If you’re a fan of French baguettes, then you’re going to adore these flavorful sourdough baguettes. Making sourdough baguettes requires lots of patience and an active sourdough starter. Contrary to a traditional baguette that uses commercial yeast as a levain, your starter is quite literally the star of the show! So what are you waiting for? Try this homemade sourdough baguette right now!
What is a Baguette?
The word baguette means batton or stick, literally referring to its shape. Baguettes are a long, curved loaf of bread, originating from France in the early 19th century, when steam ovens were first introduced.
Baguettes are super versatile and can be paired with almost anything. From sauce soaked meatballs, to simple hot chicken soup, this crisp bread will not disappoint!
Are All Baguettes Sourdough?
Traditional baguettes aren’t made with a sourdough starter, instead they use fresh yeast. This process is much quicker, though the result is different to a sourdough baguette.
With patience, you’ll be able to create an incredible sourdough baguette! This sourdough baguette recipe requires overnight fermentation, ensuring that you are able to produce a tasty loaf, with the best texture and flavor, any sourdough loaf can have.
When making a sourdough baguette it’s important to note that your starter is active and bubbly, so that your baguettes can emerge incredibly sour and flavorful.
Best Flour for Sourdough Baguette
We’ve spoken on the blog about the best flour to use for sourdough, but is it the same as the best to use for a baguette?
A classic French baguette is made using only white flour, but some may choose to add 20% of whole grain flour. For this sourdough baguette recipe, I recommend using a high protein content flour such as bread flour or all purpose flour, simply because the dough is easier to work with. You’ll find that they produce high rising loaves with a good structure, and wonderful texture.
How to Make Sourdough Baguette
This type of French bread, otherwise known as baguette, happens to produce a blissful crunchy crust that is incredibly addicting. And what happens when sourdough meets baguette? A flavorful explosion! Picture a savory sourdough baguette, complete with an impressive open crumb, perfect for layering with a variety of sandwich ingredients.
- Large mixing bowl
- Ceramic dish
- Baguette pan or floured tea towels
- 70g sourdough starter
- 70g flour
- 70g water
- 900g all purpose flour or bread flour
- 600ml water
- 15g salt
- Make the Levain: Grab a medium bowl and mix, sourdough starter, water and bread flour until thoroughly combined. Cover this with a plate and let it rest overnight. The levain should have lots of tiny bubbles across the surface.
- Mix the Dough: Transfer the levain into a large bowl, then add water, and bread flour, then mix until the flour has integrated appropriately, forming a shaggy dough. Cover this with a lid or damp towel, setting this aside for 45 minutes to autolyse.
- After 45 minutes, sprinkle some salt on the dough, squeezing and pinching till equally distributed. Stretch and fold the dough, then cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Bulk Rise: Continue to perform a set of stretches and folds every 30 minutes for the next 3 hours, remembering to cover and let dough rest in between.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 3 equivalent sections. Gently roll each section of dough on the countertop to create a tight ball. Then add a dusting of flour and cover with a tea towel and let the dough balls rest for 30 minutes.
- Shape the Baguette Dough: Sprinkle your work surface with flour, to prevent the dough from sticking, and gently pat the first dough ball into a rectangle, about 9 inches long. Fold the top third of the dough downwards, and press into the dough using the heel of your hand. Fold the dough in half once again, and use your hand to connect the edges.
- Roll the dough seam side down, and press and roll the dough out so that it forms a baguette shape.
- Place the shaped baguette’s seam side down on a greased baguette pan.
- Second Rise: Cover the sourdough baguette dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat and Score: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, ensuring that the oven racks are positioned in the middle of the oven, and one level below. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with a second baking sheet prepared with ice cubes. Once the oven is hot, remove the dough from the fridge, and place each shaped sourdough baguette onto the parchment paper (you can also bake these baguettes in a baguette pan if you wish). Use a very sharp knife to make 3 parallel slashes into each piece of baguette dough.
- Bake Sourdough Baguettes: Place a handful of ice cubes onto the second baking sheet, then place the baguette into the oven, on the middle rack, with the ice cubes directly below them. Close the oven door, and decrease the temperature to 450 degrees. Bake the baguettes for 30 to 35 minutes, until they become a lovely golden brown shade. Remove the baguettes from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
- 9:00 AM – Feed your starter in the morning.
- 6:00 PM – Form the dough and autolyse.
- 7:15 PM – Add salt, and perform the first stretch and fold. Let this rest for 45 minutes.
- 8:15 PM – Stretch and fold, then cover and rest for 45 minutes.
- 9:30 PM – Stretch and fold, cover for 45 minutes.
- 10:15 PM – Shape the dough, and let it ferment in the fridge overnight.
- 8:00 AM – Remove the baguettes from the fridge and allow them to reach room temperature (1 hour).
