The Best Baguette (Golden and Crisp on the Outside, Soft and Fluffy on the Inside)

Nothing beats the smell of freshly home-baked bread…

Prep time: 1-2 hours

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes

Serves: makes two loaves

Ingredients

Day 1 – The Starter

  • 50g cold water
  • 2g fresh yeast (or 1.5g dried yeast)
  • 50g strong white bread flour

Day 2 – The Dough

  • The Starter (see ‘Day 1’)
  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 20g wholegrain rye flour
  • 4g fine sea salt
  • 4g fresh yeast (or 2g dried yeast)
  • 140g cold water

And, semolina or more flour for dusting the baking trays

Method

Day 1 – The Starter

  • In a bowl, mix the fresh yeast and water until fully combined (if using dried yeast, skip this step)
  • Add flour and stir to fully combine (if using dried yeast – stir the yeast through the flour, then add the water, it’ll be easier to combine this way)
  • Cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for 2 hours then place in the fridge overnight (for 12-24 hours)

Day 2 – The Dough

  • Take your Starter out of the fridge and check for a bubbly consistency and slightly alcoholic aroma
  • Combine in a bowl the two flours and the salt (if using dried yeast – stir the yeast through the flour as well)
  • In an another bowl, mix the fresh yeast and water until combined (if using dried yeast, you’ll just need the water)
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the liquid and your Starter. Gently bring the dough together, which is easier said than done, I know! Here’s how I do it: gently move a wooden spoon in an increasingly-large circular motion to gradually pull in more of the dry ingredients around the edge of the well then, when the majority comes together, use a hand to gently move the sticky messy ball around the bowl to gather the remaining dry ingredients
  • Remove the dough on to a work surface (tip: don’t add any flour to the work surface – it messes with the recipe)
  • Use the heel of your hand to push and stretch the dough a good full arm’s length into the work surface for around 10 minutes. The longer the better as this creates the elasticity to shape your bread later on
  • Place the dough back in to your bowl (if making two small loafs, divide the dough in half now), cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for an hour
  • Gently shape the dough into a round by turning it over and over in your hands. Then it’s back in the bowl, cover with cling and leave to rest for 10 minutes
  • Line a tray with a heavy tea towel and dust heavily with flour
  • On your worktop, shape the baguette by forming it into a rough oval (around 25cm long, 20cm deep). Form a lip on the top edge, tuck the dough in and roll into a sausage shape, making the roll as tight as possible
  • Place onto your tea towel seam side up. And, if you’re making two baguettes, pull the tea towel up beside one then fold it back down to create a ridge and place the second baguette next to the ridge
  • Let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour (and up to 24 hours)
  • Preheat the oven to 250C / 230C Fan / gas mark 9 and place a roasting tin on the bottom shelf, ready to be filled with some water prior to baking
  • Sprinkle semolina (or flour) over one or two large baking trays and move your dough from the tea towel to the baking tray
  • With a sharp serrated knife, score the loaves, either once down the middle or with three diagonal cuts around 1-2cm deep
  • Bake the baguettes on the top third of the oven one at a time adding 100ml of water to the roasting tin each time and remember to close the oven door as quickly as you can
  • Bake for 18 minutes turning once, or until the baguette has risen, has a crisp golden crust and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom

Allow to cool and then tuck in, you’ll never buy shop bought baguettes again!

Copyright © misterrands.com

Published by misterrands

Mindful living blogger (recipes, lifestyle & travel) based in beautiful rural north yorkshire 🚜 🐮 🐑

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