Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Artisan Baguettes with Sourdough Option

This recipe comes from my good friend Anna - I can always count on her for a great recipe and this bread is awesome! I made it as she had it written and it was great, so I thought maybe it would be a good base to try the Sourdough Powder I bought over the summer at Shar's - it was delicious and a perfect accompaniment to the potato leek soup. Thanks again Anna!

-Anna Hampton

Plan about 3 1/2 hours start to finish.

1 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
3 1/4 to 3 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp Sourdough Powder (for sourdough version)
1 1/2 t. kosher salt

1.  Combine yeast and water to soften.

2.  Mix in flour with a fork until combined.  Cover for 20 minutes to hydrate flour.

3.  Knead in the salt until dough is soft and smooth, about 10 minutes.  Let rise for 45 minutes.

4.  Punch dough down and shape into a large rectangle.  Fold in thirds like a letter.  Fold again, folding in the ends to form a square shape.  Place in a covered bowl and and let rise for 45 minutes.

5.  Remove dough and divide into three equal sections.  Roll into long snakes. (Resurrect your playdoh skills from your childhood.)  Place your baguettes on parchment paper and cover with a tea towel to rise.  Let rise for 45 minutes (don't rush this step).  In the meantime, place a large baking stone on the middle rack and a cast iron skillet on the lower rack of your oven.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

6.  Use a sharp knife to slash each baguette.  Use a pizza peel to transfer your baguettes to the baking stone.  Place a cup of ice in the cast iron skillet.  (This will create steam.) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (30 minutes if making two baguettes).  Your baguettes should be golden and crispy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside.

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