• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time:
  • Serves: 3 14" loaves

Amy Scherber's Baguette

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Breads

 Ingredients List

  • 1 1/4 ts Active dry yeast
  • 1/4 c (2 ounces) very warm water
  • 105 to 115 degrees F
  • 3 c (13 1/2 ounces)
  • Unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 c (4 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • (see note)
  • 2 1/4 ts Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 c Plus 1 tablespoon, (10
  • 1/2ounces) cool water - 75
  • Degrees F

 Directions

Combine the yeast and the warm water in a small bowl and stir with a fork
to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes. Combine the flours and salt
in a large bowl. Pour the cool water and the yeast mixture over the flour,
and mix with your fingers to form a shaggy mass. Move the dough to a
lightly floured work surface and and resilient, but not too smooth at this
point. Let the dough rest on the work surface for 20 minutes, covered with
plastic wrap or a light towel. (This rest period is the autolyse.)

Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes. Don't overknead it: The dough should be
smooth, stretchy, and resilient. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl,
turn it in the bowl to coat with oil, and cover it with plastic wrap. Let
rise at room temperature ( 75 to 77 degrees F) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or
until nearly doubled in volume.

Gently deflate the dough and fold it over itself in the bowl. Reshape it
into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 1/4 hours or
until it has nearly doubled again. Gently deflate the dough again, reshape
into a round, cover, and let rise for about 1 hour. Place the dough on a
very lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 equal pieces (about 10
ounces each). Gently stretch one piece into a rectangle, leaving some large
bubbles in the dough. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up as if
you were folding a business letter. Now form the loaf into a log by rolling
the dough over from left to right and sealing the seam with the heel of
your palm. Fold the dough over about 1/ 3 of the way each time, seal the
length of the loaf, then repeat. You want to gently draw the skin tight
over the surface of the baguette while leaving some air bubbles in the
dough. Seal the seam, being careful not to tear the skin of the dough or
deflate its airy structure. Set aside on the work surface to relax before
elongating it, and repeat the shaping process with remaining pieces of
dough.

Now elongate each baguette, starting with the first one you shaped, by
rolling it back and forth on the work surface. Begin with both hands over
the center of the loaf and work them out to the ends until the loaf reaches
the desired length. (Don't get carried away, or the baguettes won't fit in
your oven!) Place the finished loaves on a peel or upside down baking sheet
lined with parchment paper spring, resulting in loaves with a light, airy
crumb and more flared cuts.

Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Place a
baking stone in the oven to preheat, and place an empty water pan directly
under the stone. Use a very sharp razor blade or lame to make 3 to 5
slashes, depending on the length of your loaves, on the top of each
baguette. The cuts should run from one end of the loaf to the other, rather
than across it, and the blade should be held at a 30 degree angle to the
loaf so that the cuts pop open in the oven. Be careful not to press down
too hard, or you may deflate the loaves. Using a plant sprayer, mist the
loaves.

Gently slide the loaves onto the preheated stone, or place the baguette
mold in the oven. Pour 1 cup of very hot water into the water pan and
quickly close the oven door. After 1 minute, mist the loaves and oven walls
6 to 8 times and close the door. After 2 more minutes, spray the loaves and
the oven walls again.

Bake for 12 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and
bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer until the loaves are golden brown and
crisp. Move them to a rack to cool.

Enjoy your baguettes still slightly warm with some soft, ripe French cheese
and a glass of wine.

Yield: 3 - 14 inch loaves.

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