Baguettes Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups room temperature water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal
Directions
Combine water and yeast in a bowl and stir until yeast is dissolved. Add flour and salt and mix with dough hook on low speed until mixed. Increase to medium speed and knead till smooth and elastic, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, let rise until nearly doubled in size; about 30 minutes. Scrape onto a wooden board. Gently fold the dough over, return to bowl. Let rise 45 minutes. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Fold dough over again, pressing gently to release gas. Cut into 2 equal portions. Round each piece into a smooth ball, pinching seams together at the bottom. Cover dough and let rest, seam side down, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal. To shape baguettes, press each ball of dough into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Holding the short ends of the rectangle, lift and stretch dough until it is about 8 inches long. Fold one long side of dough toward the center, pressing seam with fingertips. Fold again in half lengthwise, using the heel of your hand to seal the edges. Roll dough under your palms into a cylinder about 18 inches long. Move your hands outward from the center of the cylinder and slightly increase the pressure as you move outward, until both ends have an even gentle taper. Transfer dough, seam side down to the baking sheet. Cover loaves and let rise until increased in volume by three-quarters, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425°. Score each loaf 5-7 times by making diagonal slashes through the outer layer of dough with a thin blade. Just before baking mist each baguette lightly with water. Bake about 30 minutes. During the first 15 minutes of baking, mist bread 1 or 2 more times with water. Loaves are done when golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks.
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