When my husband gave me a baguette pan for Christmas, I knew where to find the perfect baguette recipe right away. Sally of Bewitching Kitchen is an incredible baker. She makes absolutely stunning artisan bread loaves and beautiful cookies- especially French macarons.
Sally posted this detailed “award-winning” recipe on her blog, from Samuel Fromartz, author of the blog ChewsWise, via wildyeastblog.com. I adapted the recipe to use my new baguette pan for the second rise and to bake the loaves. It worked perfectly. 🙂 I was very pleased! The original recipe on ChewsWise.com provided very helpful links regarding the process of both forming the baguettes and scoring them prior to baking.
I baked the first batch for 18 minutes and the second for 20 minutes. I preferred the extra crispiness achieved with the longer baking time. All of the loaves had a fabulous interior texture. The sourdough flavor was subtle. I used my starter directly from the refrigerator. Next time, I plan to feed my starter 7 to 10 hours prior to making the dough, as in the original recipe. (see Note) Pretty and delicious.
Yield: 4 baguettes
- 90 grams sourdough starter (at 100% hydration- starter is fed with equal amounts of flour & water)(see Note)
- 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 420 grams water
- 590 grams flour (I used King Arthur Organic All Purpose Flour)
- 10 grams whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
- 13 grams fine sea salt
- olive oil to grease bowl
- cornmeal, for dusting (unless using a baguette pan)
- Pour starter and yeast into bowl and add water, mixing until the starter breaks up a bit.
- Add flours and salt and mix for a couple of minutes. The dough will be heavy and shaggy.
- Let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes, covered with plastic.
- Rub the surface where you will knead the dough with a tiny amount of olive oil to prevent the dough from sticking (great tip originally from Dan Lepard). (I oiled a large cutting board.)
- Use a scraper to move dough onto the counter and begin to knead by stretching and folding dough, trying to use your finger tips.
- After kneading for 5 minutes, scrape mass into a clean bowl or plastic bin. (I lightly greased the bowl with cooking spray.)
- Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. (I placed the bowl in a proofing oven.)
- Oil the counter (cutting board) again if necessary and remove dough to counter.
- Stretch it until 1-inch thick then fold top and bottom in thirds like a letter.
- Do the same type of folding, stretching until 1-inch thick, but now folding from left to right.
- Put dough back in the bowl, cover, let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Remove from bowl, repeat the folding technique, and put back in a covered bowl for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the bowl, fold again for the third and final time.
- Clean the bowl, oil lightly (with 2 tsp olive oil), and put dough back inside. (I put it in fold side up to oil the top, and then rotated it seam side down.)
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
- Place baking stone or quarry tiles in middle of oven.
- Place a thick rimmed cookie sheet or cast iron pan on oven floor or lower shelf. (I placed it on the rack just below the baking stone, shifted to one side to allow the steam to reach the loaves.)
- Heat oven to 470F (245 C). (I set a large oven to “Bake”- not on a convection setting.)
- Put a little olive oil in your palm and oil a 20-by-20 inch (50 x 50 cm) section of the counter.
- Remove dough from container. Cut dough in half. Put half back in container and into refrigerator.
- Cut dough into two rectangular pieces (about 250 grams each) and gently stretch into rectangles 5-by-7 inches (13-by-18 cm) with the long edge facing you. Cover with plastic wrap or a light towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
- While dough is resting, cut parchment paper large enough to fit your baking stone. Dust paper with flour. Dust a couche (or kitchen towels) lightly with flour. (I used an unfloured non-stick baguette pan instead.)
- Shape dough into a log by folding top and bottom of rectangle toward middle and gently sealing the seam with thumb. Then fold top to meet the bottom and seal seam. You should have a log about 1.5 to 2 inches thick (4 to 5 cm). (I used this video) The goal is to create tension over the top surface of the dough.
- Gently roll and stretch into a 14-inch loaf (36 cm) or just under the size of your baking stone. Crimp the ends to seal.
- Place each loaf on parchment paper (or in baguette pan) about six inches apart, seam side down. Place one rolled up towel underneath the paper between the loaves and one under each other edge, supporting their shape.
- Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap or a light kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (I used a proofing oven.)
- Put 2/3 cup water in measuring cup and bring to a boil in the microwave.
- Carefully move the paper with the loaves onto a flour-dusted overturned cookie sheet or cutting board. Dust top of loaves very lightly with flour. Use a bench scraper to gently adjust the loaves and straighten them out. (I did this in the baguette pan without transferring the loaves.)
- Make four or five cuts on the top of the loaf with a razor blade, 1/4 to 1/2-inch deep, running lengthwise on the dough. A swift slash at a sharp 20-degree angle works best. (see video link in step 8)
- Take cutting board and slide parchment paper with baguettes onto hot baking stone (or put the baguette pan on the baking stone). Shut oven door.
- Open door, and carefully pour 2/3 cup water onto cookie sheet or cast iron pan. (I put the cookie sheet on a gliding oven rack.) Be very careful if using boiling water. Shut door. Do not open the oven again while baking.
- Check baguettes after 18 to 20 minutes. They should be dark brown and crusty. If pale, continue baking for 1 to 2 minutes. (I found 20 minutes to be perfect in my oven.)
- Let cool for 20 minutes on rack before eating. They are best eaten within 6 hours.
- While baguettes are baking, form the remaining dough into loaves or leave for up to 24 hours and make fresh loaves the following day.
Note: To Make 90 grams Sourdough Starter at 100-percent hydration: Use equal parts of water and flour by weight, and ferment for 7 to 10 hours. Use 25 grams ripe and active sourdough, 50 grams flour and 50 grams water. After it ferments, use 90 grams of it in the bread and refresh the rest for future doughs.