Simple Baguette Recipe - crispy on the inside, with a chewy crumb and large holes this recipe is sure a keeper!
Dissolve 1 tbsp dry instant yeast with 1 cup warm water, then add 1 cup flour and mix until no flour is seen. Allow to proof in warm, draft free place for 1 hour or until the surface is covered with bubbles that are slowly popping.
Mix: Dissolve 2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp honey in water and add to the risen poolish. Add the flour to a large bowl or a bowl of a mixer, then add the poolish with the water from the step above.
Knead: Quickly stir to combine, then knead by hand or with a mixer fitted with a dough hook until the dough is tacky to touch and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl (~10-15 min).
Proof: Form a ball and place into a well oiled bowl to proof. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place in a warm, draft free place like the oven with the oven light on for about 1.5 - 2 hours or until the dough is doubled in size. This might take more or less time depending on the temperature of the house and yeast's freshness.
Prepare the baking sheet for proofing:
Use a large cookie sheet or an upside down baking sheet pan.
Dust a couche (baker's linen fabric for proofing) with flour and prepare it for the shaped baguettes. If you do not have a couch I Set a parchment paper on top and dust with flour.
Preheat and prep: preheat oven to 450 F with a baking stone or baking steel on the middle rack.
Also, fill a spray bottle with water. Place a 9"x12" baking pan (not glass) with 2 cups of hot water on the bottom of the oven.
Invert the dough onto well floured surface and divide into 3 equal pieces.
Preshape: Stretch the dough by pulling on the right side of the dough up and out until slight resistance then folding it over the dough, then repeat with the other 3 sides. Turn it upside down and allow the dough to relax for about 10-20 minutes, covered.
Final shape: Stretch the dough into a rectangle, then roll into a log stopping to press down and seal the rotations with the side of your palm as you keep rolling to shape a taught roll. Then pinch the end to seal. Stretch and roll the roll until about 18 inches long or as long as your baking sheet is.
Transfer to a flour dusted parchment paper lined 12"x18" baking sheet.
Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough to form 3 baguettes and space the shaped baguettes evenly.
Proof: Sprinkle the shaped baguettes with flour and losely cover with a tea towel. Allow to proof for another 40 minutes or until the baguettes have roughly doubled in size. When you press a floured finger into the dough about 1/2 inch deep the indentation should fill back slowly, still leaving a small indent.
Score: Right before placing in the oven make 3 slashes diagonally along each baguette with a sharp serrated knife. This will help to control the expansion of the dough in the oven.
Bake: Place the baguettes in the preheated oven and quickly spray the sides of the hot oven about 4 times to create steam. Shut the oven door quickly so that the steam doesn't escape and the oven doesn't cool down too much.
Bake for 7 minutes, then quickly spray the oven with cold water again. Shut the oven door quickly and lower the temperature to 380F and bake for another 25 minutes or until deep golden color or once the internal temp is 190F.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
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