Homemade Sourdough Baguettes

Homemade Baguette

A hot  bowl of  soup with  piece of  crusty  bread on the  dinner table  , on a  cold  winter  night , makes  me  a  very happy  girl indeed !! Now  that is  not  entirely  true, I  for one  could   go for  soup  and   bread  any  day of the year.  Baguettes  are  our  choice  of  bread  to accompany  the   soups –  they have  these crispy crunchy exterior  and  the  wonderful chewy interior.  These   textural quality  and  contrasts  are not  easily achieved at home but  I do have  something  that   comes  fairly close  and  tastes  way better than the  usual  store  bought  variety.

I love  the  crunchy crust of  the  baguettes , did I mention that already ??.  I am happy with the   crust of  my store bought  baguettes , but they seem to lack the   complex  flavors of  the   sourdough  versions.   It  took me  some  time  to get  this  recipe  the  way I wanted  it  –  but   the  whether  the  experiments  were a  hit or  miss  in terms of   texture , the  taste was  always spot on. Leftover  pieces  for  brekfast next  day slathered   with  marmalade  and  a  hot  cup of  joe ,  perfect  breakfast  heaven !!!

This  recipe , by no means,  is   the  ultimate  version, but  comes  pretty darn  close   and  the  best  part is  that  you can make    it  using the standard  home  kitchen  appliances.

Homemade Sourdough Baguettes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: 4 Demi baguettes

Ingredients

Flour - 400 gm (3 1/4 C)
Sourdough Starter - 200gm (1 C)
Water - 250 gm (1 C)
Sea Salt - 9 gm (1 1/4 Tsp)

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl add the starter, flour, salt and water. Stir using a spatula till everything comes together into a shaggy mass. Cover with a towel and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Uncover and knead for 5 to 10 minutes the dough feels smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl and lightly oil (optional) the insides. Form the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled - 2 to 4 hours depending on the room temperature.

Punch down the dough. Flour a work surface and transfer the dough to it . Form into a rectangle and fold in thirds toward the middle starting from one one short side. Pinch the ends closed. Place the dough back in the bowl and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this process once more .

Divide the dough into 3 to 4 pieces depending on the size of the baguettes you want to make. Place each piece on a floured work surface and form baguettes (see pictures) . Cover a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with a long sheet of parchment and place the shaped baguettes on it (see pics). Cover with a moist kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.

While the baguettes are rising preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a thick cookie sheet in the middle rack and and oven safe rimmed pan on the rack below.

Once the baguettes have almost doubled , make slashes on the top with a sharp knife. Spray some water on top of the loaves and transfer into the hot baking sheet. Place a cup of ice cubes in the bottom tray and close the oven door. Reduce the temperature to 400°F and let the bread bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes check and bake a few additional minutes till the crust reaches desired golden brown color.

Notes

The volume measurements are approximate Use fed and active sourdough stater. The starter is at 100% hydration i.e. equal parts flour and water by weight.

https://oventales.com/homemade-baguettes/

Homemade Baguette

Here are a  few  good  things  to have   when  making  this  recipe –  pizza  stone ,  baker’s  peel ,  bench scraper, baguette pans, and of course baker’s couche.   Do I  use  any of  these  in   this  recipe ?  No.  These are  all good  things  to have, but  the  life  does  not  end   just  because  one is  short on  gadgets.

Sourdough

It is  crazy that   all this   goodness  comes  out  of  essentially  4  ingredients –  flour  water  salt  and  yeast.   I use  my   100% sourdough  starter  for   this  recipe – you can  checkout  the  recipe  here .  Place  all the   ingredients  in a   bowl  and  mix (mixer/spatula) till a  shaggy mass  is  formed.  This  dough has  high  water  content (70 to 75%  hydration in bread speak). Once  all the  flour  is  absorbed into the  dough  cover   the   bowl  and  let  it  rest  for  20 minutes (autolyze for  bread geeks)

Knead

Uncover  and  knead  the  dough  for 5 to 10 minutes  till it  becomes  smooth and  elastic.  If  using  an electric  mixer –  5  minutes of  kneading  on low  setting  should  do the   trick. The   dough  should  stretch easily without  tearing  at  this  point.  Form  into a  ball and  place in a bowl  and  keep  covered in a  warm  area to  rise  until  doubled – 2  to 4  hours at   around  70°F. If  the   dough is  rising  too fast, transfer to  the  fridge to slow  it  down. You  could  oil  the  insides of  the  bowl to  prevent  the  dough   from sticking.  I do not  oil , and   find  that  with careful  scraping  there is  very little  dough sticking to the  sides.

Baguettes

Once  the  dough is   doubled  transfer it  to a  floured  work surface   and  form into a  rectangle.  Fold it  over  itself  into  thirds  starting from  one  short  side ,  and  place  back in the   bowl. cover  and  let  rest  for  30 minutes  and repeat  the  process.

Divide  the  dough into  3  or  4 pieces.  Place  each  piece  on a  floured  surface  and  gently stretch out a little .  Pinch the  sides  toward  the  middle  to  form a  long  log .  Make  sure  to  pinch all the  ends  tightly.

Baguettes Rising

This  is  the  setup I have  for  rising  my baguettes. On a  baking  sheet place a  long  sheet of parchment  paper. Place a  rolled  towel  under  one  edge  and  place a  shaped baguette next to it  on the  parchment  sheet.  Pull  the  long  side of  the parchment toward the loaf  before  placing  the  next one on   it .   This  creates  keeps  the  loaves   from  spreading  out  and  helps  it  to  rise  vertically, just  like a  baker’s couche.  Cover    with a   parchment  or  moist kitchen towel   and  let  rise   for   30  minutes, until almost  doubled.

Slash Baguettes

Pre-heat the  oven  to 450°F.  Place a  thick  bottomed  cookie  sheet on the   middle  rack.   Let  the  cookie  sheet  heat up as  the oven gets  preheated. Place another  cookie sheet or  ovenproof   dish  on the  rack  below  it .  When    the  baguettes  have  risen   slashes  the  tops . A  sharp paring  knife  dipped  in  water   does  the  job  very well.  Spritz  some  water on the loaves and  slowly slide  the  parchment paper with the  baguettes on  to the  hot  cookie sheet –  this is  where a  rimless  baking sheet or  pizza peel comes handy.

Place a  cup of  ice  cubes on the  trey below  and  close  the  oven door .  Reduce  the  temperature to 400°F.    Bake  for  20 minutes. After  20 minutes , check   and  bake  for a  few  more  minutes  to achieve  the desired  color. . Remove  from the  oven , cool on a  rack  and  enjoy !!

Here are a  few  recipes  that  these  baguettes  are  great  with :

Preserved Lemon Tuna Salad

Hearty ChickPea And Sausage Soup

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