French Baguettes


2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 to 6 cups unbleached flour
Oil, for greasing


In a large bowl or electric mixer, sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup of warm water. Add sugar and let stand until yeast is soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in remaining 1 3/4 cups water and salt. Add 4 cups of the flour. Mix to blend, then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Gradually beat in about 1 more cup of flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a board or pastry cloth floured with some of the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup flour. Knead until dough is springy and small bubbles form just under the surface (10-15 minutes), adding just enou
Punch down dough; knead dough lightly into a ball on a floured surface. Cover with inverted bowl and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Shape each into a slender oval loaf 16 to 18 inches long by rolling the ball of dough under palms of hands to elongate it. Place well apart on a large, greased baking sheet. Let ride until puffy but not quite doubled (20 to 25 minutes). Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With a razor blade or very sharp knife make 3 diagonal slashes, about 1/2 inch deep, down center of each loaf. Before baking use an atomizer or spray bottle filled with cold water to spray with a very light mist of moisture. Place in oven, then spray twice more at 3 minute intervals. Bake until
Yield: Makes 3 loaves
SPECIAL FINISHING TIPS:Even though the natural brown surface is highly desired for these loaves, you can enhance it even further by brushing the crust with a glaze or sprinkling it with seeds, spices, or even herbs. For shine, brush with an egg wash. for a soft crust, brush with milk, buttermilk, cream, melted butter or margarine. For a sweet glaze, brush with honey or a sugar syrup. Some suggested toppings include; sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, fennel




3.0 servings


Saturday, December 19, 2009 - 11:18pm

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