|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: 3 baguettes (30 servings)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||1%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||1%|
|Total Carbohydrate 2g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|*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.|
This amazing baguette recipe doesn't need any fancy ingredients. The all-purpose flour that's already in your pantry is better than bread flour for the authentic Parisian crumb and crispy crust.
Baguettes are also called stangenbrot and used in German fast food such as brötchen or paired with a warm stew like Bavarian sausage soup (metzelsuppe) or oxtail soup. They are also a typical base for crostini, as well as being wonderful dunked in a bowl of coffee, French style.
- 1 1/2 cups/340 grams water (75 F/22 C)
- 1 teaspoon/4 grams instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons/10 grams salt
- 4 1/4 cups/500 grams all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
- Oil (for greasing the bowl)
- Optional: 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 cooking.
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.
Let the flour and water mixture sit for 20 to 30 minutes to rehydrate.
Mixing and First Rise
Place the bowl on the mixer with a dough hook and mix on low speed for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn 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, so try not to add too much flour.
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 so the dough does not dry 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 and fold it, brushing off excess flour as you go. Fold it letter style, then make a quarter turn and fold letter style again to form a square ball.
Place it back into its 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. Do not pat it down as before but 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 excess flour and fold the long edge toward you. Press to seal. Fold again to create surface tension around the torpedo-shaped dough. Seal the seam by pinching.
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) piece of parchment paper laid on the back of a cookie sheet.
Prepare the other 2 loaves the same way. Place the loaves as far apart on the parchment paper as practical.
When the loaves are done, pinch and lift the parchment paper 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. Place a rectangular cake pan or another type of high-sided pan on the bottom rack to heat and adjust the top rack halfway up. If you have a bread stone, heat 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.
Add the loaves with the parchment paper into the oven. If you have a baking stone, slide them off the cookie sheet directly onto the stone. Otherwise, keep them on the cookie sheet.
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, about 15 to 30 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 baguettes within 4 hours of baking for best taste or wrap in plastic foil and freeze for up to three months.
- While all-purpose flour is called for in this recipe, you can also substitute specialty flours such as European-style or Italian-style flours, which are all a bit lower in protein than bread flour, affecting the final crumb and crust.
- Pay attention to how you measure the flour. Flour that's spooned lightly into the cup and then smoothed off weighs about 120 grams per cup. If you dip your cup into the sack, you pack it down and only 3 1/2 cups (or even a little less) will be needed. Use a scale for the most precise measurement.
- Remember, it's the consistency of the dough that is important, not the exact weight or measure of the flour. 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. For instance, sourdough organisms are sensitive to it. Although there is no sourdough in this baguette dough, you'll get the best results if you use bottled water or even tap water that's been sitting out overnight—it will help release the chlorine. Charcoal and other water filters can also remove chlorine.