Made with only a few simple ingredients, getting a flavorful baguette is all in getting the steps right! This Easy French Bread has a crisp crust and wonderfully soft interior—a great recipe to have in your recipe collection.
1 teaspoon Fleischmann's® RapidRise® Instant Yeast (about half of a packet)
2 teaspoons salt
1-⅔ cup warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Using a wooden spoon, make a well in the center and add the warm water and sugar. Mix together. The dough should be wet and sticky.
Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let the dough sit for 15 minutes.
After the dough is rested, use your hands to stretch and pull the outside of the dough into the center of the dough. Then flip the dough over so all the folds are now on the bottom. Repeat this stretching every 30 minutes for 2 hours.
Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 12 hours, or overnight.
After 12 hours, place the dough on a well-floured work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces, gently shaping them into long rectangles. Cover with a dish towel so they don’t dry out and let them sit for an hour.
After an hour, preheat the oven to 475°F and place a 9" x 13" pan full of water in the bottom rack. This will help your oven steam up and keep your bread from drying out.
Next, take each rectangle and stretch it out into your desired length baguette. Roll and pull the edges of the dough into the center, using your thumbs to gently pinch the edges in to seal them. Do this one more time until the dough is a log shape. Repeat with the rest of the pieces.
Flip the baguettes over so the pinched side is down and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a dish towel and proof in a warm spot for 1 hour. The dough is done proofing when it springs back slowly when gently poked.
After an hour, use a razor blade to cut scores the top of each baguette (about 3 or 4 diagonally across each baguette). This guides steam out of the bread and helps control the shape of the loaf.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the baguettes are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
Allow to cool completely before serving for the best crust and texture.