Baugette

method

  1. Plan on making the poolish 20 to 24 hours before you hope to be eating your baguettes. Stir the water, bread flour, wheat flour and yeast together to make a sloppy, thick paste. Place this mixture in a bowl or other glass container with a volume of at least 2 cups (500 mL) and cover the top of the bowl/glass with plastic wrap (do not seal with a lid). Let this starter sit on the counter for about 18 hours—it will be bubbly and squidgy-looking by that time.
  2. For the dough, add the bread flour, whole wheat flour, water, yeast and all of the poolish to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment (do not add the salt at this point). Mix at low speed for about 90 seconds until combined, then turn off the mixer and let sit for 15 minutes, uncovered. (If mixing by hand, combine the ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly combined, then let rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes.)
  3. Add the salt and mix at low speed for 30 seconds (you may have to stop the mixer and pull the dough off the hook once or twice). Increase the speed to medium or medium-high (if your mixer can take it) and mix for 2 minutes (3 if at medium) until the dough feels elastic and springy. (If making by hand, turn the dough out onto a work surface, sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead it until it starts feeling elastic, about 3 minutes. Try to avoid adding extra flour—as you knead, the dough will feel less sticky.)
  4. Transfer the dough to a large ungreased bowl and cover the top of the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise on the counter for 2 hours, knocking it down after the first hour, until it has doubled in size.
  5. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it in half (or thirds if making three smaller baguettes). Knock each piece of dough to deflate it and shape each into a ball (keeping your hands on your work surface, spin the dough around to create the ball shape). Cover the dough with a tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and sprinkle it with flour or cornmeal. To shape each baguette, flip a ball of dough over so the top becomes the bottom, and flatten the dough out into a circle (width isn’t important—just that it is deflated). Use your thumbs to start folding the circle over itself from the top, spiraling toward you. Once rolled, use the palms of your lightly floured hands (never your fingertips) to roll and stretch the dough out into a baguette as long as your baking tray. Set each baguette seam side down on the tray. Cover the tray with a tea towel and let the baguettes rest until doubled, just over 30 minutes.
  7. Set two oven racks in the middle and lower half of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Place a shallow metal pan or loaf pan on the lower rack. Just before putting the baguettes in the oven, fill the pan with ½ inch (1.2 cm) of boiling water. Score the baguettes, using a very sharp knife or a box cutter blade to make five equally spaced incisions on an angle down each baguette.
  8. Spray the top of the baguettes with cool water, place them in the oven and quickly spray water inside the oven for about 10 seconds. Quickly shut the oven door. After 5 minutes, crack open the oven door and spray water inside again, then shut the door right away. Bake the baguettes for a total of about 30 minutes, until they are a rich golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  9. Transfer the baguettes to a cooling rack to cool before slicing. They will make a crackling sound as they cool, but try and wait at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Notes:
If using the LG Airy Fry feature, the amplified air circulation and increased heat will ensure professional-level baguettes with a super-crispy crust yet fluffy soft interior.

Adapted from Baking Day with Anna Olson, Appetite by Random House, 2020.