Baguettes

BaguettesThe beauty about this recipe is that you can casually start this recipe in the morning (even if you sleep in…but not too late!) and have fresh baguettes ready for lunch. How good is that?!

If you’ve got a thriving starter but not ready to commit to sourdough in its purest form, then baguettes are for you. It is a semi-sourdough as yeast, as well as sourdough starter, is used as a leavening agent. As I said, baguettes can be made in a morning, rather than an 18+ hour ordeal like sourdough. The waiting is far more tolerable for the impatient.

Yield: 6 (delicious) baguettes

Ingredients
540g sourdough starter
680g stone-ground organic plain flour
7g (1 sachet) dry active yeast
275ml filtered water
12g sea salt

Method
Throw all the ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until all ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead for another 6-10 minutes until the dough is easily stretched without breaking, it should be fairly see-through once stretched.

Set aside in an oiled container with plenty of room to rise and cover with cling film for an hour. Lift the dough out of the container and fold it over itself a couple of times. Place back in the container and cover for another hour.

Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time, stretch the dough out to a rectangle, about 20 x 10 cm (as it’s rolled up it lengthens). I prefer to push the dough out with my fingers, the thickness distorts if pulled too much. Starting with the long edge, tightly roll the dough towards you. As you roll, you’ll hear the most delightful popping sounds as you squeeze all the air pockets out (which is a good thing). Place the rolled up baguette, seam side up, on a floured tea-towel. Bunch the tea-towel up between the baguettes so that they don’t stick together as they rise. Sprinkle with flour and cover loosely with cling film.

 

Rolling, resting, flipping, slashing

Rolling, resting, flipping, slashing

Preheat the oven to the highest it will go and place a pizza stone or tile on the middle shelf. Allow to rise for about half an hour. The baguettes should have risen by at least half, if not doubled. Very delicately transfer the baguettes to a baking-paper lined tray with the seam underneath. Slash the baguettes with a sharp knife, serrated works well, in long diagonals. Overlap each slash by a third to get the tradition “bridging” on a baguette (I’m still working on it).

Bake in a hot oven on a pizza stone for about 15 minutes. Pay attention to the bottoms so they don’t burn. The baguettes are ready once tapped on the bottom they sound hollow.

Now that you’ve mastered the baguette, you’re ready for sourdough. Go on, give it a try, you’ll be great!

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