Eureka! I feel so proud typing this post because I was finally successful in making a baguette. I had looked up recipes in several places many times before but with not much luck. And rightfully I have to give credit to Chef John from Food wishes.com for his video. The spraying technique with a spray bottle is what helped I think. The proportion of flour and water that I ended up with is a little different though from his since I felt I had to add more water for the dough to come about. I also reduced the salt.
This recipe makes 2 medium size loaves. One important thing here is that this bread dough needs at least 10 to 12 hours to rise hence planning ahead is important. Since I wanted to make this for dinner I made the dough early in the morning about 7 AM and the baguette was baked and ready by 7 PM!.
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 cup water
3/4 tsp salt
Take a large mixing bowl and add the water, the salt and the yeast. Mix well with a fork. To this add the flour slowly and mix with a wooden spoon or a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) to form a dough. Dough will be slightly sticky. Cover with a plastic wrap and a towel and keep in a warm place for about 8 to 10 hours.
After 8-10 hours, the dough would have risen to about 1.5 times original.
Take the baking tray in which you will be baking the bread and line with foil and sprinkle with cornmeal and flour.
Then cut the dough into 2 halves and shape each half into a long baguette shape by pulling on the edges. Place these onto the tray.
Next take a pair of kitchen scissors and snip the tops or make cuts (just like in a baguette) on the surface. The cut edges should not be poking up too much and remember to press them down. Now cover these again with plastic and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour. But before you wrap the plastic first flour the side touching the bread to prevent sticking.
Pre-heat oven to 550 deg F. On the bottom rack, place a large deep vessel with water.
After 1 hour, take the plastic wrap out and place the tray with the baguettes in the upper rack of oven (over the steaming water below) to bake at 550 deg F for about 15-18 minutes. But most important part – this is what I learnt from Chef John – Keep a spray bottle filled with water ready by your side. After every 5 minutes, get the tray out and spray a mist over the surface of the baguettes and slide the tray back in.
After you do this about 3 times , the surface of the baguette will start to look the golden brown and that’s when you know its done. Oh what perfection! So time to get the baguettes out of the oven. And when you slice them, you will see nice large holes in the bread – exactly what you were hoping for.! Once you can stop admiring your work of art, you can enjoy it with some warm soup or just with some butter. Utterly Butterly delicious!
Notes: For the spray bottle I used a plant water sprayer that I had with me which I had bought from IKEA.