The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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aytab's picture


Just venting here.....why? The Classic French Baguette is amazing in its simplicity, then why is it so incredibly hard to get right? Why, Why, Why?  Grrrrr.....

PastryPaul's picture

Not the first time I hear that.

A baguette is, sort of, one of the simplest breads, just flour, water, and salt. The short ingredient list, however, makes getting to the perfect baguette very complex. There is nothing to hide behind. It must be scaled just right, mixed just right for the formula, formed just right, proofed just right, slashed just right, baked just right, and cooled just right. Any fumble along the way, and you're toast (pardon the expression) .

KAF has a series of videos on making and evaluating baguettes. They're worth a look.

Keep on plugging. Every now and then, the Baking Gods allow us mere mortals a single perfect baguette. It's worth waiting for.


dabrownman's picture

if the french can do it, then anyone can do it :-)  But, if you are slash challenged like me it is more difficult.  But I can practice slashing on other breads and not worry about baggies, till I try to make them :-)

SteveB's picture

if the french can do it, then anyone can do it :-)

You do realize that this is an international forum, don't you?  Appending a smiley face emoticon to a discourteous remark doesn't automatically make it funny or clever.




dmsnyder's picture

We should stick to poolish jokes in this forum. Oh, yeah ...  ;-)


dabrownman's picture

face was meant to show that it was meant as a harmless joke.  Is there some part of that you do not understand?  No harm or insult was ever intended in the least.  I'm guessing that the French are just like us in every way and baguette challenged  - as I admitted if you read further as I made fun at my inability to make any decent baguettes and my slashing handicap.  This is called self deprecating humor and especially useful after joking about someone else.  I shows you meant no harm to those who understand such things.

Without humor there can be no love Steve.     

wally's picture

The only thing 'simple' about a baguette is the ingredients.  The talent required to manipulate dough just so - yielding an open, irregular crumb - and to achieve slashing just so - resulting in beautiful 'ears' - is difficult.  It requires practice and more practice.  Which is why it is so hard for the home baker, who unlike the professional, doesn't shape and bake baguettes day in and day out, to make a good baguette.

Baguettes, IMHO, are the MOST difficult to master.  Yes, simple ingredients, but a challenging dough to execute well.


aytab's picture

Well I've got some more proofing right now, it is just so frustrating, baguettes are my nemesis!!!! I shall overcome, I shall master the baguette. "Capere Die Et Panem"

ystamp's picture

Hi, not sure of how you are coming along with your baguette creations, but I came across this no knead baguette recipe on King Arthur flour and thought about you.  Please check it out, has step-by-step instructions and photos.



MNBäcker's picture

"A baguette is, sort of, one of the simplest breads, just flour, water, and salt."

Do you not use yeast in your baguettes? Or are you referring to Sourdough Baguettes?


PastryPaul's picture

Ok, so I mis-typed

Please consider it as, "A baguette is, sort of, one of the simplest breads, just flour, water, yeast, and salt."



Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

I stand in the window of the local French bread baker.  My nose almost pressed against the glass.  He lays out the raw dough on the sheeter, five to a row and then about 6 rows long.  He takes his lame' and bends over the dough and as if he is in a trance...he makes the 5 perfect slashes in each without lifting his hunched shoulders or bowed head.  They are slid into the oven, the stream is added and we wait.  Out they come.  Pictures of perfection.  He looks at me and smiles.  I smile and my eyes mist....I have seen art being created.

Lolounette's picture

This is my first post on this great forum, just to say that I perfectly understantd your frustration

It took me more than one year (making bread every 3 days)  to obtain the baguettes I wanted, with a lot of deception on the wayas said previously, the baguette recipe is in fact very complex because it involve lots af technical steps and if we miss only one of them the result will be poormy advice will be to cut the difficulties in several parts : the way I did it is to begin with a very simple recipe with no shaping and no slashing at first but witch gave very good baguettes despite of that. I put it on my blog  here, the text is in french but there are lots of vidéos so I hope english-spoken people can understant it as well (or I can traduct it for you if you want)I practiced this recipie for nearly 6 month until I could make it with closed eyes, and then keeping all ingredients the same I switched for a more complexed one including shaping and scoring this time. And once all of that was nice I introduced hand kneading to it...It made things more simpler to learn because you make it step by step and not all at once here is the result, not perfect but on the right way (those are all sourdough organic baguettes, kneaded by hand)

hope this could help :)ps: by the way I am french (as my poor english indicates) so maybe this could help after all ;)