Quick and easy breads are my absolute favorites. They’re probably my husband’s favorites too, but mostly because they don’t make me in a bad mood. Sometimes I just get straight up mad when baking. Not all the time. Only when it doesn’t feel effortless. Which is… well… the majority of the time.
Like when I was making Sourdough crisp bread. That took forever. Who wants to stand inside on one of the few sunny days in Seattle? I think getting mad was pretty justified.
Or do you remember the Rosemary grissinis, and the Fennel and garlic grissinis? I rolled out hundreds of them, and the more I rolled, the angrier I got. My hands were honestly flaming red and sore from all the rolling. Jeez. It’s not like I get money for doing it. Thank god I don’t stay mad for long, my blood pressure would probably go through the roof.
This recipe is definitely a keeper.
This is exactly why you will want to make these baguettes. They won’t make you mad. Not at all. On the contrary, actually. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself jumping up and down, crying tears of joy.
Okay, okay… They’re not magical. But hands down, they’re the best homemade baguettes I’ve ever had. They have holes in them! Like real baguettes. And they have a blistered crust. Just saying.
Holes! Giant holes!
So what do you have to do? Pretty much nothing. Just let the dough ferment in the fridge a few days and the yeast will work its own wonders. You just wait and see. It will be amazing.
Baguettes with heaps of air
Total time: 1 hour to make the dough. Then another 2-4 days to let the dough ferment in the fridge. Finally 3-4 hours to shape and bake the baguettes. Makes 4 baguettes.
Recipe adapted from Karen’s Kitchen Stories.
- 1.25 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups filtered water (450g, or 15.9 oz, not fluid!)
- ¾ tbsp sea salt
- 567 g (20 oz) bread flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Recipe yields four magical baguettes.
Activate the yeast in warm water according to the instructions on the package. Add the rest of the water, salt and bread flour, and mix to a dough. Let the dough rest in the bowl 5 minutes, then mix in the olive oil, working the dough for about 1 minute. Put the dough in a new, lightly oiled bowl and let it rest 10 minutes. Take out the dough on a lightly oiled surface. Give it one stretch and fold treatment (carefully stretch it out to a square, then fold the top of the dough over the bottom, the bottom over the top, left over right, right over left). Put the dough back in the bowl, seam side down. Let it rest 10 minutes and then repeat the process three times, for a total of four stretch and fold treatments. Let the dough rest 10 minutes in between each treatment. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough ferment in the fridge 2-4 days (I took out mine on the third).
Dip in soup, eat them as they are, or make a luxurious sandwich with them.
Take out the bowl from the fridge and leave it in room temperature for 3 hours. You can leave the plastic wrap on. Tip out the dough carefully on a lightly oiled surface. Cut it in four pieces. Carefully stretch them into rectangles, then fold them in thirds (like I did here with the dough for the croissants). Place them on a lightly oiled parchment paper and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest 1 hour. Gently stretch and fold them again, and put the plastic wrap back on. Let rest 1 hour. Fold them in thirds a third time (put the plastic wrap back on), turn on the oven (to 500°F) and let them rest until the oven is warm.
Preheat the oven to 500 °F. Lightly dust the dough with some flour on the top side. Pick up one piece, and gently drag it out to a long baguette while at the same time twisting it a few laps. Place the twisted baguettes on greased oven trays. Put the bread in the oven and throw in ½ cup of water on the bottom. Quickly shut the oven so the steam doesn’t escape. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 450°F and bake another 10-15 minutes, until the baguettes are golden brown.
Let cool on a rack, then get right to work and eat them all!
Spring is coming, why not bring them on the first picnic of the year?
I like to cut my baguettes slightly on the diagonal, to get the same look they often have at restaurants.