Baguettes are my favorite thing to make, and my family’s favorite thing to eat. I learned how to make baguettes in December 2016, and I’ve probably made them 2016 times since then. If you have a crowd coming over, or if you want to impress someone, make these. You don’t even have to make them to impress people- in a crowded room, stand up and loudly announce you bake your own baguettes. Positive murmurs galore. They get better the longer you make the dough rise, so plan to make them 24-48 hours in advance. They’ll also stay soft for about a week! I didn’t plan to make them for a country. I wanted a lot more pomp and circumstance. But there’s nothing more quintessentially French than baguettes- they’re the best thing to come out of France since croissants! I spend a lot of time thinking about bread.
4-5 cups flour (reserve one cup and keep it on hand for sprinkling)
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons salt
There you have it. The secret to success and adding three inches onto people’s waistlines. Start by proofing the yeast in the water. The water should be warmish-hot. I test it by bending my thumb over, and then sticking it in. If the soreness goes away, it’s just right. You could, you know, just use a thermometer. That would also work. Throw the sugar in there, too. Why? Don’t ask questions, insolent turnip. Sorry. I’ve developed this bad habit of calling people turnips. I’m going to go ahead and blame it on the government.
While the yeast proofs, chuck in the four cups of flour, and the salt. This baguette recipe has an unusually high salt content. Just like me! The salt helps to keep it soft, and will give it lots and lots of flavor. For the next step, we need a backstory. So, I have a dog. Fluffy little thing. Love her. My BFF. She doesn’t like to be petted. She likes to be ruffled and floofed. In my house, we have developed a technical term for ruffling and floofing. We call it shoofing. And now, we must shoof the flour. Dip one hand in. Grab a handful of flour. Bring your hand up lightly and drop it back into the bowl. Continue for about 5 minutes. I know it seems silly. But this is going to give you the lightest, airiest, softest baguettes you have ever eaten. Once the flour is shoofed
and the yeast is proofed, you’re ready to take this to Broadway. Seems like it could be a great musical.
Pour the water into the flour,
and mix it. Don’t use a spoon! Use your bare hands.
Once it’s all mixed, sprinkle some flour on a cutting board or clean counter,
and beat up that dough. 8 minutes. No less. You could do it for more! But no less. I like to roll it into a thick strip, and then flip it. We all have our own kneading techniques.
The more you knead it, the more tender it will get. You’ll get a very different result if you use a dough hook in a stand mixer! And not a good different, either.
Now put the dough in a greased bowl,
cover it, and leave it for anywhere from 2-48 hours. You may have to punch it down to stop it from spilling over.
When you’re ready to bake it,
, divide it into two loaves on a pan. You could also make one giant baguette, but my oven isn’t big enough for that. And this way, you can give one baguette to someone, and eat the other one fresh out of the oven with no cheese like a savage.
Let the loaves rise for about an hour, then cut slits in them with a bread knife. This will help the loaves vent, and give it that cool baguette look. Now just bake them at 400 F for 40 minutes!
Voila. Baguettes. Real, actual baguettes you made in your kitchen with 5 ingredients.
Eat them with brie, other cheese, cured meat, make a sandwich, or just eat them plain- you’re unstoppable!