The Baker Upstairs: Classic Baguettes

4.08.2019

Classic Baguettes

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These homemade classic baguettes have the perfect crisp exterior and soft inside. They taste just like they came from a fancy bakery!

These homemade classic baguettes have the perfect crisp exterior and soft inside. They taste just like they came from a fancy bakery!

Okay, as much as I love to bake, I would definitely say that artisan breads are not really my forte. I mean, dinner rolls? Check. Sandwich bread? I'm all over it. Biscuits? French bread? Homemade tortillas? I've got it all down pat. But breads that take 12+ hours, that use a biga or a poolish and have an extra long fermentation time? Yeah, they're still a work in progress for me. They always feel intimidating to me, and I feel like I don't have all of the equipment or skills I need. I bought Flour Water Salt Yeast for myself for my birthday last year, and as much as I'm excited to start baking from it, it feels a little intimidating. It's a lot of time and energy to invest into a bread recipe if it doesn't turn out well. I've opened up the book and looked through the recipes at least a dozen times, and then shut it without making anything. I have the feeling that if I just get started, everything will work out just fine, but I can't get over that initial hurdle.

As I've been trying to get myself pumped up to make artisan bread, I remembered that I made this baguette recipe forever ago (way back in 2012) and that it was pretty amazing. I gave it another try, and the results were just as delicious as I remembered! These classic baguettes have a crisp, chewy crust, a light and tender middle, and they taste so good! It's definitely not a quick recipe (it takes a minimum of 19 hours or so) but the end result is definitely worth it! Making these baguettes gave me a nice little confidence boost, and I'm excited to try out some other artisan bread recipes soon! 

These homemade classic baguettes have the perfect crisp exterior and soft inside. They taste just like they came from a fancy bakery!
Classic Baguettes

for the starter:
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast (a good pinch works fine)
1 cup flour

for the bread:
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt

To make the starter, add the water to a medium bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top. When the yeast has dissolved, stir in the flour. Cover and let sit at least twelve hours (leaving it overnight works great). When it has finished resting, it will be bubbly and should have risen noticeably.

To make the bread, add the starter to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast, water, flour, and salt, and stir to form a soft and slightly sticky dough. Knead for about five minutes, until smooth and pliable. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, gently deflate the dough by folding the edges of the dough into the center, turn the dough ball over, and cover again. Let rise for 45 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a light greased surface and divide into three equal sized balls. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Working with one dough ball at a time, flatten the dough slightly with your hand, then fold it over on itself. Turn the dough around so that the seam is facing you, and fold it over agin. Repeat the process one more time, then place seam side down. Roll out the dough using your hands to form a long cylinder. Place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.

Toward the end of the rise time, place a pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven, and heat the oven to 450. When the dough has finished rising, place the baking sheet on the shelf above the water and bake 24-28 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool on a cooling rack.
These homemade classic baguettes have the perfect crisp exterior and soft inside. They taste just like they came from a fancy bakery!

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