By Cat, May 2014 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Includes: 1. William Courderot’s French Baguette; 2. Poolish Baguette; 3. Whole Wheat Baguettes
I’m collecting online baguette recipes to try, copying them in case the original site is lost, but I have not yet adapted them to use my preferences for ingredients or methods. I have not yet tried any of these recipes.
William Courderot’s French Baguette
This recipe is from The Fresh Loaf (1).
- 1 kg white bread flour
- 650 g water
- 20 g (about 3 ½ tsp) salt
- 20 g (about 5 tsp) yeast (I assume this is dry active yeast)
Mix all ingredients in stand mixer fitted with dough hook until smooth. Let rest for an hour and a half.
Flour your prep area and separate dough into 3 equal pieces. Generously flour a linen cloth. Gently fold the dough over itself and roll while pushing the dough outwards until it becomes a long snake. Notice how little Courderot handles the dough as he forms it into baguettes. Don’t handle the dough more than you have to. Place the baguettes on your floured linen cloth, cradling each loaf in fabric so they don’t touch one another. Leave to rest for one hour.
Preheat oven to 550°F (or as high as your oven will go).
Use a new razor blade or very sharp knife to score the bread with evenly distributed diagonal marks, about 4-5 scores per loaf. Fill a cast iron pan with ice water and place it on the bottom rack of your oven. This helps keep a good amount of moisture in the oven while the bread bakes. Place the baguettes in the oven for 20-30minutes or until they are crusty and brown. When they’re done, let them cool on a rack for 10 minutes or so before you break bread.
This recipe is from The Fresh Loaf (2), by ‘JMonkey’ and adapted from “Bread” by Jeffrey Hammelman. Makes 3 baguettes.
A Poolish is a pre-ferment or sponge typically made with all of the water and ⅓ – ½ of the flour the night before and allowed to rest overnight.
- White flour: 100%
- Water: 66%
- Salt: 2%
- Instant yeast: 0.36%
- 33% of the flour is pre-fermented as a poolish at 100% hydration with .07% yeast
- White flour: 160 grams or 1.25 cups
- Water: 160 grams or ½ cup + 3 Tbs
- Instant yeast: Just an eeny-weeny pinch (about 1/32 of a tsp)
- All of the poolish
- White flour: 320 grams oz or 2.5 cups
- Water: 160 gram or ½ cup + 3 Tbs
- Salt: 9 grams or 1.25 tsp
- Instant yeast: 1 to 2 grams or 1/2 + 1/8 tsp
Pre-ferment (the night before)
- The night before, dissolve the yeast into the water for the poolish, and then mix in the flour. Cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 12-16 hours. Once the poolish has bubbles breaking on top and has started to wrinkle, it’s ready. It’ll also smell really nice – sweet and nutty. Mmmm.
Mixing and dough development
- For the final dough, measure out the water and pour it into the poolish to loosen it up. Then pour the entire mixture into a bowl. Mix together the salt, yeast and flour, and then add it to the bowl as well. Mix it all up with a spoon and, once everything is hydrated, knead it the traditional way, until it passes the windowpane test. Cover and let it ferment for two hours, giving it a stretch-and-fold at the one hour mark.
- If you’re making baguettes, divide the dough into three pieces, and pre-shape into rounds. Cover and let them rest about 20 minutes. Then shape into baguettes about 12 inches longg and cover, letting them rise for about 1 hour to 90 minutes.
Score and bake on a preheated stone in a 460 degree oven with steam for about 25 minutes.
If you want to make a round or a batard, you’ll need to bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.
Whole Wheat Baguettes
This is from King Arthur Flour (3). Like the Poolish recipe above, it uses a poolish or pre-ferment but they call it a ‘Starter.’ And it makes 3 baguette loaves.
It uses a 50-50 mix of white whole wheat flour (hard wheat) and unbleached white flour, which is what I would like to try. However, it calls for instant yeast, and I would use regular dry active yeast; I provide both amounts, based on The Traditional Oven’s Yeast Converter (by Type). The conversion for 1/16 tsp instant yeast indicates equivalence of 0.09 tsp active yeast, which is impossible to measure; so I converted to grams as follows: 1/16 tsp instant yeast = 0.2 grams instant yeast = 0.27 g active dry yeast
Similarly, the ¼ tsp instant yeast added in the dough step is ~ ⅜ tsp active yeast; or in grams as follows: ¼ tsp instant yeast = 0.79 grams instant yeast = 1.06 g active dry yeast
- 1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
- ½ cup cool water
- pinch (about 1/16 teaspoon) instant yeast or 0.27 g active dry yeast
- all of the starter (above)
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- ¼ cup room temperature orange juice*
- 1 ¼ cups White Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 ¼ cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast or 1.07 g active dry yeast
*Orange juice tempers the flavor of whole wheat, without adding any orange flavor of its own; but substitute water, if desired.
- Mix the starter ingredients in a small (2- to 3-cup) bowl, cover the bowl, and let rest overnight at room temperature.
Dough (next day)
- Combine all of the dough ingredients, including the starter, in a large mixing bowl or the bucket of your bread machine. Mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a dough that’s cohesive, but whose surface is still a bit rough. If you’re using a bread machine, cancel the machine after about 7 minutes of kneading.
- Cover dough, and let it rise for 3 – 4 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over once each hour; this helps oxygenate the dough (for the sake of the yeast), and redistributes the yeast.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly greased or floured work surface, and divide it into three pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap or the cover of your choice (I would use oiled parchment), and let them rest for 15 minutes.
- Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large (13″ x 18″) baking sheet.
Shape & First Rise
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again.
- With the seam side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 16″ to 17″ log. Place it on the prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, spacing them evenly lengthwise on the baking sheet
- Cover the loaves with heavily greased plastic wrap (or oiled parchment), tenting it over them gently. Allow them to rise for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes gently remove the plastic wrap, grease it again, and re-cover the loaves. Again, drape the plastic gently; you don’t want to anchor it to the sides of the pan.
- Refrigerate the loaves overnight. [Cat’s NOTE: I think one could also freeze them at this stage.]
Third Day: Bake
- Let the loaves rest at room temperature, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of their rising time, preheat your oven to 425°F and arrange rack in middle of oven.
- Uncover the loaves. Spritz them with warm water, and make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes in each, if desired; this will help the baguettes rise more evenly, but if you’re afraid of slashing, that’s OK. Also, if you do slash, the loaves may start to deflate alarmingly; they’ll be fine if you get them into the oven ASAP, so don’t dawdle.
- Place the pan on a middle oven rack, and bake the baguettes for 18 minutes. Tent lightly with foil, and bake for an additional 5 – 10 minutes, until they’re a deep, golden brown, and their sides and bottom are hard/crisp, not soft/spongy.
- Remove the baguettes from the oven. Turn the oven off, crack it open a couple of inches, and place the baguettes on the oven rack (without the pan) to cool; this will increase their crisp crustiness.
- Serve baguettes the same day they’re made, if possible. If not, store loosely wrapped (not sealed) in plastic; just before serving, heat in a preheated 350°F oven, tented with foil, until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
- The Fresh Loaf, Traditional French Baguettes (thefreshloaf.com/node/30633/traditional-french-baguettes)
- The Fresh Loaf, Poolish Baguettes (thefreshloaf.com/handbook/poolish-baguettes)
- King Arthur Flour, Whole Wheat Baguettes (kingarthurflour.com/recipes/whole-wheat-baguettes-recipe)