It was bound to happen.   Once I felt comfortable shaping baguettes, I went on the pursue of a recipe for a sourdough version. My number one source of inspiration for all things related to bread is Susan’s Wild Yeast, and this recipe charmed me right away.  Award-winning sourdough baguette version?  I am sold!   First thing I did was to drop an email to Samuel Fromartz, the writer-turned-baker behind the recipe,  asking for permission to publish his very detailed method.  To my delight, he replied within a few minutes, and we exchanged a few messages, in which I got great tips to improve steaming during baking  (I will test his method this weekend).   Sam Fromartz is currently working on a book about grains, bakers and bread for Viking/Penguin. So, if you are like me, and cannot have enough info on the subject, check his website for the development of his project.  I know I will…  😉

(recipe published with permission from Samuel Fromartz)
(read original article at Chewswise blog)

Makes four baguettes

90 grams sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
420 grams water
590 grams flour (I used King Arthur Organic All Purpose Flour)
10 grams whole wheat flour
13 grams sea salt
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast (I used  SAF Instant Yeast)
Olive oil to grease bowl
cornmeal to dust cutting board

Pour starter and yeast into bowl and add water, mixing until the starter breaks up a bit.  Add flours and salt and mix for a couple of minutes. The dough will be heavy and shaggy. Let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes, covered with plastic.

Rub the surface where you will knead the dough with a tiny amount of olive oil to prevent the dough from sticking (great tip originally from Dan Lepard).  Use a scraper to move dough onto the counter and begin to knead by stretching and folding dough, trying to use your finger tips.

After kneading for 5 minutes, scrape mass into a clean bowl or plastic bin. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

Oil the counter again if necessary and remove dough to counter. Stretch it until 1-inch thick then fold top and bottom in thirds like a letter. Do the same type of folding, coming from left to right. Put dough back in the bowl, cover, let it  rest for 20 minutes.

Remove from bin, fold again, and put back in a covered bowl for 20 minutes.

Remove from bin, fold again for the third and final time. Clean the bowl, oil lightly (with 2 tsp olive oil), and put dough back inside. Cover and place in refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

Place baking stone or quarry tiles in middle of oven. Place a thick rimmed cookie sheet or cast iron pan on oven floor or lower shelf. Heat oven to 470F (245 C).

Put a little olive oil in your palm and oil a 20-by-20 inch (50 x 50 cm) section of the counter. Remove dough from container. Cut dough in half. Put half back in container and into refrigerator. Cut dough into two rectangular pieces (about 250 grams each) and gently stretch into rectangles 5-by-7 inches (13-by-18 cm) with the long edge facing you.  Cover with light towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

While dough is resting, cut parchment paper large enough to fit your baking stone. Dust paper with flour. Dust  a couche (or kitchen towels) lightly with flour.

Shape dough into a log by folding top and bottom of rectangle toward middle and gently sealing the seam with thumb. Then fold top to meet the bottom and seal seam. You should have a log about 1.5 to 2 inches thick (4 to 5 cm). Gently roll and stretch into a 14-inch loaf (36 cm) or just under the size of your baking stone.

Place each loaf on parchment paper about six inches apart, seam side down. Place one rolled up towel underneath the paper between the loaves and one under each other edge, supporting their shape.  Cover with light kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Put 2/3 cup water in measuring cup and bring to a boil in the microwave.

Carefully move the paper with the loaves onto a flour-dusted overturned cookie sheet or cutting board. Dust top of loaves very lightly with flour. Use a bench scraper to gently adjust the loaves and straighten them out.

Make four cuts on the top of the loaf with a razor blade, 1/4-inch deep, running lengthwise on the dough. A swift slash at a sharp 20-degree angle works best. Take cutting board and slide parchment paper with baguettes onto hot baking stone. Shut oven door. Open door, and carefully pour 2/3 cup water onto cookie sheet or cast iron pan. Be very careful if using boiling water. Shut door. Do not open the oven again while baking.

Check baguettes after 18 to 20 minutes. They should be dark brown and crusty. If pale, continue baking for 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes on rack before eating. They are best eaten within 6 hours.

