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Make DoughRinse stand mixer bowl with hot water. Combine warm water with sugar and instant yeast. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to bloom (to check that the yeast is active). Add flour and sprinkle over salt. Stir to form ragged dough.
Knead & ProofRamp up to speed slowly to speed 4 (or max speed for your machine to knead without rocking or burning out) and run 10 minutes. If working manually, knead dough with oiled hands to prevent sticking. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and rest 30 minutes.
Uncover and repeat kneading at speed 4 for 10 minutes.
If working manually, press the air pockets out of the dough and knead again until it is very smooth and elastic. Let it rest a few minutes and conduct a windowpane test. That is, you should be able to stretch the dough gently until it is thin enough you can see light through it without breaking.
Shape into a ball and cover. Proof in a warm, draft-free location for 60 minutes until the dough has doubled to tripled in size.
Divide and ShapePress gas pockets out of the risen dough, weigh and divide into 6 even pieces. Press gas bubbles out of each piece and shape into a ball.
Set a kettle of water to boil; you will use 2 cups plus 100ml later.
Starting with the dough ball you made first, roll it flat with a rolling pin. Dust with flour to prevent excessive sticking.
Starting with one short side, roll dough up while tapering the sides to create a baguette shape. Pinch along the seam to seal. Then roll it to smooth the seam and lengthen the baguette. Arch hands so the baguette stays thicker in the middle, sloping to points towards the ends.
Place shaped baguettes on non-stick baguette pan with the seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap(*see notes) to prevent drying out. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Steam Oven ProofWith the oven OFF, place a metal quarter baking pan on the bottom rack. Fill with 2 cups of hot water, just off the boil. Place the covered baguette pan on the middle rack and close the door. Proof for 45 minutes.
Afterwards, remove the baguette pan, baking pan and empty the water. Start preheating oven to 475°F. Meanwhile, sharpen your knife and prepare spray bottle of water.
Slash and BakeWhen your oven has reached 475°F, carefully uncover your risen baguettes which will be doubled in size. Also turn the kettle back on.
Mist baguettes and blade with water. Holding the knife at a 30° angle, make slashes about 1 cm deep (little less than 1/2") down the length of each baguette.
Carefully, place the metal quarter baking pan back on the bottom rack and pour in 100ml hot water, just off the boil. Place the slashed baguettes on the middle rack, spray a few more times with water and close the door. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the baguettes become golden brown.
Cool before slicing. Store at room temperature for up to a day. Bag if keeping longer and store in fridge. Revive stored baguettes by toasting in air fryer / oven with a few tablespoons of water until hot and crisp again.