Continuing with our “How To Make Your Kitchen Hotter” week, I would LOVE to share some French baguettes with you! You can make these baguettes while you have your oven on for bagels and focaccia. You won’t even notice the difference.
Plus, these baguettes would be perfect if they were sliced open and used for sandwich bread. Pack up those sandwiches, get out of that hot house, and go on a picnic underneath a shady tree. You will thank me later.
I have wanted to learn how to make baguettes for a long time, but the task always seemed so daunting. Once I took a bread class through our county community classes, I saw how easy it was and decided to give it a go myself. It is totally manageable and highly suggest you give it a try. This recipe yields a nice crusty exterior and and chewy inside. My perfect bread combination. If you want your baguette to look a little shinier, you can spray it with some water in the last few minutes of baking. I didn’t really think that was necessary so I skipped that part. I still think they look pretty good. Don’t you?
French Bread Baguettes
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 cup water plus more as needed
- Put the flour in the food processor. Add the salt and yeast and turn the machine on: with the machine running, pour the 1 cup of water through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a defined, but slightly shaggy ball of dough. If needed, add more water or flour, just a little at a time, until the dough is slightly shaggy.
- Turn the tough into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Sprinkle a very small amount of flour onto a work surface, cut the dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces and shape each into a ball, sprinkling with alittle more flour as necessary. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Spread a large, cotton cloth, or flour sack towels, on work surface and sprinkle it very lightly with flour. Press each dough ball into a flat rectangular shape, then fold each long side of the rectangle up into the middle. Seal the resulting seam tightly and using your hands, roll the dough into a long snake. Place the loaf seam-side up in a fold of the cloth (creating a little bed called a “couche”).
- When all the loaves are formed, cover with a cloth and let rise for at least an hour.
- At least 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, place a baking stone in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Always start your baking stone in a cold oven and heat it up as the oven heats up. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can use a cookie sheet. Don’t worry about putting it in the oven ahead of time.
- When you are ready to bake, slash the top of each loaf several times with a very sharp knife. Carefully slide loaves into the baking sheet. You can do this by sliding them from a rimless baking sheet, a pizza peel, or turn a rimmed baking sheet upside down and using the bottom as a way to slide the bread from the sheet to the hot stone.
- Turn the oven down to 375 degrees.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown, around 30 minutes. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped.
- Cool on a wire rack before eating. If you would like warm bread, wait until it cools, then heat it up.