This may take longer if your room is colder.
Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (9)

Final Shaping

  1. Place a dough ball seam-side up on a floured work surface. Gently stretch it into a horizontal rectangle.
  2. Take the top third of the dough and fold it down to meet the middle. Use your fingers to push it down and seal it together. Rotate the dough 180 degrees, and do the same to the top third of the dough.
Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (10)
  1. Fold over the top layer again with your left hand, but in small increments, starting at the top right corner.
  2. For each bit, you fold down, use the heel of your hand to push it in, and elongate the dough. Lengthen them to around 12 inches/ 30cm.
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  1. Start rolling it on the bench to lengthen it, tapering off at the ends to get that traditional baguette tip.
  2. It’s helpful to brush some of the flour away before this step of the shaping, as the baguettes will need to grip the bench a little bit to create surface tension in the roll.
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  1. Place the baguettes in a baguette pan or in between generously floured kitchen towels or a cloth couche.
  2. If you don’t have a baguette pan, crease up the sides of the towels to create ‘walls’ for the baguettes to rest against.

Cold Bulk Fermentation

  1. Dust the tops of the baguettes generously with flour and cover them with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator for a cold-proof for 8-24 hours.

Baking

  1. The next day, preheat your oven and a baking sheet to 450 °F / 230°C. Add a baking pan or similar to the bottom rack of the oven to heat up, too. Later, water or ice will be added to this to create steam.
  2. Remove the baguettes from the refrigerator and lay a piece of parchment paper next to the baguette tray. Lift the side of the kitchen towel opposite to the parchment paper so it flips the dough upside down on the paper. I usually fit two baguettes per piece of parchment paper.
  3. Give at least 3 big angled slashes with a razor blade on top of the dough to allow the air to escape. How many slashes you do is up to you, but if you don’t do enough or they aren’t deep enough, the air will burst out where you might not want it to. You can use a sharp knife, which can tear the dough.
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  1. When the oven is at a temperature, slide the parchment paper and baguettes onto a board and transfer them to the hot oven tray.
  2. Add 1/2 an inch of water to the pan at the bottom of the oven or a few ice cubes to create steam. This will help the baguettes to rise without their crust setting too quickly. When adding this water, the steam can come out fast.
  3. Bake the baguettes for 30-35 minutes until browned to your liking. I like to get mine a really deep golden brown, as thats where all the flavor is. Take care when opening the oven door, as steam can rush out.
  4. Let them cool on a wire rack before serving. Or, tear right into the crispy crust of a hot baguette!
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FAQS

My sourdough baguettes are too dense. What did I do wrong?

Dense sourdough baguettes may be due to underproofing, or a starter that wasn’t active enough. Make sure your starter is bubbly and active before you begin, and let your dough proof fully. Also, make sure your oven is super hot, and introducing steam into the oven when you start baking can help the bread rise and form a crispy crust.

What’s the best way to slice a sourdough baguette?

To slice a sourdough baguette, use a bread knife with a serrated edge. This helps to cut through the crust without squashing the bread. You can either slice it on a bias for longer pieces, or straight across for shorter slices. Always ensure your bread has fully cooled before slicing to prevent it from getting squished or gummy.

Can I make a sourdough baguette without a baguette pan?

Yes, you can make a sourdough baguette without a baguette pan. You can shape the dough and place it on a baker’s couche (or a floured kitchen towel). Crease up the sides of the towels to create ‘walls’ for the baguettes to rest against.

Why did my sourdough baguette split or burst on the sides?

Sourdough baguettes may split or burst on the sides due to several reasons. The most common one is lack of scoring or improper scoring. Another big reason is underproofing the dough.

More sourdough bread recipes

Did you like these sourdough baguettes? Here are some more sourdough recipes to try! If you’re after a traditional sourdough loaf, try mystep-by-step sourdough bread.

  • Brioche Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
  • Multigrain Sourdough Bread
Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (15)

Sourdough Baguette Recipe

Yield: 4 baguettes

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Levain and proofing: 1 day 13 hours

Total Time: 1 day 14 hours 15 minutes

This sourdough baguette recipe makes baguettes with a classic, crunchy sourdough crust and a light and airy, chewy interior.

Ingredients

Levain

  • 70 g sourdough starter
  • 70g all-purpose flour
  • 70g water

Dough

  • 900g bread flour or strong all-purpose flour (minimum 11% protein)
  • 650g water
  • All the levain
  • 17g salt

Instructions

Levain

  1. Mix starter, flour, and water and stir well until thoroughly mixed. Add it to a clean jar and cover it with a loosely balanced lid. Leave it to sit for at least 4 hours until it has well-doubled but not collapsed.