- 8:30 AM – Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, and place a sheet pan with ice cubes in the bottom of the oven along with a baking tray, baking stone, or parchment-lined baking sheet.
- 9:00 AM – Place the baguettes onto the baking sheet, and slash the dough with a knife.
- 9:15 AM – Bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then remove the baguettes, and let them cool before transferring to a wire rack.
Best Shaping Containers for Sourdough Baguette
There is no incorrect container to shape your sourdough baguettes in. Whatever works for you will produce the best baguettes with amazing flavor.
That being said there are a few tried and tested containers that happen to be great at shaping sourdough baguettes, so if you’re relatively new to baking in general, some of these options may help you:
- Heavy Lined Dish Towel
- Baguette Proofing Basket
- Perforated Baguette Tray
Heavy Lined Dish Towel
Place the towel on a flat cookie sheet and lightly dust the towel with some rice flour. Lay the baguette dough onto the towel, forming a pleat to create a barrier for the next baguette. You can hold the pleats together using pegs for a more secure barrier.
Baguette Proofing Basket
These proofing baskets can be purchased in all shapes and sizes, depending on how long you want your baguette to be. You must ensure that you have a baking tray or pan large enough to bake these baguettes in.
Perforated Baguette Tray
A baguette forming tray covered in a dish towel is another great baguette shaping option. Generously rub the dish with rice flour, and place the baguette dough on top.
Troubleshooting Sourdough Baguette Recipe
While some first time bakers may experience beginner’s luck, some of us have had a hard time perfecting our sourdough bakes. There are a few common mishaps that can occur, especially when baking a sourdough baguette. Some of these can include:
- Dense Baguettes
- Burst Seams
- Soft Crust
- Unopened Scoring
A resulting dense baguette can be extremely disappointing, especially when you’ve spent all that time taking care of your sourdough starter. So what could have caused a dense sourdough baguette? Generally, sourdough baguettes can become dense when they have not been proofed or fermented enough.
Once you’ve managed to shape your sourdough baguette, you’ll need to allow some time for the baguette dough to proof, gradually becoming light and puffy. If they feel heavy when you place them into the oven, you may find that they don’t produce a good oven spring as much as you had expected.
Poor shaping techniques can be the result of a burst seam, especially if they have not been merged correctly. You must ensure that there are no gaps in the seams, as this is what can cause a breakage.
Baguettes are known and adored for their irresistible crunchy crust. And when that fails, there are no sourdough baguettes on the menu.
For this sourdough baguette recipe, you must ensure that there is lots of steam in your oven. You may achieve the best results by baking your baguettes in a covered pan, but ice or water placed in the oven, will do the trick.
Scores that don’t open during the baking process can be the cause of a poorly angled slash. Make sure that your are slicing in a single swift motion, at a diagonal angle, and that the slices aren’t deep!
How to Serve Sourdough Baguettes
Similar to any good sourdough loaf, you can enjoy this sourdough baguette for breakfast by adding a glob of butter to the chewy interior and appreciate its moist flavorful depth.
But if you’re looking to elevate breakfast time, then here are some ideas for you to try!
- Baguette Sandwiches – Make a delightful cheese and ham sandwich, with crisp lettuce leaves, and mayonnaise to tie these ingredients together.
- Dipped in Soup – Toast a slice of sourdough baguette and dip this into some leftover mushroom soup. Many bread lovers are aware of the scrumptious flavors that cling to the bread, moistened by the delicious soup.
- With Eggs and Bacon – Dip your baguette slices in some fried eggs with crisp bacon for a phenomenal breakfast that’ll spoil you rotten!
Storing Sourdough Baguettes
Like all loaves of sourdough bread, these sourdough baguettes are best when eaten on the day they were made. To store sourdough bread appropriately, would ensure that you can continue to enjoy it the next day. If you plan to eat your sourdough baguette over the next couple of days, then place the baguette into a paper bag, on the kitchen counter.
Alternatively, you can freeze your baguettes sliced, or whole. When freezing sliced baguettes, place each slice on a baking sheet, then place them into a freezer bag.
However if you’re freezing a whole baguette, wrap the bread tightly in aluminum foil or a plastic freezer wrap, then place this into a freezer bag. This way you can enjoy your sourdough baguettes for many months to come.
When you master the art of baking sourdough loaves, and you’re looking for something new to try, why not make sourdough baguettes? Pretty soon you’ll become addicted to the irresistible aroma of this spectacular bread, you’ll end up baking sourdough baguettes more often than needed!
The answer to this is no. A baguette is a long loaf of bread made using conventional yeast, while sourdough bread is made using a live culture.
The main distinction between sourdough bread and a French baguette is the ingredient. Sourdough bread uses a starter which acts as a natural leavening, whilst French breads are leavened using a yeasted pre-ferment.
While they are quite similar, most French breads are not made with sourdough, rather with a conventional yeast.