Baguette
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread, Baking
Cuisine: French
 
Ingredients
  • 2¼ pounds / 1 kg all purpose flour or bread flour
  • 1½ pounds /650 to 700 g of water, cold from tap (distilled is better)
  • ½ oz /16 g of dry yeast OR 1oz/ 32 grams of fresh yeast
  • ⅔ oz or 22 g fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add flour, then water. Mix 30 seconds just to combine the ingredients. (You can also by hand use the dough hook to stir the flour and water together until all of the flour is wet). Cover and let rest for 30 minutes (autolysis). In these 30 minutes the flour will slowly absorb the water.
  2. Now using the dough hook. Start on medium speed and add slowly the yeast, then the salt. Keep mixing for about 5 minutes on medium low speed, let rest 10 minutes and then mix again on high for 5 minutes to develop the gluten. The dough is done when a small piece can be stretched so thin you can see your fingers through it. (This is called the windowpane test). The dough should be very smooth and should not be any warmer than 27C /80F.
  3. Let the dough rest, covered, for about 1 hour at room temperature. If the room is too hot place the dough in the fridge, always covered.
  4. Optional but well worth the effort: Turn the dough over onto itself every 15 minutes during the hour that it rests or just until it becomes to elastic to stretch, this technique will help develop fantastic air pockets in the dough. Slap the dough onto the table a few times, then place in large plastic container 30cm x 40cm lightly greased with vegetable oil. Cover with lightly oiled film, place in the fridge for 14 to 16 hours.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge and gently place it on a floured table. Divide into 6 rectangular pieces. Keep the sticky side facing up and gently fold the dough a third of the way down your rectangle, do this by pulling the dough over your thumb as to not push all the air out of the dough. Then by using the piano fingers technique spread the dough laterally while also pushing forward you are trying to form a tighter skin around the dough to trap the air. Repeat this a couple of times, then using your thumbs, seal the dough to itself, forming a seam. Place these pre-formed baguettes on a tray covered by a tea towel until they are about 50% larger, This will take roughly ½ hour for this rising.) During this next phase you will try to save as much air pockets as possible. If you're too rough the dough will deflate and the crumb will be more dense and even. Shape each piece into a baguette by placing each pre-formed baguette onto a lightly floured surface the sticky side up and repeating the folding steps noted above create the seal by pinching the seal onto the bench with your thumbs. Gently roll the baguette with your hands to achieve the final baguette shape. Place each baguette on a baking sheet lined with parchment and then lightly floured. Gently roll the formed baguettes onto the baguette baking trays seam side down, then cover again until about 50% larger than they were... maybe doubled.
  6. Place a shallow pan in the bottom of the oven and preheat to 475F (250C) degrees.
  7. Using a razor or sharp knife make ¼ inch deep, diagonal slashes, 3 to 4 times down the length of the loaf. (for a half baguette) 6 to 7 for a full baguette) do this by holding the end of the baguette with one hand, and with the other hand, make quick slashes along the length of the baguette. Pour about ¼ of a cup of water in the pan in the bottom of the oven, and place baguettes in the oven, working quickly vaporize the oven and generously vaporize the baguettes with a spray bottle. Quickly close the as not to lose too much heat. Keep making steam for the first 10 minutes to help developing a nice thick crust. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes until browned.
  8. You can use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness. The bread should have an internal temperature of 200F/93C degrees when done. When the bread is cooked it sounds hollow when you tap it.
Recipe by De Ma Cuisine at http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/timandrachgotoparis2013-what-i-cooked/