French Baguettes

Have you ever wondered why french baguettes taste and smell sweeter? 

I mean in the end isn't it just flour, water, yeast and salt? 

But this smell is what makes a baguette. It is the reason that it can be so addictive you just want to eat the entire loaf to yourself. And also why whole wheat baguettes will never quite taste the same. 

Upon numerous internet searches, I am still left with nothing.  According to the wild yeast blog diastatic malt powder can enhance the sweetness, but I have never used it in my baking. 

Do you know the reason for the sweet smell? I'd love to know!


  • 400g Poolish 
  • 400g Leaven
  • 500g water
  • 900g AP flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 24g salt


  1. Make the Poolish: Combine 200g AP flour, 200g water and 3 g dry active yeast. Let stand 4- 6 hours in a moderate room temperature (75˚-80˚ F) or overnight in the fridge. 
  2. Make the Leaven: Combine 1 tbsp of starter with 200g of 50% ww/50% AP flour and 200g of water (80˚ F). Let stand 4 - 6 hours in a moderate room temperature (75-80˚ F) or overnight in a cooler environment. 
  3. Once both the leaven and poolish pass the float test, combine the 400g of leaven, 400g of poolish and 500g of water. Mix by hand to disperse and then add the 1000g of flour. 
  4. Let sit for 30 minutes, then add the 24g of salt when you do your first turn. 
  5. Complete turns every 45 minutes for about 3 hours for the bulk fermentation. During this stage I got a bit sidetracked so I actually only ended up doing 3 turns about every hour and then let it rise overnight in my room which is quite cold (probably around 60- 65˚ F)
  6. Once the dough is ready (it will be bulky and billowy), dump onto an un-floured surface and then dust the top with flour. Divide it into 6 pieces, or more or less depending on the size you want your batard/baguette. 
  7. Flip the dough so the floured side is on the surface and then flip the dough over itself so that the floured parts cover it (this forms the crust). Shape into a round edged rectangle using the bench scraper and quick, swift movements. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 
  8. Form each dough into a rectangle and pull the bottom to the center and then the top to close over that fold. Using the side of your palm create a trench along the dough where the top flap just closed and fold the dough onto itself along the trench. Roll the dough towards yourself to seal it together and create tension along the front. Now starting in the center roll the dough back and forth to elongate it into a cylinder shape, and if desired, taper the edges. 
  9. Let rest in a flour coated kitchen towel for 3-4 hours, or in the fridge overnight. - I let it rest 3.5 hours. 
  10. When ready to bake, heat a baking stone in the over to 500˚F. Place a water soaked kitchen towel in the bottom of the oven in a cookie sheet to create steam in the oven 15 minutes prior to putting the dough in the oven. 
  11. When oven is preheated and steamed, flip the baguette seam side down onto the hot stone and score it. Holding the razor and scoring deeply at an angle will ensure proper ears. I did not do that but chose to create less bursting seams with perpendicular scores. 
  12. Bake for 25 minutes, when starting to brown remove towel and cookie sheet and continue baking bread until it is a deep mahogany color.