baguette bread recipes
Baguette is a classic French loaf of bread that is characterized by its long, thin shape and crispy crust. French baguette is a lean dough, meaning there is no fat present in the dough, which creates a chewy texture inside of the loaf. The word baguette in French means baton or stick, and therefore is sometimes referred to as “French stick bread.”
HOW TO MAKE FRENCH BAGUETTE
MIX THE DOUGH
After the poolish has fermented, it is combined with the rest of the ingredients for the dough. A baguette is a lean dough so it literally only contains 4 ingredients: water, flour, yeast, and salt.
Stir together all of the ingredients for the dough. At first it will seem like there isn’t enough water and you may need to use your hands to lightly knead the dough in the bowl. The dough will come together. Do not add more flour or water. The dough will look shaggy at this point, but you do not want to knead it after all of the flour is hydrated.
Baguette dough is a very wet (high hydration) dough. Because of this, the dough is not kneaded as it is with many other bread doughs. Rather, it is allowed to slowly ferment with a series of brief stretch and folds.
The stretch and fold technique serves three purposes: redistributes heat within the dough, puts yeast back in contact with its food source, and layers the gluten to build the gluten structure within the dough.
baguette bread recipes
SHAPE THE DOUGH
After the dough has rested, shape the dough by folding down on the long sides and sealing in the center several times until a tight log forms. Keep your fingers damp while doing this to prevent the dough from sticking.
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- 4 cups high gluten bread flour
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1-1/2 cup warm water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, add the flour and yeast. Stir for 1 minute until yeast is incorporated.
- Slowly add water while kneading at slow speed.
- After 2 minutes, add salt. Knead for an additional 8 minutes.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and divide it in 3 equal portions.
- Roll each piece of dough with both hands to form a stick.
- Dust each stick with a little flour.
- Grease baguette pan by spraying a little oil. Place uncooked baguettes in the pan.
- Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 1 hour.
- Using a sharp razor blade or a paring knife, slash the top of each baguette diagonally in four spots. Spray water on the baguettes.
- Place water in a skillet or small baking dish on the bottom rack. This produces steam that lets the baguettes rise fully before a crust forms.
- Preheat oven to 430 F.
- Bake the baguettes until dark brown and crisp, about 30 to 35 minutes.