03 March, 2024

Basic Internet "No knead" baguette bread

Here's one I prepared earlier!

So, this is basically just a slightly tweaked rip-off of this "5 minute baguette" recipe video from Voila - Voila! on YouTube. I got sick of trying to hunt-down the video bookmark just to read the recipe quantities again, so I thought I'd write them up here for reference.

Spoiler alert: The "5 minute" title just refers to the actual working time. It still takes overnight to prove, which improves the flavour and texture of the bread immensely, and also helps to smooth over any rough parts of the prep or ingredient ratios. There's also tens of minutes to bake and rest before you can enjoy the fruits of your labour.

I'll start with the most basic and simple presentation of the recipe and then talk about the details and finally put in a couple of slightly more fiddly tweaks at the end.


Ingredients for one medium baguette:

  • 150g plain flour + extra for the loaf-forming
  • 113g cold water
  • ¼ tsp (heaped, 2g) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1g) dry yeast


  • 4l bowl (or at least 4 × volume of total ingredients) with a lid or a tea towel to cover.
  • Round-handled wooden spoon (or a piece of dowel or a particularly sturdy chopstick)
  • Flexible plastic dough scraper or similar
  • Baking tray or cookie sheet


Make the dough:

At least 8 hours before you want to bake, add all ingredients to the bowl and stir with the handle of the wooden spoon for a minute or two until the dough comes together into a ragged ball. Cover and leave at room temperature to prove for 8+ hours (e.g. overnight).  

Bake the baguette(s):

Preheat oven to 250°C (Fan forced if it's an option). 

Generously flour your work surface and the top of the dough. Gently scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the work surface, trying to keep as much air inside the dough as possible. Ensure your dough is covered with enough flour to be workable without sticking to your hands or the work surface. If you're making multiple baguettes, portion them out now using single cuts with the dough scraper. Try to roll/tap off any excess flour and gently stretch out the dough onto the baking tray in roughly the right sort of footprint for baguettes.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until they look as brown as you desire. Rest for another 15 minutes or so until they've cooled down. Serve.



Some explanations and qualifications for the recipe and procedure.


There are only four ingredients (flour, yeast, salt and water). The quantities can be scaled up or down, but the most important thing to to keep the ratio of flour to water as 1:¾ (In Internet bread making jargon, this is known as "75% hydration" as there's 75% as much water as flour). This makes for a fairly wet and sticky dough, which helps to produce a crusty, chewy loaf in the end.

The other ingredient ratios are less critical. It always feels like there's more salt than you'd want and you can cut it down a bit if you like, as it's mostly there for flavour normalisation (Warning: bread with no salt in it will taste weirdly unsatisfying). Finally yeast is actually the most flexible thing as the long proving time means the live culture will "do what it needs to do" if you're over or under on the measurements (it just really needs to be "present").


Make the dough:

When you mix the dough, you want a fairly homogeneous ball of dough (you should have no pools of water or piles of dry ingredients, but there might be a few bits stuck to the bowl). You don't need to really work the dough (i.e. the whole point of "no knead").

You can prove the dough for longer than 8 hours, but more than 24h is probably a bit OTT. After that the yeast might start starving and dying and you could get undesirable wild cultures taking hold. 

Bake the baguette(s):

When you're turning-out the dough, you want a fair amount of flour on the work surface, one or two millimeters thick as the dough is quite wet and sticky. You need the flour to stick to the dough to make it possible to handle without sticking to your hands or the work surface. Too much flour is better than not enough and you can recover excess afterwards.

Now is the most precarious part of the process. You need to be gentle in scraping out the dough onto the work surface, being careful to not expel too much air from the wet dough. Make sure the dough is fairly well coated in flour. If you're making multiple baguettes, dust your dough scraper in flour and divide the dough as evenly as you can into the number of pieces you need. You do this in single cuts (i.e. only cut the minimum number of times to form all the portions you need) as you can't adjust the sizes afterwards by taking a piece from one loaf and adding to another that's a bit small. Gently stretch-out each baguette with your fingers onto the baking tray. If you have a lot of excess flour on your dough you might want to flip them on the work surface first to knock as much off as you can. You can tug and form the baguettes to be as consistently sized as you like, just remember to be fairly gentle with it to keep the air within it.

The baking time of 15 minutes is approximate, their appearance is the final decider as to when they're "done". When keeping an eye on the loaves, try not to open the oven very much (keep the heat in). While you want them to basically "look as cooked as you want", but they might darken just a little out of the oven. It's fairly important to let them cool before cutting into them (they shouldn't be warm to the touch). When warm, their insides will sill be a little doughy and will make cutting the baguettes difficult and can ruin the structure inside the bread.

