Honestly, I'm still working on perfecting this recipe. The flavor and texture of the bread has been wonderful each time but it's taken me several tries to get that crispy outside. However, I actually think I prefer it without the crunchy crust - sacrilege, I know, but it's so much easier for my toddler to eat! I think the difference is brushing or spraying the loaf with water before cooking it, just so you know. But no matter which way this comes out, it's always devoured in less than 24 hours.
Baguettes have always intimidated me but when my dad talked about making it at home, I had to try it, too (even though he's a much better and more experienced bread baker than I am - I grew up on some delicious homemade bread!). I love that I can make this dough and let it sit in the fridge until I'm ready to bake it. (It actually requires an overnight rest so definitely read the directions before making this!) Actually, the dough can sit in the fridge for up to 7 days so I usually make it twice during a week so we have fresh bread for two dinners! It was amazing served with the chicken parmesan meatballs and I'm pretty sure it would be just as good on the side of a soup or a salad (like the roasted vegetable chopped chicken salad).
Taken from: King Arthur Flour
Makes 1-2 loaves (could easily be doubled)
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur brand)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons or 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- In a large mixing bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer), add water. Add the dry ingredients to the water, and stir to combine. Mix until there are no dry spots; the texture of the dough should be fairly soft.
- Knead the dough gently for a few minutes by hand (or knead for 1 or 2 minutes in a stand mixer). The dough will be very sticky . Cover the container (I used a clean kitchen towel), and let the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Refrigerate overnight, or for up to 7 days.
- To bake bread: Scoop out about half of the dough and place on a greased work surface (I use a silpat mat). Shape the dough into a rough, slightly flattened oval.
- Fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten slightly, and fold lengthwise and seal again. With the seam side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the of dough into a 15" log.
- Place the log seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet (I use a silpat mat), or into the well of a baguette pan. Cover and allow the baguette to rise till it's very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450°F.
- Slash the baguette three or four times on the diagonal.
- 13) Spritz the baguette heavily with warm water (I used a pastry brush to brush it with warm water), and bake until a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes (the internal temperature should be about 210 degrees). Remove baguette from the oven and cool on a rack.