Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Baguette with almost no kneading

This recipe is a simplification on "Pain a l'Ancienne" from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, a fantastic volume by Peter Reinhart.

The night before, combine
  • 6 cups white flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp instant yeast

The amounts actually matter, although not hugely. Mix briefly with the paddle, and, with the paddle running on low, add
  • 2 1/4 cup cold water

When flour has been complete hydrated, move dough to a gallon-sized ziplock freezer bag, close, and stick in the back of the fridge overnight.

Then next day, set the oven to preheat 500°F, and set in a baking stone if you don't have a baguette rack. On a floured surface, turn out dough and divide into thirds. Shape into loaves. When oven is hot, set in a shallow pan with an inch of boiling water. Slash the loaves and transfer to oven, turning down the temperature to 475°F.

After 10 minutes, rotate loaves 180°, and bake another 15-20, checking regularly. Bread is done when crusts start to turn golden.

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