Homemade French Baguettes

My son, Zac
surprised us on Sunday by making this delicious Baguette. He had tried to make
it the Sunday before but wasn’t happy by the taste or appearance. This time it
was great!


 2 envelopes dry active yeast
2 tablespoons honey
3 ½ to 4 cups flour
2 teaspoon salt
Oil, for greasing
the bowl
Cornmeal, for
dusting the pan
3 to 4 ice cubes
Combine the honey,
yeast and ½ cup warm water. Stir to combine and let the mixture stand until the
yeast is activated and begins to foam, about 5 minutes.
Mix the flour and
salt in a large mixing bowl with a dough hook and slowly add in the yeast
mixture. Gradually add 1 cup warm water and mix until the dough comes together
into a ball that is not too wet (you may not need all of the water). If the
dough is sticky, add a little bit more flour. Turn out the dough onto a floured
surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. 2 to 6 minutes. You can
do the thumbprint test; press in the dough with your thumb and it should bounce
back when it’s ready.
Form the dough into
a ball, and place it in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a dishcloth, so it
doesn’t dry out. Let rest in a warm place until it double in size, it takes
about 25 to 30 minutes.
Punch down the dough
and divide it in half. Shape into 2 baguettes by making a flat rectangle out of
your dough, then folding the top and bottom towards the middle, like an
envelope, and sealing the seam with your fingers. Keep repeating the folding
and sealing, stretching the rectangle lengthwise as you go, until its about 12
to 14 inches long and 2 inches wide. Fold and seal either end to round. Flip
seam-side down and place on a sheet pan that has been dusted with cornmeal. Make
slits on the tops of the loaves, (about ½ inch deep), cover with a dishcloth
and let rise in a warm place in your kitchen, until they have doubled in size,
about 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450
degrees. Place an oven safe (non glass) bowl or pan on the bottom rack.
When your bread has
doubled for the second time, remove the towel and quickly and simultaneously
slide the sheet tray with the baguettes onto the middle rack with carefully
putting the ice cubes into the bowl. The ice will create a burst of steam that
will give you a nice crispy crust. Quickly shut the oven door so no steam will
escape. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Note: if you have a
glass window on your oven, place a towel over it when throwing the ice in, how
glass can shatter if ice touches it.



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