|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 30g||39%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||10%|
|Total Carbohydrate 26g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 0g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
French baguettes are known as stangenbrot in Germany and are enjoyed in a variety of ways. The recipe calls for just four basic ingredients but does require several steps and three rising times, so be sure to plan accordingly. Instead of bread flour, all-purpose is used, as it is what creates the authentic Parisian crumb and crispy crust.
Stangenbrot is used in German fast food such as brötchen (made small into sandwich rolls) or paired with a warm stew-like Bavarian sausage soup (metzelsuppe) or oxtail soup. The bread is also a typical base for crostini, and is wonderful dunked in a bowl of coffee, French style.
375 ml water at 75 F/22 C, about 1 1/2 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons
4 grams instant yeast, about 1 teaspoon
10 grams kosher salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
500 grams all-purpose flour, about 4 to 1/4 cups, more for kneading
Oil for greasing the bowl
1 tablespoon cornmeal, for dusting
Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this bread is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.
Gather the ingredients.
Pour the warm water into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast, salt, and enough flour to make a shaggy mass when stirred with a spoon (the dough should come together, but will not be smooth). You may not need all of the flour.
Let the mixture sit for 20 to 30 minutes to rehydrate.
Mixing and First Rise
Place the bowl of dough on the mixer with the dough hook attached and mix on low speed for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead it a few times with your hands until smooth and springy. The dough should be a little sticky (wetter) rather than too dry to achieve a light crumb.
If you are mixing by hand, turn the rehydrated mixture onto a floured board and mix until the dough comes together in a ball, about 2 minutes. Knead for 10 to 12 minutes total. The dough should err on the slightly sticky side. The wetter the dough, the lighter the crumb.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl or another container. You may wish to mark your beginning dough height on the container so you can tell how far it has risen. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out.
Let it rise at room temperature (about 75 F/22 C) for 45 minutes or until the dough has risen 25 to 50 percent from its original height (not doubled). If your house is cooler, this may take an hour or more.
Lightly dust the counter with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Pat it gently into a rectangle.
Fold the dough letter style by folding down the top 1/3 of the dough, brushing off excess flour as you go.
Continue to fold letter style by folding the bottom 1/3 of the dough up.
Make a quarter turn, and repeat the letter fold process one more time, to form a square ball.
Place the dough back into the bowl or container, cover, and let rise to 1 1/2 times its size (not quite doubled), 45 minutes or more.
Third Rise and Shaping
Lightly dust the counter again with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Cut it with a knife or bench scraper into 3 equal pieces. The pieces should weigh about 10 ounces/285 grams each.
Pat each piece into a rectangle, brush off any excess flour, and fold the long edge toward you. Press to seal.
Fold over again and seal the seam by pinching the dough together.
Place both hands on the center of the dough and rock the baguette back and forth while applying slight pressure out toward the ends. Do this a couple of times until the baguette is about 15 inches long.
Make sure the seam is well sealed, then place the baguette on a lightly floured (or cornmeal, if you prefer) parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
Prepare the other 2 loaves the same way. Place the loaves as far apart on the parchment paper as possible.
Pinch and lift the parchment paper in between each loaf (accordion-style), bringing the loaves close together. Dust the tops with flour and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let the loaves rise for 30 to 40 minutes or until they have increased in size by about 50 percent.
Scoring and Baking
Preheat the oven to 450 F/230 C. Place a rectangular cake pan or another type of high-sided pan on the bottom rack to heat (avoid using glass). If you have a bread stone, place it on the top rack. Heat 2 cups of water in a kettle.
Once risen, slash the top of the baguettes with a lame, razor blade, or even a serrated bread knife. The cuts should be at an acute angle to the length of the loaf and parallel to each other.
If you have a baking stone, slide the loaves off of the cookie sheet and directly onto the stone. Otherwise, keep them on the lined cookie sheet and place in the oven on the top rack. Pour some hot water from the tea kettle into the pan at the bottom of the oven.
Close the oven door. If you like to spray the oven walls, do it within the first 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Bake the loaves until they are golden brown, 15 to 25 minutes (depending on the altitude where you're baking). Turn the loaves about halfway through the baking and remove the parchment paper if it's getting too brown and crispy.
Remove the bread from the oven and cool on a wire rack for good air circulation.
Eat the baguettes within 4 hours of baking for the best taste, or wrap in a layer of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
Glass Bakeware Warning
- Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when the recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.
How to Store and Freeze
- Store baguettes loosely wrapped at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
- To freeze, let the baguettes cool completely and then double-wrap in plastic wrap. Alternatively, wrap the bread in heavy duty foil. Bread may be frozen for up to 6 months but the flavor will be best if thawed and eaten within a month or two.
- While all-purpose flour is called for in this recipe, you can substitute specialty flours such as European-style or Italian-style flours.
- It is important how you measure the flour. Flour that's spooned lightly into the cup and then smoothed off weighs less than a cup that's been dipped into the flour which is then packed down. So if you do the latter method, you will need about 3 1/2 cups flour instead of 4 1/4. It is best to use a scale for the most precise measurement.
- Depending on the humidity and how dry the flour is, you will need to adjust the final dough by adding a bit more flour or working in some water with wet hands.
- Chlorine in the water can affect the taste. You'll get the best results if you use bottled water or even tap water that's been sitting out overnight (which helps release the chlorine). Charcoal and other water filters can also remove chlorine.
How Do You Know When the Bread is Done?
The best way to judge the doneness of a baguette is by crust color. Using an instant-read thermometer can be helpful, but if the temperature is 205 F and the crust is still pale, let it go another 5 minutes or so, or until the crust is golden brown.
What Can I Do to Get a Crisp Crust on My Baguette?
The steam from the pan of water is the key to a crusty baguette. A baking stone or specialty baguette pan can help give you an even bake.