While making homemade bread is a lengthy process, it is more about planning to start early in the day and then just leaving the dough alone to rise than having to work for hours on this recipe. I often start my dough around lunchtime and then my bread is in the oven right before dinner.
Baguettes are a bit daunting...I mean we have all seen the beautiful baguettes that France is known for and if you have been lucky enough to taste a baguette while walking the streets of Paris, you are lucky and probably just wishing it was possible to get that awesome yummy bread at home. I think this recipe just might be the winner. I bake bread every week for my family, so I have tried many recipes and experimented a great deal over the years. I love baking bread, it fills the house with a great smell, no one can resist delicious bread right out of the oven, and nothing makes my sons run downstairs faster than bread right out of the oven slathered with butter.
This recipe makes three baguettes, it is best to use a baguette pan when baking to get that crispy texture. I really like the one I have included a link for below, it holds three baguettes, which this recipe makes and cleans up easily.
- 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 cups flour
- 3 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups cool water (maybe a little more or less)
Measure your yeast and warm water in a small bowl. Let the yeast bloom for at least five minutes.
Mix the flour and salt in a larger bowl. Make a little well in the middle of your dry ingredients and add your bloomed yeast. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, adding a little cool water, then mixing again, more cool water, mix again...You get it! Now the dough should look a little raggy at this point, we aren't going for that beautiful perfect dough ball you see on cooking shows, that will come later, I promise.
At this point, I simply cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside for 30 minutes. Don't skip this step, you need to let the gluten relax before you move onto the next step.
After 30 minutes, flour your surface well and dump the bowl. You will need to put some flour on your hands as well. Don't be afraid to add flour, having the dough stick all over your hands is just annoying.
Push the dough down and fold in one side to the middle, then the other side. Turn the dough and repeat, continue this process for about 8 minutes. Shape your dough into a nice ball and let the proofing begin! Place it in your proofing bowl or any other clean, large bowl and cover for 1-2 hours. (If using a ceramic or glass mixing bowl, oil it with some olive oil so it doesn't stick.)
Your dough should have doubled in size after proofing.
Preheat oven to 450°
Now, this is the tricky part because you need to evenly divide the dough into thirds. I usually use a scale so I get it right, I am not a very visual person, so I can't seem to divide evenly without a scale. You are probably much better than myself at eyeing it up.
Shape each piece into a long loaf, creating pointy ends. Place the loaves on a floured towel and let them rest for 30 minutes.
Transfer the baguettes to your pan and slash the tops diagonally four times. Place a cast iron pan in the oven with 2 cups of water and a handful of ice cubes on the bottom rack. Then slide those baguettes in your very hot and very steamy oven on the middle rack.
My oven runs pretty hot, so I only bake my baguettes for 20 minutes tops. Yours may take up to 30 minutes, watch the bread closely. The top needs to be golden brown and when tapped will sound hollow.
In order to help that crispy texture along, you need to create some steam in the oven. I suggest using a cast iron pan for your steamy water. I have tried a copper pot, but I think cast iron is much better.
Be careful! Hot water in the oven is scary. I suggest waiting until your oven has completely cooked prior to removing the cast iron pan from the oven.
What's in my kitchen?
Thank you for visiting my blog! My name is Colleen Mallory. I dream about cooking, Sometimes, I actually think about how ingredients will mix together and then first chance I get, I try my crazy combinations.