Fresh Baguette

 

Ingredients:

1 Active Dry Yeast
1 Sugar
1 1/2 Water
4 – 4 1/2 Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Salt

Directions:

In a large bowl sprinkle yeast and sugar over warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
With a wooden spoon stir in 2 cups flour until combined.
Stir in salt and 2 cups of remaining flour until mixture forms a stiff dough.
On a lightly floured surface knead dough with lightly floured hands 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, kneading in enough of remaining 1/2 cup flour to keep dough from sticking.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled deep bowl, turning to coat with oil, and let rise, bowl covered with plastic wrap, until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.,
Preheat oven to 475-500°F (My oven does best with 475°, but it runs hot.
Punch down dough and form into a long slender loaf about 21 inches long and 3 inches wide.
You can also form individual mini-loaves.
Put loaf diagonally on a lightly greased large or 17 x 14-inch baking sheet and let rise, uncovered, about 30 minutes.
(Baguette may be made up to this point 4 hours ahead and chilled. Make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on loaf with a razor and lightly brush top with cool water.
Bake loaf in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped, and transfer to a rack to cool.,
Notes: For a chewy interior and perfect, crusty exterior, place a dutch oven filled with water in oven as it preheats for about an hour.
The humid enviroment will ensure the texture comes out right.
Baking stones don’t hurt either.
If you don’t want to put water into the oven, you can use a spray mister to keep the enviroment moist as it cooks.

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