Whilst browsing the interwebs for food inspiration the other day I found a brilliant recipe for 4- Hour Baguettes. I was on the lovely Food52 site, which, if you’re a foodie is a playground for the tastebuds. Go there now! No, seriously, go.
Anyway, this baguette recipe promised to be easy and required at the very most intermittent spurts of attention paid to the dough with the results being perfectly delicious freshly baked bread. My kind of recipe! And this one certainly did not dissapoint…
Dan Leader’s Four Hour Baguettes
The original recipe can be found: here
(Recipe makes 3 baguettes, When I baked mine I actually halved the recipe and made two smaller sized loaves)
- 1 1/2 cup (12 ounces) tap water, heated to 115 degrees F
- 1 teaspoon (1/8 ounce) active dry yeast
- 3 1/4 cup (14 2/3 ounce) all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons (3/8 ounce) kosher salt
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- oil for the bowl
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the water and yeast. Allow the yeast to bloom in the water for 10 minutes, it should be nice and foamy. Add the flour to the yeast and water and begin to mix gently with a fork. When the dough has formed and all the flour has been absorbed, let dough sit to allow the flour to hydrate, 20 minutes.
Add the salt, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic. Place dough into an oiled bowl, turning to coat, cover with plastic wrap and park in a microwave or a cold oven until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Remove the doubled dough from the oven and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Pat the dough down into an 8″ by 6″ rectangle. Fold the 8″ inch sides into the middle, then fold the 6″ sides into the middle, as though folding a T-shirt. Place the dough, seam side down, back into the bowl, recover with the plastic wrap and park it back into the oven for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F and place a cast iron skillet onto the bottom rack and either a baking stone or a rimless baking sheet on the top rack. If you don’t have a rimless baking sheet, you can simply place a baking sheet upside down onto your oven rack. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into three equal pieces; shape each piece into a 14-inch rope.
Flour a sheet of parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet; place ropes, evenly spaced, on paper. Lift paper between ropes to form pleats; place two tightly rolled kitchen towels under long edges of paper, creating supports for the loaves. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let sit until it doubles in size, about 50 minutes.
Uncover; remove towels, and flatten paper to space out loaves. Using a sharp razor, knife, bread lame, or scissors, slash the top of each baguette at a 30–degree angle in four spots; each slash should be about 4 inches long. Pull out the oven rack with the stone or baking sheet on it and, using the corner of the parchment paper as a guide, slide the loaves, still on the parchment paper, onto the baking stone or pan. Place ice cubes in skillet (this produces steam that lets the loaves rise fully before a crust forms). Bake the baguettes until darkly browned and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes; cool before serving.
Here is a picture of my second attempt at baking this recipe! Turned out perfect again, this truly is a genius recipe!