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The Authentic French Baguette Recipe by Éric Kayser

The Authentic French Baguette Recipe by Éric Kayser

authentic french baguette recipe

My favorite French baguette recipe is the one by the French baker Éric Kayser. It’s a very easy recipe you can do at home with just five ingredients: flour, water, salt, fresh baker’s yeast, and levain starter. There is nothing like a freshly baked French baguette on a Sunday morning. Crusty and beautifully colored on the outside, buttery soft, and chewy on the inside, with a tiny bit of butter or with French jam – it’s one of my favorite breakfast foods.

French baguettes are not difficult to bake, but many factors can affect how your baguettes will look and taste. Factors like the temperature of your kitchen, the freshness of your yeast, humidity, and water temperature can all affect the proofing time of your bread dough. Your dough may rise in as little as an hour or less in a toasty kitchen. When the temperatures dip, it can take much longer—upwards of 2 or even 3 hours. That is why, using the same ingredients, different bakers can make baguettes that differ from each other.

Did you know there are two types of baguettes in France? The baguette classique or ordinaire is white inside with a crisp crust and is leavened with yeast. This is often the cheapest one, and they are sometimes made with additives, gluten, ascorbic acid, and other preservatives. In France, most good bakeries put their energy toward the most artisanal baguette: the baguette tradition. By a law enacted in 1993, a baguette tradition can only contain four ingredients: flour, leavening, water, and salt. They are usually hand-formed and baked on the premises and have levain (sourdough) starter. So, next time you visit France, order a baguette tradition at your local bakery.

How to Make Traditional French Baguettes

While it’s a challenge to make traditional baguettes at home, this recipe below is one of the easiest French baguette recipes I know. However, this recipe takes some time. Indeed, you need 4 days to make the levain starter you’ll use to bake your baguette. Then, you need 10 minutes to prepare the dough, 4h30 to rise the dough, and around 20 minutes to bake in the oven. Don’t expect perfection the first time out, but the more you practice your baguette-baking techniques, the better the baguette you’ll make.

authentic french baguette recipe

The French Baguette Recipe by Éric Kayser

Here is the French baguette tradition recipe by Éric Kayser.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Rising Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 3 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people


*For the levain starter

  • 140 g rye flour
  • 100 g wheat flour T65
  • 240 g water
  • 10 g honey

For the baguette

  • 500 g bread flour T55 or unbleached bread flour
  • 100 g levain starter*
  • 330 g water
  • 9 g sea salt
  • 4 g fresh baker’s yeast


Éric Kayser's levain starter recipe

  • Day 1: Mix 20g of rye flour with 5g of honey and 20g of water. Mix until there should be no flour left in the bottom of the glass. Let rest and cover with a clean kitchen cloth at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Day 2: Add 40g of rye flour, 40g of water, 5g of honey to your preparation. Mix well until there is no residue of flour on the bottom of the glass. Let rest and cover with a clean kitchen cloth at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Day 3: Add 80g of rye flour and 80g of water to your preparation. Mix until there should be no flour left in the bottom of the glass. Let rest and cover with a clean kitchen cloth at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Day 4: Add 100g of wheat flour (Type 65) and 100g of water to your preparation. Here is a levain starter ready to be used.

Éric Kayser's traditional baguette recipe

  • Knead the 500g of flour with the 330g of water for a few minutes (about 4 minutes at slow speed). Let it rise at room temperature and under a kitchen towel for about 1 hour.
  • Add the 4g of fresh baker's yeast, the 9g of salt, and the 100g of levain starter. Then, knead for 6 to 7 minutes.
  • Place the dough on a kitchen towel. Take its temperature, it must be around 23/24°C (73/75°F) to have a good fermentation. Let the dough rise for 1 hour. Then, cut the dough in three, and shape the bread into round loaves. Leave them rest for 30 minutes.
  • Put a little bit of flour on your kitchen worktops, just under the round loaf. Press on it but without degassing too much. Stretch the dough a little bit, roll it up and roll it out into a baguette shape. Put it on a kitchen cloth. Fold the kitchen cloth over so the dough does not touch each other and place another dough on top and so on. Let the dough rise for about 2 hours.
  • Just before baking the bread, put water in the oven to create water vapor so you can rise the dough longer. Bake the bread for 22/23 min at 250°C/482°F (th.8-9).
Keyword bread

Et voilà! I hope you enjoyed this French baguette recipe. If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating, letting me know how you liked it. Merci beaucoup and bon appétit!

