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Crusty French Baguettes in 30 Minutes

You know those times when you realize that you’re having a bunch of people over and that you forgot to figure out a bread? But you’re like an hour from dinner and pretty much everything would take way too long?

30-Minute Crusty Baguettes

(yeah, me neither)

30-Minute Crusty Baguettes with Homemade Butter

Lucky for me, I’ve found a couple of pretty quick bread recipes that are pretty quick (and aren’t just biscuits). I have this 1-hour focaccia bread and a 1-hour french bread, but this goes even further. You can have this thing done start to finish in about a half hour (give or take a few minutes depending on how long it takes to bake). And the flavor is AMAZING!

30-minute crusty baguette dough wine

This is a key part of bread making…

30-Minute Crusty Baguette

Bread is a non-negotiable part of meals for my mom, so super happy to have another great recipe in the arsenal.

30-minute crusty baguette yeast

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl, stir together the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set the bowl on top of the preheating oven for ten minutes, until the yeast “proofs”—the foam forms on top.

30-minute crusty baguette dough

Stir in a cup of the flour and the salt, then start adding the flour a half-cup at a time. The dough should stop being sticky and become quite soft. For me, I had to use the full 4 cups of flour.

30-minute crusty baguette dough rough flour

30-minute crusty baguette dough kneaded

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead the dough until it’s elastic and not sticky at all. For me, I get the flour worked in initially and then begin folding the dough in quarters, smooshing it flat, and doing it again. It should have a lovely silky quality.

30-minute crusty baguette dough twisted loaves

Cut the dough into four equal pieces and roll each of them into four long, thin ropes. Take two of ropes, pinch them together at one end, and twist the two ropes together to form one loaf (pinch the other ends together once you get there).

Do the same for the other two ropes, and transfer both loaves onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

30-minute crusty baguette baked

If you’re pressed for time, you can bake the loaf right away, or you can also allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.  I’ve done both, and both yield great results (this time I let it rise a little because the oven was otherwise occupied). Place the baking sheet in the oven.

Now for the most important part:  fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice, open your hot oven, and toss the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door. Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes (because, steam). This is what gives the baguette its crusty exterior. My mom wouldn’t let me do that in her oven, so I put ice cubes in an oven-safe pan and put that in the oven as well.

30-Minute Crusty Baguette closeup

Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.

30-Minute Crusty Baguette done

30-Minute Crusty Baguettes with Butter

Serve fresh and hot with your favorite olive oil for dipping. My mom had made fresh homemade butter, which was the perfect complement!

Crusty French Baguettes in 30 Minutes

  • 2 cups of very warm water
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3-4 cups of flour (I used closer to 4)

Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, stir together the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven for ten minutes, until the yeast “proofs” (the foam forms on top). Stir in a cup of the flour and the salt, then add the flour a half-cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft but not sticky. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead the dough until it’s elastic and not sticky at all.

Cut the dough into four even pieces. Roll each of them into four long, thin ropes. Take two of ropes, pinch them together at one end, and twist the two ropes together to form one loaf. Do the same for the other two ropes, and transfer both loaves onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

If you’re pressed for time, you can bake the loaf right away, or you can also allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.  I’ve done both, and both yield great results. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Now for the most important part:  fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice, open your hot oven, and toss the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door. Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes (because, steam). This is what gives the baguette its crusty exterior. My mom wouldn’t let me do that in her oven, so I put ice cubes in an oven-safe pan and put that in the oven as well.

Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Serve fresh and hot with your favorite olive oil for dipping.

Original recipe here

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Comments

  1. Melissa W. says:

    Haha, shot down by Mom! I would be a little nervous about ice in the bottom of my oven as well. Did the bowl method for ice work just as well? I could alternately put the ice on an old cookie sheet, which would be closer to mimicking the bottom of my oven…

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  2. Or gas.

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  3. So, I made this this morning using the ice-on-a-cookie-sheet method discussed above, and it definitely didn’t crisp up the bread that much on the outside. I don’t think that putting ice on a room temp baking sheet and then placing in the oven is nearly as effective as placing the ice directly onto a preheated surface where it instantly will steam vigorously. But I still can’t bring myself to dump them directly on the oven floor! Next time, I think I will just use the technique I’ve used in the past, where I preheat a baking pan on the lower rack and then dump a cup of ice-cold water into it once I put the bread in.

    I used freshly ground whole wheat flour for my recipe, and I needed to knead it quite a while to get the gluten to develop. I’ve noticed this is true in general for my freshly ground whole wheat bread recipes. The dough ate a lot of extra flour during the long kneading process (in order to avoid it sticking to my hands), so that I probably added about 5 cups of flour to the recipe in the end, rather than the 3-4. This didn’t make it too dry or hard, though. The end result is a soft, lovely bread.

    This is definitely not a 30-minute bread for me, but it can easily be done in under an hour (which is less time than it takes me to cook most meals!), and the texture is really impressive for such a quick bread.

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  1. […] 30-Minute Crusty French Baguettes – another great fast option […]

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