1 (1/4 ounce) packet
active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups
( 105 -115 F)
4 -4 1/2 cups
unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons
- In a large bowl sprinkle yeast and sugar over warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- With a wooden spoon stir in 2 cups flour until combined.
- Stir in salt and 2 cups of remaining flour until mixture forms a stiff dough.
- On a lightly floured surface knead dough with lightly floured hands 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, kneading in enough of remaining 1/2 cup flour to keep dough from sticking.
- Transfer dough to a lightly oiled deep bowl, turning to coat with oil, and let rise, bowl covered with plastic wrap, until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 475-500°F (My oven does best with 475°, but it runs hot).
- Punch down dough and form into a long slender loaf about 21 inches long and 3 inches wide.
- You can also form individual mini-loaves.
- Put loaf diagonally on a lightly greased large or 17 x 14-inch baking sheet and let rise, uncovered, about 30 minutes.
- (Baguette may be made up to this point 4 hours ahead and chilled.) Make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on loaf with a razor and lightly brush top with cool water.
- Bake loaf in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped, and transfer to a rack to cool.
- Notes: For a chewy interior and perfect, crusty exterior, place a dutch oven filled with water in oven as it preheats for about an hour.
- The humid enviroment will ensure the texture comes out right.
- Baking stones don't hurt either.
- If you don't want to put water into the oven, you can use a spray mister to keep the enviroment moist as it cooks.