Classic French Baguettes

Quarantine has had me quite bored, so I’ve been hosting zoom cooking classes with friends. So far we have only made pizza on Friday nights, but today we expanded the horizon and made some French baguettes to munch on while rolling pizza dough. This was a very easy recipe compared to many breads I have made before. It takes around three hours for the dough to rise, but there is minimal effort involved. Good luck!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water (ideally 110 degrees F)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast

Method

  • In a large bowl, dissolve the salt in the warm water, then add the yeast and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the flour little by little and mix just until combined. Gather the dough into a ball; it should be very sticky.
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Sticky dough
  • On a lightly floured work surface, use your fingers to poke holes into the dough, in order to aerate it, and fold over. Press and fold three or four times, but no more, and put the dough back into the bowl to rise. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp kitchen towel and put it in a humid place, such as an oven or the countertop. Rise for three hours, until doubled in size.

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 17.52.20

  • Place any baking vessel with half an inch of water into the oven and preheat it to 420 degrees F. Remove the dough from the bowl; it should look bubbly and smell lightly of yeast.
  • Divide the dough into four parts. Starting with one loaf, shape it into a short rectangle and fold in half length-wise. Then stretch and shape into a 12-15 inch long baguette. Try to stretch the dough rather than press it down to keep as many bubbles as possible. Repeat with the other three. Lightly dust each of the four loaves with flour and let rest for five minutes to dry and form a skin on the top. Using a sharp, serrated knife, score the baguettes at an acute angle.
  • Bake the loaves for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown. They should have a hard crust and sound hollow when tapped lightly on the top.

Notes

  • The bubbles in a traditional baguette come from the fermentation process of the yeast, so make sure you don’t deflate the dough because you will have flatter loaves.
  • The pan of water should remain in the oven to create the proper steam for a crispy crust.
  • If you have a perforated baking sheet, I recommend using one over any other pan to produce a crispy crust on the bottom as well.
  • I like to shape my loaves directly on the baking sheet so that I don’t have to transfer them from one surface to the next.
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Air bubbles

Thank you cooking.butre.fr for the recipe.

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