Baguettes Masterclass with Patrick Ryan

homemade baguette recipe, baguette, bread, baguette masterclass, patrick ryan, i love cooking bread

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Chef Patrick Ryan is back with a new masterclass – Classic baguettes! This recipe takes up to 3 days to make, which might seem a little bit crazy, but we promise you the results are worth it.

As I have said before, the secret to great bread is time. The longer you can ferment a dough the better, however, there is a limit. The challenge for a baker is to maximise fermentation without over-proofing and over-fermenting a dough. Therefore, we are always looking for ways to incorporate flavour in a natural way into our dough and that is what this recipe is all about. This recipe builds layers of flavour using a combination of pre-fermented dough and a manipulation of temperature (using a fridge) to allow the dough to ferment slower and for longer.

A pre-fermented dough is, very simply, a dough which is made and allowed to ferment for about 24 hours prior to making the final dough. It is like a marinade for bread. This pre-fermented dough will be added to our final bread dough to create a beautiful and complex flavour. This recipe takes up to 3 days to make, which might seem a little bit crazy, but I promise you the results are worth it and in no time at all you will be producing baguettes that will rival those found in any French bakery.

This dough produces eight baguettes and the dough can be held in a fridge for up to 36 hours. If you do not wish to bake all the dough at once, simply take what you need, shape it and bake it, leaving the remainder of the dough in the fridge which you can return to at any time within that 36-hour time period. This will allow you to bake fresh baguettes day after day. The dough from the fridge, once shaped, will be ready to bake in less than 2 hours.

The first stage of this recipe is to make a pre-fermented dough. The dough is very simple to make, takes only a few minutes and will be fermented overnight in the fridge.

Pre-fermented Dough

  • 450g Strong White Flour
  • 7g Salt
  • 290ml Water
  • 5g Fresh Yeast (or 2.5g/ generous pinch dried yeast)


  • 500g Strong White Flour
  • 10g Salt
  • 300ml Water
  • 10g Fresh Yeast (or 5g dried yeast)
  • Pre-fermented dough

Day 1

  1. Combine the flour and salt together in a clean bowl.
  2. Crumble the fresh yeast into the water and stir together to help the yeast dissolve.
  3. Pour the yeasted water into the flour.
  4. Combine all the ingredients to form a rough dough.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes.
    • Do not worry if your dough is slightly sticky or wet. Resist the temptation to add any extra flour. This dough is kneaded less than our usual doughs all we are looking for is the dough to roughly come together.
  6. Place the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and place into the fridge for 12-24 hours.

Day 2

  1. The next morning, remove the pre-fermented dough from the fridge.
  2. In a large clean bowl combine the strong white flour and salt.
  3. Crumble the fresh yeast into the water and stir together to help the yeast dissolve.
  4. Pour the yeasted water into the flour.
  5. Break the pre-fermented dough into smaller pieces and add it to the flour and water mix.
    • Breaking the dough into small pieces will make it easier to incorporate into the other ingredients once you begin to knead.
  6. Start working all the ingredients together to form a rough dough.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead the dough until the window pane affect has been achieved. This may take 8 – 10 minutes.
    • As you knead the dough you may find it to be a little wet and sticky, don’t worry, it is meant to be. Resist the temptation to add any extra flour, the dough will come together.
  8. Once the window pane affect has been achieved place the dough into a large clean bowl that has been oiled. Cover with cling film and place the dough into the fridge for 18-24 hours.
    • If time is against you, this dough, once kneaded, can be left to proof and ferment at room temperature for 2 hours before knocking back and shaping. However, it is my recommendation to ferment the dough overnight in the fridge as this will help to produce a more complex flavour within the final bread. The dough will sit comfortably in the fridge for anywhere between 12 to 36 hours.

Day 3

  1. Remove the dough from the fridge and turn out onto a clean work surface then knock back.
  2. Divide the dough into even portions approximately 250g each.
  3. Shape each portion of dough into a ball and allow the dough to rest on the work surface for 5 minutes.
    • This period of resting allows the gluten within the dough to relax which will help when it comes to the final shaping of the dough. Instead of trying to roll a baguette from start to finish in one go we do it in series of stages letting the dough rest and relax between each stage.
  4. Working with one portion of dough at a time begin to form a baguette. Flatten out the dough evenly into a rough rectangle.
  5. Taking the edge closest to you, fold the dough over about an inch then crimp the edges together as you roll.
  6. Fold the dough over again, and again, crimping the seams together.
  7. Repeat one more time so that the dough resembles a sausage about 15cm in length.
  8. Place the dough to one side leaving it to rest while you start to shape the next portion of dough. By the time each portion of dough has been pre-shaped, the first portion of dough is ready to undergo its final shaping.
  9. Using the palms of your hands, start in the middle and roll the dough out, moving from the middle to outside as you roll. Roll the dough out to about 30 – 35cm in length.
    • Traditionally, and at our bakery, baguettes are shaped and placed to proof in a material called couche which in French means “sleep” as the baguettes will be going to sleep. Couche is a toughened linen which is used to support the baguettes as they proof in a similar way to a proofing basket. If you don’t have couche, a well-floured clean tea towel will work fine.
  10. Arrange the baguettes seamed side up and side by side using the tea towel as a barrier between each. Leave the baguettes to prove for about 50 to 60 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 240°C fan assisted or its highest setting if your oven does not go that high. Place a baking tray into the base of the oven.
    • The dough is ready to bake when pushed lightly with your finger and it quickly springs back.
  12. Gently roll each baguette out of the tea towel and lift on to a baking tray, placing the baguettes seam side down.
  13. Score the baguette with 4 lines at a very slight diagonal along the length of the dough, the scores should overlap slightly.
  14. Place the baguettes into the preheated oven and pour boiling water in the baking tray in the base of the oven to create a burst of steam. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

About Patrick Ryan:

patrick ryan firehouse bakery, bread masterclasses, i love cooking videos, i love cooking ireland

Patrick Ryan is the face behind the Firehouse Bakery. Having swapped laws books for chef knives Patrick now spends his days returning bread to its rightful place as King of the table. Having worked throughout Ireland, Australia and the UK Patrick returned home to set up the Firehouse Bakery. Despite the ongoing recession at the time Patrick choose to stage his bread revolution with the opening of his bread school on Heir island off the coast of West Cork. 

His message was simple “bread is king” He wanted everyone to have good bread, all the time. And not just good bread, but bread that is good for you, bread that does you and your body good and he will even show you how to make your own.5 years on from what began on an island of 27 people the Firehouse Bakery has grown from strength to strength. Patrick operates an award winning bakery and cafe in Delgany Wicklow where you will find an open plan bakery, a bustling cafe and wood fired oven, His bread can be found in cafe and restaurants throughout Dublin and the bread school on Heir island appears to be always fully booked. Patrick is a founding member of realbread Ireland and is also a Failte Ireland Food Champion and with plans for new and exciting projects Patrick’s bread revolution is only getting started.

Twitter @firehousebread

Instagram: Firehousebread

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