Total Time
3hrs
Prep 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook 30 mins

This recipe comes from 9 months of experimentation. Bread-making is extremely temperamental, so if you substitute anything just make your own recipe and leave mine alone. With standard kitchen equipment you should be able to make the ideal baguette: Done all the way through, Crispy but not tough or scorched crust that serves as well reheated as fresh.

Directions

  1. Combine the sugar, yeast and tepid but not quite warm water.
  2. Let stand for 10 minutes if the yeast is of dubious condition, otherwise proceed.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and oil in a large bowl, add the water mixture, and stir until a ball is formed that pulls away from the side of the bowl (add flour if needed to make this happen).
  4. Sprinkle a bit of flour over the ball, a bit more flour over a board, and knead the ball for 7 minutes adding sprinkles of flour as needed to keep the ball from sticking.
  5. Lightly oil the bowl and return the ball to it, cover it with a towel and allow to rise for 90 minutes. The ball will more than double.
  6. Punch down the ball, and press it into a lightly-floured board into a roughly 7" by 18" rectangle.
  7. Fold the right and the left 1/3 of the rectangle inward, and press the seam together, and then flip the entire loaf over.
  8. Let rise for 60 minutes, while preheating the oven at 425 with a baking dish sitting in the bottom and a baking stone sitting on a rack.
  9. With a sharp knife, make 3-4 slices diagonally across the top of the loaf.
  10. Retrieve the baking stone, transfer the loaf to it, and return the stone to a middle position in the oven.
  11. Turn the oven temperature down to 375.
  12. For each of the first 4 minutes, pour a dash of water into the baking dish to make steam.
  13. After 29-30 minutes the loaf should be medium brown across the top and sound hollow when tapped.