While baguettes are baking, form the remaining dough into loaves or leave for up to 24 hours and make fresh loaves the following day.


to print the recipe, click here

for a streamlined version, click here

Comments:  To read the fascinating story behind perfecting  this recipe, check Sam’s write up about it here.

If you are a novice in baking bread, baguettes can be tricky, but you can find very detailed discussions about this particular recipe in his blog about it.  Don’t forget to read the comments, because they contain a lot of useful, additional information.  Sometimes little details we read  en passant  might mean the difference between failure and success.

I absolutely loved this recipe!   Handling a dough from the fridge is quite a bit easier than at room temperature (about 78 F), I had no problems shaping the loaves and going for their final stretch.   I will be playing with this recipe for a while,  using it to practice my slashing technique (just got a new blade, per my friend Gary’s recommendation), and baking with steam.  The baguettes had a complex “feel”,  with very delicate sourdough flavor, open crumb, and a hearty crust.  I know that when I overcome the steaming problem they will be even better… stay tuned, friends… stay tuned…

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  1. The baguettes look good, a sign of a good fermentation. Also I’ve found that I can drop the yeast to as little as one-half tsp but just let the dough rise a bit longer after the third fold, before you put it in the refrigerator. I’ve also been reducing the sourdough to get less pronounced sourdough flavor, but again you need to keep your eye on the fermentation.


    • Thanks, Sam!

      I can see how the recipe can be adjusted in many ways – it surprises me how quickly the dough develops “muscle” and strength after just a few seconds of kneading. Reminds me of the first times I made Dan Lepard’s white leaven bread, the minimal kneading was a shocking revelation for me


  2. This sounds wonderful! The pictures are mouth-watering!
    I like to make French bread at home, and admit to using kitchen scissors for the tops of the loaves; The cuts are a lttle deeper in the center, but I can’t tell a difference otherwise.


    • Hi, Vickie – I never had much luck with the scissors, for some reason, I guess I do something wrong when I use them. But the new blad worked like a charm yesterday, I’m so glad I bought that new baby… 😉


  3. They look beautiful! I can’t wait to check out Samuel’s website and read through the tips for this recipe. I haven’t used my starter for a few weeks, and it’s feeling neglected. I need to do some bread baking!


    • I have a sourdough in mind for next weekend that uses a cold fermentation all the way through – even the starter is kept in the fridge after it’s all bubbly and active. Fascinating method that I’m eager to try…. (stay tuned! 😉


  4. If you need more steam earlier during baking, fill a cast iron skillet with lava rocks and preheat. The increased surface area will more quickly vaporize the water.


  5. Sally, that’s one of my favorite posts till now. You’re amazing, what a progress in such a short time!
    I can’t believed I missed these baguettes from susan’s blog. I thought I know her blog by heart :))
    I watched yesterday a baguette scoring related video, tough job! I still have a lot to learn (or better said to practice), but one of your baguettes is pretty good scored.
    I must try this formula, I love the crumb you achieved 🙂
    I’m curious about the tips to improve steaming.. I hope you’ll blog about it soon 🙂
    hugs, codruta


    • Hello there, Codruta!
      As you may have guessed, the bread I hinted at in my reply to LIsa is that one from your blog – so, hang in there for a few questions I have on the translation from Romanian to English. It’s the oatmeal sourdough… that has been on my list ever since you blogged about it


    • Indeed, it is interesting how many ways one can deal with sourdough – and in how many recipes people are now using it, including cakes and donuts and who knows what else… 🙂 (check Sourdough Surprises from The Gingered Whisk…. I am considering joining, although I don’t think I have enough flexibility in my routine to make the commitment….)


    • Oh, dear…. no, not me! I am absolutely in AWE of some bakers like Codruta, TexasFarmer, Susan from Wild Yeast, Farine….. those are just three that come to my mind and leave me in complete shame

      then there’s a crowd of seasoned bread bakers from The Fresh Loaf…. they are simply AMAZING. I am learning a little more each month, hanging in there for dear life… or dear yeast 😉

      but, of course, I enjoy a compliment and now have this huge smile plastered on my face… NOt a bad way to start a Monday!


  6. Nothing can beat up the smell of a baking bread. Those baguettes are awesome! Crispy and crunchy spread with butter, mmm delicious! You have a lovely collection of articles and recipes in your blog!


    • Katerina, thanks so much! Glad you enjoy my articles, I sure have a lot of fun writing them and thinking about what to share with all of you next!

      like…… a drink, possibly? 😉


    • There’s something about homemade bread that warms the soul, I always feel great when I have a loaf cooling on a rack, and know that it was made from scratch, a little water, a little flour, a little yeast, and lot of love


  7. I saw that, and almost fainted! Nice surprise….

    (cross your fingers for me, I am making your oatmeal bread, and the starter is rising well in the fridge – I think I’ll be able to mix the dough around 1pm today, all set for baking tomorrow!)


  8. Pingback: Sourdough Cinnamon Scrolls « Rhianna's Guide to Ethical Eating

  9. Your baguettes look beautiful! I can’t see a problem in your steaming, but
    did you test a new method from Mr. Fromartz, and if so could you share it?


    • Hello there!

      Yes, I did try his method, but it didn’t work as well for me, not sure why. It does generate more steam than ice cubes or cold water on an ampty pan, but the crust still turned out more the way I like when I use my own method of covering the bread with the inverted pan, slightly moist.

      thanks for stopping by!


  10. Hi there would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re using? I’ve loaded
    your blog site in 2 completely different web browsers and I
    must say this website loads a lot faster then others.
    Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price?
    Kudos, I appreciate it! Please also excuse if my english is not good enough.


    • Hello, there!

      I use WordPress, have used it since the beginning of my blog and I should say I love it! It is free, or actually potentially free. I pay a small fee each year for the domain name (because I wanted it to be instead of, and I also pay a small fee to get all kinds of advertisements out of my blog. But if you don’t want to have those features, hosts for free, and they have a support forum that is amazing to help with any problems or questions.


    • 420 grams of water equals 420 mL. Water is the easiest of all ingredients, as its density is 1, so 1L of water will weigh exactly 1kg etc etc. Hope you try these baguettes, they are great! Happy Holidays!


  11. Oh wow, your bread looks wonderful. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to make sourdough baguettes. I am so glad I found your site, I love all your recipes! I wish I lived near you so that I could get you to teach me how to make this bread.


  12. Pingback: Sourdough Baguettes | My Bizzy Kitchen

  13. Pingback: Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread | Never Enough Thyme — Never Enough Thyme - Recipes with a slight southern accent.

  14. Sally!! I’m here because I just read about you on Food Writers Friday!! It’s Nagi from RecipeTin Eats. I can’t wait to make this!! It is such a coincidence because I literally just started activating my starter TODAY!! This afternoon actually! Which is why I jumped on this as soon as I saw it. Oh wow Sally this looks amazing, I can’t wait to try it!!


  15. Hi Sally,

    Your baguette looks almost perfect (imho). I gave it a try but it didn’t really turn out that well for me. I’m not sure if there’s any step I’ve done wrong but I’m going to give it another try.

    One question I have for you. Do you mind sharing what sourdough starter you’re using? I happened to use the Gold Rush sourdough starter.



    • Sorry it did not work too well for you, but I must say baguettes are THE trickiest bread in the universe! Do not give up, there ‘s a lot about the shaping and getting the right surface tension without compromising the airy internal structure. Only a lot of attempts will make it better, I think. As to the sourdough starter, I made my own about 6 years ago and that’s what I’ve been using for all my breads… I used the method described by Dan Lepard in his book THe Handmade Loaf, but pretty much any sourdough recipe should work, as long as you make sure to have it super active before making your bread… hope this helps!


  16. I just made these today using organic flour. I haven’t tasted them yet, they are cooling down now, but they smell very good. I couldn’t find any rasor blades in the shop, that seems to be a thing of the past so I used a breakaway knife and sliced them diagonally before seeing they should be sliced almost lengthwisel. Next time I’ll make the oven slightly hotter for a bit more colour. They were properly cooked according to my meat thermometer.


  17. Pingback: Kusuma Creates | Levain Baguette

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