Now this recipe is an original, and I wanted to take my time before posting it to make sure I had the right measurements. One of my biggest pet peeves are cryptically written recipes. Or recipes that leave out important tips that can make or break the final product. Our mission as technical writers is to inform. Don’t hog all the secret tips for yourself. That just leaves shitty baking everywhere; the world should be sweet with cooling pies on window sills.
I prefer to get down to the good stuff and then really dive into baking, or cooking, or whatever project is at hand. I can write about my childhood later, right now it’s time for baguettes.
- 480g Bread flour
- 250g of water, room temp*
- 14g sea salt
- 408g sourdough starter
- ½ tsp yeast (optional)**
- Semolina flour to dust the pan
- The best thing about making bread; put all of your ingredients, except the water, in your stand mixer. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add your water (see note below).
- Continue to mix on low until everything has come together and flour won’t poof out of the bowl. If you are using a mixer, turn the speed up just one notch, mine is on 4 out of 10.
- Either by hand or with your mixer, knead the dough until you have reached “windowpane”.
- Put your dough in a bowl to rise. Allow it to rise in a warm place 75- 90℉ until the dough has doubled in size. This takes about an hour.
- Dust your countertop or table with flour and turn your dough out onto the floured surface. Separate your dough into 2 baguettes (or more or less!). Work the dough into a ball and place on a pan dusted with semolina to rise again. Cover and let double in size. About an hour.
- On a floured surface take one of your dough balls and shape it into a flat disk, like a pizza, removing all the air out of it.
- Starting at the side closest to you begin to tightly, but not too tight, roll up the dough. With your pinky and ring finger tuck the ends inward for neat edges. When you reach the end press the sides of your hands against the roll to seal and smooth the edges. I like to use my hands to gently taper the ends of the baguettes slightly.
- Dust your semolina pan again and place your formed baguettes onto the pan.
- Let rise for about 30-40 minutes until it’s proofed*** enough to bake.
- Just before your dough is fully proofed, turn on your hot to 450℉. If you are using bread stones put them in now.
- Dust the tops of your baguettes with some all-purpose flour and make 3 or 4 nice 45-degree angle slashes across the top. If the dough is under-proofed make your slashes deeper.
- Get a cup of water ready and place it near your stove.
- As timely as possible, open your oven, place the bread on the stones, or slide your pan in. Throw the cup of water at the base of the oven and quickly shut the door. Turn the oven temp down to 425℉.
- In about 5 minutes, or when your oven gets back to temperature, throw another cup of water in. Being careful not to splash the dough. Repeat this one more time if you’d like. The steam helps make the bread crusty and crunchy and shiny!
- Bake at 425℉ for about 15-18 minutes. Baguettes don’t usually take so long to bake since they are so skinny!
- Poke an instant-read thermometer in the bottom of the loaf. It’s done if it reads at least 200℉. Let cool before slicing.
*My baguettes have ranged from 200g- 260g of water, depending on the wetness of the starter. My suggestion, pour only a little bit of water at a time and wait for the dough to come together. You can always add more flour/ water to get the ratio right.
**My starter is very active and I use it when it is hungry so I don’t put any extra yeast in my baguettes. If you want a sure rise, use some yeast 🙂
***You’ll know your dough is proofed/ risen enough when you gently press a finger into it and the dough doesn’t bounce back. If it bounces back, let it rest a little longer.