Baguettes have to be one of my favorite breads out there, especially if they are made well. The classic bread, a staple in some countries, is best served as is, by itself. With this easy homemade baguette recipe, you can enjoy a delicious, warm loaf right out of the oven. There are three qualifications in my book for what make a great baguette: the shape, the crust, and of course, the flavor.
So we head into the Test Kitchen and with only four ingredients and we get started on our baguette recipe. Bread baking is an art, one that we are constantly improving. It is incredible how different your results can vary when only using four ingredients.
Now, we don't exactly have a steam injected fire-brick heated oven. You know what we do have though? A Baking Steel. The steel in this area, provides a great crust building surface, and also gives us the heated surface area to produce our own steam in a home oven. Once you've placed your dough on the Steel, before closing the oven, quickly spray water onto the Steel. This will create a burst of steam.
Check it out....
Demi-Baguettes (makes 3-16" breads)
Adapted from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
85 g AP flour
0.2 g instant yeast
85 g water (75 degrees)
125 g bread flour
125 g AP flour
0.7 g instant yeast
155 g water
5 g fine sea salt
1. For the polish, combine yeast and flour, slowly mix water. Sit out at room temp for two days in airtight container.
2. For dough mixing. Combine flour and yeast in mixer. Use half of your water to help get poolish out of container and add it to mixer. Mix on low for 3 minutes, gradually adding the rest of the water.
3. Scrape down the bowl and add in your salt. (Don't add it with dry ingredients. It will mess with the flour-water absorbtion.) Mix on low for 15 minutes.
4. Scrape down bowl and hook and place into oil sprayed bowl and cover.
5. Every hour for three hours, take dough out onto floured work suraface and fold it into itself 4 times.
6. After the last fold, portion your dough into 245g a piece and shape into long thing rolls. Let rest for 10 minutes.
7. Use a lame or razor blade and slice mark the top of your bread.
8. To bake, place in hot oven at 460 degrees. Before closing, quickly spray water onto steel to create a burst of stem. Bake time is about 18 minutes.