Best French Baguette Recipe

If there’s one thing in the world I cannot live without, it’s freshly baked bread. For these reasons, I don’t think I can ever go on a carb-free diet. It’s just not worth it!

Ever since I got my Kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas a couple of years ago, I became obsessed with making bread because I can easily knead the dough using the dough hook without tirelessly doing it by hand. I also bought a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking which has become an essential addition to any baker’s library collection. From that book, I discovered the secret to making easy, no knead bread that yield incredible results.
baguetteI paired the no knead technique I learned from this book along with the steam injection technique I got from this blog to create this authentic french baguette. Beautiful color, crispy crust, and moist interior makes for the perfect french baguette that can be served alone, or paired with any dish of your choice.

Ingredients

Makes 4 small baguettes

  • 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp of dry active yeast
  • 2 1/4 tsp of kosher salt
  • 3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • Cornmeal for dusting

1. Before you get started, do a quick test to ensure your yeast is still active. If you mix it in lukewarm water and it starts foaming within 5 minutes while producing a strong yeasty smell, you’re good to go!

2. Combine lukewarm water, flour, salt, and yeast into a giant bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. It will look very wet at first but after mixing it a bit, it will look really dry and shaggy. Continue mixing it and eventually, it will all come together and the dough shouldn’t stick to the sides of the bowl anymore. No kneading is necessary.

3. Cover the bowl with Saran wrap and place it in the fridge so it can rise overnight. This allows the flavour to really develop in the dough.

4. The next day when you’re ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge and lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour so you can easily handle it. Press all the air out of the dough and split the dough into 4 pieces. Allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes so that it’s easier to work with later.

5.  Fold the the dough in on itself and roll it into a long cylinder as you shape the dough into its baguette shape. Tuck the ends in if need be.

6. Sprinkle your Silpat or parchment paper with some cornmeal to prevent sticking. Then place your shaped loaves on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the loaves lightly with flour and lightly cover them with Saran wrap (also dusted with flour) as to prevent it from sticking to the dough. Let rise until doubled in size – about an hour and a half.

7. Preheat the oven to 485F and place a baking tray filled with 1 cm of water at the bottom rack of the oven. This creates humidity which will help the baguette achieve their signature look. Once the dough has doubled in size, make slashes or cuts in the loaves to give it that authentic baguette look.

8. Spray the loaves with a bit of water and quickly pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes. In intervals of 5 minutes leading up to the end of the cook time, open the oven door and quickly spray the bread with water to simulate the steam injection ovens they have in French bakeries.  At the 10 minute mark, spray the bread and quickly turn the tray around to ensure even baking. Continue spraying every 5 minutes and by the end of 20 minutes, your loaves should have that golden brown look with a tough crust.

9. Allow to cool a bit before serving and cut into it with a bread knife. Eat immediately and fall in love with bread.

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