A loaf that was slightly too warm when cut (Some globs forming in the centre)

Fiddly Extras:

Some extra things you might want to try if you can be bothered or you really need them.

Use tepid water

Yeast likes to live around low 30's in Celsius. If you go above 55 degrees, you will kill the yeast and your dough could develop wild microbes during the proofing period. Colder than 30 might slow the yeast down a bit, but the long proofing time pretty much evens that out. It won't hurt to use 30-ish degree water, though. A pretty reliable way to get the water about the right temperature is to simply feel it. It should be slightly cooler than the skin temperature of your hand.

Proof in a warm place

Proofing the dough in a warm place is useful for "normal" bread recipes with shorter proofing periods. Considering how long the proof is here, it usually doesn't benefit from being in a warm place. The obvious exception is if your house or kitchen is particularly cold, you might want a warmer place to proof the loaf (Making sure it's not too hot and killing the yeast above 55 degrees Celsius). Your dough should look almost like a bubbly batter when you've finished proving it. If it still looks like the original dough ball, then either your proofing was too cold or your yeast has expired.

Proof in a fridge

Another popular technique for longer proofs is to do it in a refrigerator for a day or more to improve the flavour and texture of the resultant bread. This is not necessary for this recipe as the proofed dough should retain its consistency and gas content for a while after the yeast has done its work. We just need to be careful not to knock too much gas out of it when forming the baguettes.

The obvious exception is if you house or kitchen is particularly warm, your dough may over-proof and go past the point of usability. If you find your dough has foamed right up, possibly hitting the bowl covering and crashed back down to a largely airless pool of goop, then it's gone too far. In this case, you might want to re-do the dough, but leave it in the warmest part of your fridge or a cooler cellar or something to proof.

Use baker's flour

Using bread making or baker's flour, which has a higher protein (gluten) content might make a slight improvement to the texture (it certainly shouldn't hurt the bread if it's the flour you have to hand). However as the dough is not kneaded, there's not much conditioning and stretching of the gluten strands, so bread making flour doesn't add a whole lot for this recipe.

Separate yeast from salt

Some bread recipes I've seen take great effort to put all the dry ingredients together but keep the salt and yeast separate. This is technically correct, as high concentrations of salt will kill the yeast. However in practice, I find it's not an issue. If you really want to see separate piles of your dry ingredients in the bowl, but all means put the yeast and salt in separate piles on opposite edges of the flour.

Personally when I put the flour in the bowl, I immediately give it a stir with the wooden spoon to break up clumps and get some air into it. Then I add the salt, stir this through, then the yeast and give it a final stir-through. This means almost no yeast granules will ever come into contact with any crystalline salt (let alone a lot of it).

If you really want to go all-out, you can dissolve the yeast with a couple of teaspoons of the flour into your (tepid?) water and to let it activate and bloom for a few minutes first before pouring this into the rest of the flour and salt and proceeding to mix it all together. I think that's a bit more fiddly than this recipe aims, though.

Put a tray of water in the oven

Some bread making guides tell you to put a heavy metal baking dish in the bottom of the oven when you're preheating it and when you put the dough in, pour about half a cup of water into the bottom dish. This will generate steam that's supposed to increase the shine and crunch of the crust. I have tried this once (well... twice*), but I can't say I noticed much difference in the crust (I didn't do the most scientific and exhaustive test, though).

(* The first time was a bit of a disaster, but I did refresh my understanding of thermodynamics in that boiling water is still 150 degrees cooler than a 250 degree Pyrex dish)

Spray the loaves with water

If you have a water spray bottle, you can give the top of the loaf a fairly generous spritzing so that the surface is uniformly moist (but not drenched with pools of water everywhere). This will improve the gloss and crunch of the crust a little. However I wouldn't worry about it if it's a hassle or you don't have a spray bottle, the bread's still great without this. 

Sprayed (left); unsprayed (right)

Use a baguette tray

You can use silicon or steel mesh baguette trays to get a more "baguette shaped" (cylindrical) loaf. I've tried both, but I have to admit I prefer the flatter baguettes (more like a focaccia or Turkish bread) as I use them to make sandwiches and they hold more ingredients in this form. So I just stick with the basic baking tray.

Dough resting in a silicon mesh baguette tray

Bake in a dutch oven

The previous versions of "no knead bread" I'd seen before this one generally all involved making a large batch of dough, putting this on a sheet of grease proof (silicon) paper and dumping all of that into a preheated Dutch oven to bake (inside a "regular" oven). While this is probably going to give you a great loaf, it's still more fiddly than the "dough on a tray" method here. The dutch oven loaves are also much larger than I want and need and have to be sliced to be used. The baguettes can be made in smaller portions and really just need to be split open to be used. I think you get a higher "crust to crumb" ratio with the baguettes too.

It's dangerous to go alone! Take this.

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