I like to bake a lot of things. But probably one of my favorites is bread, like these bakery style baguettes. Such a simple thing to enjoy baking. But there are really good reasons to bake bread.
- Your house smells good.
- Your kids wander into the kitchen, wondering what you are making, and you are elevated to the status of Queen-for-a-minute.
- Bread is good.
- Your house smells good.
I’m Italian and one of our past times is baking bread. It’s like a cultural thing. Bake bread and people will just show up at your house.
Need to make dinner for a friend? Include bread and you’re their new best friend.
New family in the neighborhood? Bread’s the answer.
You have super powers when you bake bread. People who don’t bake bread are amazed at your skills. And it’ll be your little secret at how easy it is to make bread. Notice I didn’t say quick. Because sometimes good things take awhile and are totally worth it.
The best way to go about this recipe is to start it the night before. That way, all the waiting is done while you’re sleeping and so it’s like time has stood still. (Say that a couple times and it’ll be the truth).
There are a couple tools and ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. This perforated baguette pan is really helpful. Not only during the rise, but baking it as well. You’ll also need a bread lame, or a really sharp knife. I also recommend buying diastatic malt powder. It’s just another secret to getting that authentic, rustic baguette. And finally, you must buy this dough hook. When I mix bread dough, I do it by hand – not in a stand mixer.
- 3/4 cup|1 1/3 ounces white whole wheat flour
- 3 cups|15 ounces King Arthur all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon diastatic malt powder
- 1 1/2 cups room-temp water
- Sift the wheat flour through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Discard the remaining bran. Add the all-purpose flour, salt, yeast, and malt powder to the bowl. Fit mixer with a dough hook and add all of the water. Knead on low speed until dough is cohesive and no dry flour is left, 5-7 minutes. Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let rest at room temp for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, pick up the edge of the dough with fingers and fold it over itself towards the center. Rotate bowl slightly and repeat. You should have a total of 8 folds. Repeat this resting and folding every 30 minutes 3 more times. After the 4th set of folds, cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours, up to 72.
- Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and pat it into an 8 inch square. Working carefully so as not to deflate the dough, divide it in half. One piece of dough will be wrapped in plastic and returned to refrigerator. The second piece of dough is divided again and returned to the lightly floured surface and covered loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest 45 minutes.
- Roll each piece of dough into a loose 3 to 4 inch long cylinder. Cover again with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Gently press one piece of dough into a 6 by 4-inch rectangle with the long edge facing you. Fold the upper edge of dough toward you and gently press to seal. Turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat this folding technique.
- Using your thumb as a guide and making a crease, fold the dough toward you. Using your other hand, gently press the dough with your heel to seal it. Leave the ends open.
- Cup one hand over the center of the dough and gently roll back and further to tighten. It will form a dog-bone shape.
- Using both hands at the center, roll and stretch the dough towards the ends until it measures roughly 15 inches. Use back and forth motion to roll ends of loaf under to form sharp points.
- Transfer dough to a perforated bread pan, seam side down. Repeat with second piece of dough. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick.
- Let dough set until almost double in size, 45-60 minutes. Dough should spring back just a bit when touched gently with your fingertips.
- While dough is baking, preheat oven to 475. Place roasting pan on bottom rack.
- With a sharp knife, or lame, make a series of 3 4-inch slashes along length of loaves.
- Heat a quart of water. Place bread pan with baguettes into oven and quickly pour hot water in roasting pan and close the oven.
- Bake 14-18 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Transfer to cooling rack for 20 minutes before serving. Best when served the same day.
If you don’t have King Arthur all-purpose flour, substitute bread flour. King Arthur has a higher percentage of protein.
All of the resting and rising is done to give the gluten time to works its magic.
Do not use glass for the hot water, it can shatter with such drastic temperature changes. Use a metal roasting pan.
Need other bread inspiration? Check out these recipes.1