Small French Baguettes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
This is not a labor-intensive recipe, but it does involve a lot of waiting around for the dough to rise.
For the starter:
  • a heaped ½ teaspoon of instant-dry yeast
  • 300ml (or 1¼ cup) cold water
  • 325g (or 2½ cup + 5 teaspoons) all-purpose flour
For the dough:
  • the starter dough
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of table salt
  • 1¾ teaspoon instant-dry yeast
  • 300ml (or 1¼ cup) cold water
  • 500g (or 4 cups) all-purpose flour
Start by making the starter:
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the yeast, water and flour. Stir until a sticky dough forms.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 4 hours at room temperature (alternatively, you can put it in the fridge and leave the dough to rise overnight).
Once the starter has risen...:
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar, salt and yeast in the water. Add the risen starter dough and the flour and mix to combine. Using a hand mixer with dough hooks or the flat beater of a stand mixer, knead the dough until very elastic, about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes of kneading, the dough should still be very sticky, so don't be tempted to add more flour!
  2. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 90 minutes.
  3. Once the dough has risen nicely, divide the dough into 8 equal chunks. Generously dust your counter with flour and plop the chunks on top. Dust the dough chunks with more flour, then start shaping the dough: using your hands, press each chunk of dough down into a flat rectangle and roll each rectangle into a baguette shape.
  4. Place the baguettes seam-side down onto a baking sheet (or two baking sheets!) lined with baking parchment. Make sure to space the baguettes so they can rise. Using your hands, rub a generous amount of all-purpose flour into a tea towel and loosely place it flour-side in over the baguettes. Leave the baguettes to rise until they have doubled in size (mine took about 70 minutes!).
  5. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 240°C/460°F (standard oven setting) and place a heatproof bowl with about half a cup of water in the bottom of the oven. This will ensure the baguettes will get a crispy crust!
  6. Once the baguettes have doubled in size, brush them with water (I used my hands for this) and use a sharp knife to score the baguettes any way you like, then place the baguettes in the middle of the oven.
  7. As soon as the baguettes start to brown a bit, lower the oven temperature to 200°C/390°F (without opening the oven door). In total, bake the baguettes for about 30 minutes. You can test for doneness by carefully lifting one of the baguettes off the sheet and tapping the bottom. A hollow sounds means the baguettes are done!
  8. Serve warm (with some of that delicious Cinnamon-Brown Butter Spread) or allow to cool on a wire rack first.
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at