Baguettes - the John Kirkwood way

Welcome to another step-by-step recipe from BreadClub20. Why not drop by our main Facebook page by clicking here.... If you like what you see and enjoy the recipe, we hope you go on to join us by 'Liking' and 'Subscribing'.

A couple of weeks ago, someone was enquiring about how to make baguettes. The true French baguette is a wonderful bread, but it is time-consuming and requires you to devote considerable time to the mixing, kneading and proofing stages. 

Here's you'll find my recipe for the 'authentic' French baguette, using T55 flour. As you see, you have to set a fair amount of time to one side....which is probably why most French bakers wash their cars in the early hours while they're waiting for the dough to do its magic....

As an alternative, you might fancy a 'long-proof' baguette recipe, where the dough rests overnight before shaping.

Or, what about a Presidential baguette, from an award-winning recipe all the way from Paris?

And finally, don't forget - if you have any sourdough discard left after your makes excellent baguettes:

However, back to today's matter in hand. When I trawled BreadClub20's posts, I found a number of people who 'swear by' John Kirkwood's recipe for baguettes. One such voice was Lou, a founding subscriber to BreadClub20 and a very experienced cook and baker in her own right. 

So, I thought....let's investigate....

John Kirkwood hails from Sunderland in the North-East of England. He has a wonderful voice that you could listen to for hours....he really should be recording stories for children! He's a retired cook and baker who now presents his skills, experience and recipes on YouTube. 

There's a lovely article here from the Sunderland Echo about John:

In true BreadClub20 fashion, we're going to work through his recipe today to test it and see if it turns out as well as it does on the screen. If it does, it'll be a great contender for a 'go-to' baguette recipe. 

By the way, here's the YouTube video in which John presents his recipe. It's handy to watch first, especially if you're not sure about how to pre-shape or shape baguettes.

As you'll see...and read....this is a recipe for yeasted baguettes. However, the method owes much to the art of Sourdough. It's an interesting combination. 


700 gms strong white bread flour

1½ teaspoons sea salt

½ teaspoon instant yeast

520 gms tepid filtered water


1. Mix the flour and the yeast.

2. Add the salt and mix thoroughly.

3. Add the water and mix together.

4. Cover and rest of 45 minutes (autolyse).

5. 'Stretch and fold' (see video for technique) for 4 sets at 45 minute intervals. At set 3 interchange with 'coil and fold'.


Set 1 (0 mins) stretch and fold
Set 2 (45 mins) stretch and fold
Set 3 (90 mins) coil and fold
Set 4 (135 mins) stretch and fold

(Remember, the time in brackets is doesn't mean that Set 4 has to be left over two hours! the TOTAL time is 135 minutes)

6. Divide into 4 portions (each approximately 310 gms)

7. Preshape into ovals and cover with oiled cling film. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. 

8. Shape into baguettes and either rest in a couche or a baguette tray. Rest for 20 minutes. 

9. Preheat the oven to 200⁰C and continue to rest the baguettes while the oven heats. Decide whether you are to bake on a stone or a baking tray. Whichever you choose, preheat as well. 

10. Either add steam to the oven or mist before baking. 

11. Slash the baguettes in the traditional style (see video). Mist with water. 

12. Bake for 15 - 25 minutes or until golden brown and hollow when tapped on the underneath. (John bakes his for 15 minutes.....mine were very pale at the end of that time, so I baked them for a further 10 minutes)

13. Cool on a rack. 

Happy baking....

The photo speaks for itself. This is a great recipe. 


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