View Comments (20)
  • Bonjour ..I have been using another recipe . Your recipe is easier and I love the texture. I could have baked the bread a bit longer as I live in the mountains and
    my house is at 3600 feet. I added more of the water than was necessary so I used more flour and it still is great… very goof proof!
    The bread will not last long! … I will bake again!

    Oh, and Leonce that you for answering my other email. I am sorry I did not reply. This new blog is wonderful. As it is as close as I will get to France for quite awhile
    I am loving it.

    A bientot

    Sue Wilders

    • Thank you Susan, I’m really happy that you enjoyed the recipe <3
      And thank you again for your lovely email 🙂

  • Thank you for posting the baguette tradition recipe. Looking forward to trying it! By chance do you still have the previous baguette ordinaire recipe available? I would like to try that first before attempting the baguette tradition.

    • Hello John! Many thanks for your comment! Sorry but unfortunately the previous baguette recipe is not available anymore :/ I hope you’ll enjoy this new one 🙂 Let me know what you think once you’ve tried it!

    • Hello Craig! Thank you very much for your question. Yes, you can substitute the levain with sourdough starter. Indeed, levain and sourdough starters are quite the same: both are made from flour, water, and wild yeast, and both are used to ferment and flavor bread dough. However, bread’s taste and flavors will be different. In this baguette recipe, I’ll use the sourdough starter in the same proportion as the levain (100g). Hope that helps!

  • After the first mixing, it says to let the flour/water mixture rise under a towel for an hour. But I haven’t added any yeast or levain yet, so why will it rise?


    • Bonjour Nick! This is a good question, thank you for asking!
      This first step where you let the flour/water mixture rise is called the “autolyse”. It’s a technique that delivers a dough that’s easier to work with and shape, and a loaf with better texture, rise, and flavor. It may look like nothing is happening, but you will notice the difference as soon as you handle the dough as it will have become smoother and elastic 🙂

  • Hi. I found that the baking temperature is too high . next time i will bake at 200c on a fan oven.
    Maintaining the Levain . Any suggestions?

    so, when I bake these baguettes correctly, they’re bound to be really good. Merci bien.. a la procbaine.

    • Bonjour Corey! Merci beaucoup for your question 🙂
      I think you could try! To substitute one type of yeast for another you need to adjust the quantities.
      In this recipe, 4g fresh baker’s yeast equals 2g active dry yeast or 1g instant yeast.
      Do not hesitate to let me know if you did, thank you!

  • What is T65 flour? Can I substitute organic white, or white whole wheat flour from King Arthur?
    Thank you

    • Hello Kirsten! Thank you very much for your comment. Yes, it’s T65 flour! You can definitely use organic white or whole wheat flour from King Arthur if you want. But T65 is the best for baguettes 🙂

  • I have heard that the room temperature and humidity make a difference when making French Bread. What would be the ideal temperature and Humidity level for the best results?

  • Hi Leonce,
    It seems like at the end of the first 4 days one now has around 480g of levain, of which 100g is used for the baguettes. So what to do with the leftover levain? Can it Be kept refrigerated like a sourdough starter? And if so, does it need to be fed, and at what rate and amounts of flour and water? I live in the Philippines and any flour other than all purpose can be expensive so I’d like to avoid tossing away the leftover levain.
    P. S. I have caps lock off but the comment box is making everything capital letters. If it posts this way I am letting you know I am not “yelling.” 😉

    • Bonjour David, thank you very much for your comment! Yes, you can keep your leftover levain in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The day before you want to use it, just add again flour and water. For example, if you have 200g of levain, add 200g of flour and 200g of water. Also, if your levain is a little weak (not fermenting enough), just add between 5g to 20g of honey. Remember to use between 10% and 20% of levain compared to the weight of the flour. In this recipe we use 100g of levain for 500g of flour (20%).
      P.S. Thank you very much for letting me know! I’ve changed the font for the comments, I hope now it’s better 😉

  • Hi – question on your levain starter – on day 4 you add the wheat flour, and say the levain is ready to use. Are you to use it then, or do you need to wait until the levain rests / bubbles after 12 or 24 hours?

    Thank you

    • Bonjour Marc, thank you for your question! On Day 4, you don’t need to wait until the levain rests. Just add the wheat flour and you can use your levain right after.

  • I’ve not baked this yet, but I’m curious why the levain yield is 250g, but only 100g is used for the baguettes. For my test bake, I scaled the levain ingredients to 28.6g, 20.4g, 49g, and 2g, as I do not need 150g of levain just hanging out. What am I missing?

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