I'm always in search of a fast bread recipe, and this baguette formula made some pretty reliable little loaves. Terrific right out of the oven, they'll keep well if tightly wrapped and frozen. Pop them into a 350 oven until they're warm and you have a terrific sandwich bread or something to go with dinner - perfect for two.
This recipe comes from The Thrifty Gourmet, and uses only 5 ingredients - pretty typical for a lean bread. These are things all pantries should have, but if you don't have bread flour, you can use all purpose flour just fine.
4 c bread flour
1 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
- Proof the yeast in 1/2 c water with the sugar.
- Mix the flour and salt together.
- Add the yeast mixture to the flour and add more warm water until the dough ball detaches from the side of the bowl.
- Knead for 8 minutes.
- Rest the dough in a covered oiled bowl for 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
- Deflate gently and knead for an additional 4 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape into baguettes.
Note: There are links to videos in the More Information section below showing how to shape baguettes.
- Place the dough on parchment paper and dust with flour. Slash the dough.
- Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes (they baguettes will be plump).
- 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- Place a roasting pan or a pie pan in the bottom rack and fill it with boiling water. This will create a steam environment for the bread crust. Alternately, you can use a spray bottle and steam the oven once you put the bread in, but you only need to steam it for the first 2 minutes (about every 30 seconds).
- When the oven is thoroughly heated, place the baguettes into the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 500. Lower the temperature to 400 and bake for an additional 20 - 25 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow.