Yield: Yields 6 mini baguettes.
If you’ve been intimidated by the thought of baking bread, take heart: It’s not hard, especially if you consider this: First, it’s okay to “cheat” by working the dough in a stand mixer. Professional bakers do it all the time. Second, make it mini. This recipe yields six baguettes; that’s six opportunities to practice your technique and get it right.
For best results, weigh the flour and water. This dough is very sticky, so when working with it, lightly flour your fingers and use only as much flour as you need to keep it from sticking to the work surface. If the dough sticks, use a plastic bowl scraper to loosen it and lightly flour the work surface.
Remove the dough from the work surface, using the bowl scraper to loosen it if necessary, and put it seam side down in a medium bowl. Cover with a linen or other flat-weave towel and let the dough rest in a draft-free spot until roughly doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Line a large (17-1/2 x 13-inch) rimmed baking sheet with a linen or other flat-weave towel and generously flour the entire surface of the towel.
Using the bowl scraper, scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface, smooth top side down. Fold one side of the dough into the middle and press down firmly along the length of the seam. Fold in the opposite side and press again firmly along the length of the seam, forming a rectangle. Turn the dough over so the smooth side is up. With the bowl scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces by making one lengthwise and two crosswise cuts. Weigh them; they should each be about 4-3/4 oz. Equal them out by cutting a bit off the heavier pieces and tucking it under the lighter pieces.
Make a line of flour on your work surface to dredge the baguettes. Working with one piece of dough at a time, put it smooth side down on a lightly floured work surface.
Repeat with the remaining dough, setting the baguettes on the towel with a fold separating them. Cover with a linen or other flat-weave towel and let sit until roughly doubled in size, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
While the dough sits, position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F (if you have a convection oven, use it). Have ready a small spray bottle of water.
Generously sprinkle two heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets (with or without sides) with semolina. When the baguettes are ready, carefully transfer them to the baking sheets with your hands, arranging 3 lengthwise per sheet. With a thin, very sharp knife, make 4 to 5 slashes on a sharp diagonal, 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep, on the tops of each baguette.
Open the oven and quickly spray about 10 squirts of water into the bottom and sides of the oven to make steam. Put the baguettes in the oven, spray again into the bottom and sides of the oven, and quickly close the door to trap the steam. Reduce the oven temperature to 475°F. Bake the baguettes for 6 minutes and then quickly turn them over on their baking sheets. Swap the sheets’ positions and bake for another 5 minutes.
Remove the baguettes from their baking sheets and put them scored side up directly on the oven racks (if making the baguettes ahead, don’t return them to the oven; see the box below). Bake until the baguettes are dark golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Make Ahead Tips
You can par-bake the baguettes for the first 11 minutes, cool them completely, and freeze for up to one month. To finish them, bake the frozen baguettes directly on the oven racks in a 450°F oven until dark golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Once your baguettes are shaped and proofed, you can create an épi—the classic, wheat stalk-shaped variant—with just a few snips of some scissors.
We tested this recipe with grocery store bread flour—King Arthur and Gold Medal brands worked fine. Artisan bread flours may have a higher protein content, which can cause them to absorb more water. If you want to experiment with them, feel free—just note that you might need to add more water to the dough than this recipe requires.To get dough off your fingers, just rub them together with a little flour over the sink or garbage can.Want to see this in action? Check out our video on how to shape baguettes.
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OMG! I just finished and tasted the mini baguettes and I only wish I had made more!!! Only fault to mention, my knife trolled me and didn't get to ninja- slash them adequetely... Thanks a bunch for a brilliant, easy-to-do recipe!!!
I reduced the yeast to 2t and increased the water an extra 1T as i am at altitude also added a table spoon of gluten to my unbleached organic regular flour. They turned out great. I am going to try them as 2 larger loaves next time. They are hard to handle after second rise without deflating so we will see.
I had never made bread before but tries this recipe on a whim. Definitely the best break I've ever had! Thanks for the great recipe!
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