If you crave a tasty sweet baguette, the French way, you have 2 options... Find it or DIY!



If you have just arrived in San Francisco, there are chances that you are looking, among other things (laundry that washes without leaving stains, plain yogurt in individual pots, not so bitter espresso...) for a good baguette just like in France, blonde, long, light inside and crispy outside.


If you have been living in San Francisco for a while, then, there are chances that you have given up on finding this treasure called "sweet baguette", up to your expectations, so, blonde, long, light ...


Run to La Boulange on Pine (when bread is taken out of the oven), to Tartine on 18th Street and to Thorough Bread, bakery and pastry, on Church @ Market, where they offer pure golden delights.

You should also try the baguette at La Brea Bakery, offered at

Whole Foods, especially when it is still warm from the oven. (Well yes, right, you have to be there on time, but it happens quite often ...)


Acme Bread baguette is often cited in the top five of good baguettes. They are at the Ferry Plaza and Berkeley, and some supermarkets including Whole Foods, Haight Street Market, Andronicos, Mollie Stone's...


You should also check the selection by LostinSF (which is not exhaustive but is worth a look though and could be helpful and inspiring) of excellent French - or not - bakeries in San Francisco and the Bay Area.


LostinSF selection


That said, wherever you go, you'll have an easier time finding sourdough bread and very good ones indeed (At least for those who like it...). It is said that there is in San Francisco a "je-ne-sais-quoi" in the humidity of the air that makes the sourdough bread better than anywhere else... Well. OK ?! We do not insist, let's leave alone this myth, this is one of San Franciscans' prides.


So for those who have given up on finding the baguette of their dreams, those who are not top fan of sourdough bread. And those who do not have a bakery next door to them ... Here is a recipe to make your own baguette at home, with your ten little fingers, you will need very little, mostly time (especially time to rest and raise) and patience because it will take a few try before you'll be totally satisfied ... You won't dare blame us for not warning you! But we promise that ultimately it's easy! Let's do it!


Photo by Sabrina Bot

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Overalls by Leitmotif




To make your baguette you will need...


250 g flour

Use "bread flour", which contains most of gluten, a protein with elastic properties, which make the bread lighter and more airy (the "all purpose flour" is best for pastry).


150 g of lukewarm water.

Tap water is totally fine.



1 packet of yeast

Active Dry Yeast, sold in individual bags, to be diluted in water (or Instant Active Dry Yeast can be dry mixed). This allows bread to rise by fermentation prior to baking.


8 g of salt

Accuracy is everything!


That's it? Yes, that's it!


Start by mixing the yeast and water. Dilute well. If you are a professional of culinary arts, pull out your Kitchenaid mixer and with the hook, mix the flour and water  mixture, then add the salt. For everyone else, no worry, you can do the same thing in a bowl and mix by hand. Yes it sticks to the fingers... Kneading allows to incorporate all ingredients. After five minutes, you will get a compact and smooth dough. If it still sticks, add flour, but if it crumbles, add a little water.


Work well in your dough flattening and folding it tightly upon itself about 10 times. This will capture some air inside the dough. Fold one last time the dough on itself and form a ball.


Put the ball in a bowl covered with a cloth. Let stand at least 2 hours.


Take the dough. Who are you? You do not recognize your little ball ... it's normal, it doubled in size. Stretch, and fold it on itself, a dozen times. There you finally understand why all bakers have big hands and large fingers.


Shape your baguette and put it on a baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth to prevent from a crust to form. Let stand at least one hour.


Turn on your oven to 430 ° F.


You can sprinkle flour onto your baguette for an authentic and rustic touch. Cut the baguette at several levels with scissors. This is your personal touch: the signature of the baker. It is essential to scarify the baguette so it does not tear off on the sides.


In the oven, put a container with hot water. To give it some crispiness. Bake your baguette for about 30 minutes.


And... that's it! You should have before you a nice, golden and appetizing baguette.


If this first time is not a spectacular success, do not sulk, you still have the satisfaction of having bake your own bread! Except if it is a heavy like a brick ... but I doubt it. Try again, because it's really not so complicated, just make some necessary adjustments. Once you get the hang of it, you can mix the flours, whole, rye, with always at least 50% of bread flour. Vary the shapes, short, long, square ... You can also add seeds, nuts, fruits, olives ...


Let yourself go, and be a little crazy!




Contribution : Cécile Hurigen