by Sarah Steimer
- 1 1/2 cups tap water, heated to 115 degrees
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
Whisk together the yeast and water in a large bowl. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy. Stir the flour in with a fork until dough forms and all the flour is absorbed. Let the dough sit for about 20 minutes so the flour may fully hydrate.
Add the salt to the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. I needed to add additional flour to my surface pretty regularly because the dough was fairly sticky. Just try not to add TOO much flour!
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a cold oven and let rest until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Working on a lightly floured surface, form the dough into an 8-inch-by-6-inch rectangle. Fold the 8-inch sides toward the middle so the edges meet. Next, fold the 6-inch sides toward the center so those edges meet. Return to the bowl, seam side down, and place in the oven for 1 hour.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a 14-inch rope. Place a piece of lightly floured parchment paper on an upside-down baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the parchment. Lift and crease the paper between the ropes to form long pleats. Place two tightly rolled kitchen towels under the long edges of the paper to support the loaves. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 50 minutes.
While the dough is rising, place a cast iron skillet on the bottom rack of the oven. Place a baking stone on the rack above the skillet. I do not have a baking stone, so I used an upside-down baking sheet instead. Pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees.
Once the oven is ready, remove the plastic wrap and towels from the dough. Flatten out the paper so the loaves are spaced out. Use a sharp knife or razor to slash the top of each loaf at a 30-degree angle in four spots, with each slash about 4 inches long. Use the edges of the parchment to carefully guide the loaves onto the hot baking stone (this is a good time to have a friend help). Place the ice cubes in the skillet so steam forms, thus allowing the loaves to rise fully before a crust forms.
Bake until the loaves are dark brown and crisp, about 30 minutes. Cool before serving.
Makes three, 14-inch baguettes.
Recipe adapted from: Saveur
*We’re loving the smell of fresh bread wafting from our ovens in February. See all of our On the Rise bread recipes here.