The last time I tried to make baguettes was a little bit of a mess. I had forgotten some of the techniques I learned in pastry school, which are fairly important when making baguettes. I also didn’t have anything resembling a couche and used strategically placed ladles and towels. Needless to say, that was an inadequate replacement and I ended up with more of a loaf than a baguette. My baking challenge group decided on baguette week, which was a good redemption opportunity. I got a couche and watched some youtube videos, and was super happy with how these turned out.
Here is a rough timing breakdown so you can pace appropriately. It will vary a little bit but should give you a decent sense of how long things will take. The active working steps are in bold.
5 minutes: combine ingredients
20 minutes: combine ingredients
1 hour: proof
5 minutes: punch down dough
30 minutes: rest
5-10 minutes: stretch and tighten
20 minutes: rest
5-10 minutes: shape baguettes
45 minutes: proof
20 minutes: bake (400 F)
- 170 g bread flour (poolish)
- 170 mL water (poolish)
- 1 g fresh yeast (poolish)
- 420 g bread flour
- 12 fresh yeast
- 250 mL water
- 12 g salt
- 5 g malt syrup
- On day one, combine the poolish ingredients by hand. Cover, and let ferment at room temperature for 10 – 15 hours.
- On day two, create a flour fountain with the yeast, poolish, and water inside. Mix together until gluten is developed, and create a boule. Allow to rest until doubled in size.
- Mix together using the “punch down” technique (scoop from right side, throw down, stretch, fold, repeat) until the gluten is developed. Allow to rest for another half hour.
- Form the dough into a rectangle, and stretch and tighten into a log shape. Let rest for 20 minutes.
- Stretch and tighten the dough again, and roll into a baguette shape.
- Place into a linen roll to hold shape until doubled.
- Put slices into top of baguette
- Bake at ~400 F with steam
- Here is a useful video on shaping baguettes
- I ended up using 3 g of instant dry yeast to adjust for altitude
- I used ovaltine instead of malt syrup