Baguettes are one of my favorite breads to make- especially when I'm making my own homemade sandwiches. Baguettes are pretty much the same composition of French Bread, but its form is longer and has a shorter proof/baking time. You can finish a baguette in half the time of a French bread loaf!
In a cup, add the active dry yeast (.19 oz) and add a small amount of water to the yeast. The water should be 105-110 F and should weigh .8 oz. Wait five to ten minutes for the yeast to activate.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour and salt until combined; make a dome in the middle. Fill the dome with the fermented yeast and half of the water and combine the material (add water as need be). The dough should become a cohesive dough.
Dust your bench with bread flour. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Baguette dough needs to be intensively kneaded so the proofing time is shorter- that is why kneading takes a long period of time. After kneading, spray a large mixing bowl with PAM and add your dough. Cover with plastic wrap and proof for an hour and a half.
Once proofing is over, take out your dough and pre-shape. I just took 2/3 of the dough to make a baguette and left the rest to make rolls. Proof for 10 minutes.
To shape the baguette, roll the dough into an oval. The dough should be thick and not to thin. Like the makeup of a cinnamon roll, roll the dough Parallel towards you. Pinch the seams at the end. Proof for another 10 minutes.
On a cookie pan or any pan really, line it with parchment paper and sprinkle it with cornmeal. The baguette and rolls should lay on top of this. Water wash the baguette and the rolls.
Slash the baguette just like the picture above. Make sure the slash is all the way across, or the air has no place to escape during baking.
Preheat the oven to 425F and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. The first ten minutes should have steam- if your oven doesn’t have a steamer, you can add steam by placing water in a cookie tray on the bottom rack.
If baked correctly, the crust should be hard and crunch, and the inside soft and flavorful. You can add anything to the bread such as spices or herbs. The recipe can be endless.
THANK YOU for reading. I recommend making baguettes once in awhile for sandwiches and soups. They are delicious when warm and toasted :)