French Baguettes

From The Culinary Couple | Source Chef Matt Finarelli

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tsp (1 packet) instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp lukewarm water (105°F)
  • 21 oz bread flour (4 3/4 cups)
  • 1 oz whole wheat flour (1/4 cup)
  • 1 oz rye flour (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt

Directions

  1. Combine yeast and water in a stand mixer bowl. Hand whisk until yeast dissolves and let sit for ~3 minutes.
  2. Add flours and salt, then mix with dough hook for ~6 minutes. Let dough rest, uncovered, for ~5 minutes.
  3. Transfer dough to lightly floured board and knead by hand for 2 minutes, or until dough is smooth.
  4. Transfer to lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly and let sit for 2 to 3 hours until dough doubles in size.
  5. Transfer back to lightly floured board and divide in half. Shape into long loaves by gently rolling dough back and forth.
  6. Place onto floured baking stone/pan, spray loaves with oil, cover with damp towel, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 450°F during the last 15 minutes of rise.
  7. Brush or spray loaves with water, then score loaves with 1/2-inch diagonal cuts.
  8. Add 1 cup of water to a pan set on bottom rack to create steam which will keep bread nice and moist.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes, spray with more water, then turn the pan and bake for another 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Remove, let cool on wire rack, slice, and savor the deliciousness.

Nick's Notes
Weighing flour with a scale is much more precise than using measuring cups. Flour compacts and can lead to significant variability in the amount of flour used, unless it is measured by weight. Scales are inexpensive, roughly $15 to $20, just be sure it measures in increments of at least 1/2 oz. EatSmart is a good brand.

Proofing can decrease your rise times significantly (nearly in half)! You can use your oven to create a makeshift proofing box in your home. Turn your oven to 350°F for 1 to 2 minutes, then turn it off, and place covered bowl of dough in oven. This creates a warm, draft-free environment for a rapid increase in yeast fermentation that accelerates the rising process.

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