Dinner Baguettes

Published March 1, 2000.

Why this recipe works:

For a baguette recipe that was worth making at home, we found that starting with a sponge the day before baking gave us the best flavor and texture. A wet dough gave us the lightest, most bubbly crumb. And a technique called “crashing” helped us knead without adding too much flour.

For a baguette recipe that was worth making at home, we found that starting with a sponge the day before baking gave us the best flavor and texture. A wet dough gave us the lightest, most bubbly crumb. And a technique called “crashing” helped us knead without adding too much flour.

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Makes two 15 by 3-inch baguettes

For this recipe you will need an instant-read thermometer, a scale, a lame or a single edge razor blade, a rectangular pizza stone, and a spray bottle filled with water. We prefer SAF instant or Perfect Rise yeast, but other instant dry yeasts work as well. For the sponge, the ideal ambient temperature is 75 degrees; if it is cooler, fermentation will take longer. The altered rising times in this version help get the baguettes on the table at the same time as dinner. The related recipe will yield baguettes for breakfast. In either case, begin the recipe the day before you intend to serve the bread; the baguettes will emerge from the oven 20 to 24 hours after you start the sponge. Do not add flour while kneading or shaping the dough. The baguettes are best served within 2 hours after baking.

Ingredients

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