To make bread that's crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, you need flour, water, yeast, salt… And expertise!

Frasage : mélange des ingrédients dans le pétrin by nicole cornecIntercéréales

Frasage (mixing)

The ingredients are mixed together: wheat flour, salt, water, and the yeast or sourdough starter.

Mains Pétrissage pâte à pain et farine by stockcreationsIntercéréales


Kneading can be done by hand or with the aid of a kneading machine. This process lets air into the dough and creates the glutinous network, which is what causes air pockets to form in the bread.

Panification : le pointage by C. DellièreIntercéréales

First proof

The dough is left to rest for around one hour on a piece of cloth. This is the initial fermentation (also known as the first rise): it brings out the aroma and the dough rises thanks to the added yeast.

Un boulanger divise la pâte by Sebastien d'HalloyIntercéréales

Weighing or dough dividing

After the first rise, the baker divides the dough into identical loaves according to the desired weight.

Pétrissage d'une boule de pâte à pain by PARILOV EVGENIYIntercéréales


The baker works the dough by folding it over itself repeatedly. Cela permet de chasser le gaz produit lors de la 1ere fermentation.

Le Fournil : pétrissage et préparation de la pâte à pain by Sebastien d'HalloyIntercéréales

Resting the dough

The rounded loaves are left to rest again to help elongate the dough and prevent it from tearing when it is shaped.

Le Fournil : pétrissage et préparation de la pâte à pain by Sebastien d'HalloyIntercéréales


The baker shapes the rounded dough into the desired shape: baguette, roll, crown bread, etc.
This stage also ensures that the bread has a greater number of small air pockets, rather than a few larger pockets.

Apprêt : des pâtons baguettes contenant des graines sur la toile de lin by nicole cornecIntercéréales

Second proof

The dough is left to rest again: this is the second fermentation or second rise. The dough expands again—
optimal temperature and humidity are essential to stop the bread becoming too hard.

Le Fournil : préparation du pain et cuisson dans le founil by Passion CéréalesIntercéréales

Scoring the bread, or grignage

Just before baking the bread, the baker cuts incisions into the dough. These can be simple lines or more elaborate designs. This is the baker's signature.
This step helps gas escape the bread when it's being baked.

Le Fournil : préparation du pain et cuisson dans le founil by Sebastien d'HalloyIntercéréales


The bread is baked in an oven heated between 482°F and 536°F (250–280°C) with steam to avoid it drying out.

Ressuage : des pains de campagne ronds farinés sur une grille by Passion CéréalesIntercéréales

Removal from the oven and cooling

After baking, the bread is left to cool in the air. As it cools, water evaporates and gas escapes from inside the bread, and the crust hardens.

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