The dough

  1. Once your levain has nearly doubled, start the autolyze.In a large bowl, mix the main bread flour and water and use wet hands to bring it together into a shaggy dough ball. Cover and leave this to sit for around an hour.
  2. Add the levain and salt to the dough and mix it well with wet hands until all is combined.
  3. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes, then perform a stretch and fold set or coil folds (see the notes below for the difference between the two.)
  4. Perform 4 more sets of folds over the next 2 hours, one every 30 minutes. After this, cover the bowl and let it further ferment in a warm place, ideally around 25°C/77°F for 2-4 hours until it shows clear signs of fermentation and bulks by around 50%. This timing will significantly depend on your room temperature.

Pre-shape

  1. Gently tip the dough from the tray onto a lightly floured work surface and cut it into 4 even pieces. Use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough first to get them extra even.
  2. Take a piece of dough and form it into a square. Take each of the square's four corners and bring them, one by one, into the middle to create a little parcel. Flip this parcel upside down, so it’s seam side down, and then cup this gently in between your hands and rotate it around and around on the bench to form a ball.
  3. Leave the balls on a floured bench, covered with a tea towel for approximately 30 minutes until slightly puffed, and pass the poke test. Use a wet finger to prod the dough. If it pops back out slowly and leaves a slight indentation, then it's ready. This may take longer if your room is colder.

Shaping

  1. Grab a dough ball and place it seam-side up on a floured work surface to shape the dough. Gently form it into a horizontal rectangle.
  2. Take the top third of the dough and fold it up to meet the middle. Use your fingertips to push it down and seal it together. Rotate the dough 180 degrees, and do the same to the top third of the dough.
  3. Fold over the top layer again with your left hand, but in small increments, starting at the top right corner. For each bit, you fold down, use the heel of your hand to push it in, and elongate the dough. Lengthen them to around 30cm/12 inches.
  4. Start rolling it on the bench to lengthen it, tapering off at the ends to get that traditional baguette tip. It's helpful to brush some of the flour away before this step of the shaping, as the baguettes will need to grip the bench a little bit to create surface tension in the roll.
  5. Place the baguettes in a baguette pan or in between generously floured kitchen towels. If you have no baguette pan, crease up the sides of the towels to create ‘walls’ for the baguettes to rest against.
  6. Dust the tops of the baguettes generously with flour and cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator for a long cold-proof for 8-24 hours.

Baking

  1. Preheat your oven and baking sheet to 450 °F (230°C.) Add a baking pan or similar in the bottom of the oven to heat up, too. This is where water will be added to create some steam.
  2. Remove the baguettes from the refrigerator and lay a large piece of parchment paper next to the baguette tray. Lift the side of the kitchen towel opposite to the parchment paper so it flips the dough upside down on the paper.
  3. Give at least 3 big angled slashes in the dough with a razor blade to allow the air to escape. How many slashes you do is up to you, but if you don’t do enough or they aren’t deep enough, the air will burst out where you might not want it to.
  4. When the oven is at a temperature, slide the parchment paper and baguettes onto a board and transfer them to the hot oven tray.
  5. Add 1/2 an inch of water to the pan at the bottom of the oven or a few ice cubes to create steam. This will help the baguettes to rise without their crust setting too quickly. When adding this water, the steam can come out fast.
  6. Bake the baguettes for 30-35 minutes until browned to your liking.
  7. Take care when opening the oven door, as steam can rush out.
  8. Let them cool on a wire rack before serving.

Notes

Stretch and fold

Using wet hands, take one side of the baguette dough and stretch it up, then pull it over itself.

Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat this move.

Continue stretching, folding, and turning the owl until all sides have been folded.

That is 'one set' of stretch and folds.

Coil folds

Coil folds are great when it's a wetter dough like this baguette recipe. Using wet hands, coax the sides of the dough up with your fingers and lift it from the middle and back onto itself.

Turn the dough and repeat on all sides until it forms a ball. If the dough sticks too much to your hands, wet them again.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 12
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 340Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 586mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 11g

Elien

I'm Elien. I love baking, especially with sourdough, and I'm passionate about sharing my recipes with you! You will find me spending most of my days either recipe testing in the kitchen, photographing food in my living room, or out in the garden. I'm so happy to have you here!

Step-by-Step Sourdough Baguette Recipe - Home Grown Happiness (2024)
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