Classic French Bread
- 6 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 tsp of active dried yeast
- 2 1/3 cups warm water (about 90-100 degrees)
- 1 tbl. of salt
- Place water in a large bowl. Add the yeast and dissolve. Allow 10 minutes for yeast to condition.
- Stir in enough flour (he told us 2 cups) to make a sponge (a dough that is the texture of thick mud). Beat the sponge vigorously for several minutes until it becomes very elastic. Scrape down the sides and cover the bowl loosely with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Set aside to rise in a warm (85 degrees) location for about 15 minutes to ferment.
- When the sponge bubbles, stir down and beat out the air bubbles. Add the salt and combine. Gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is firm enought to begin beating by hand. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or more, until the dough is satiny and resilient. Add more flour to keep the dough from sticking, but do not add so much that the dough becomes stiff. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowel, cover and set to rise until double in volume
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- When the dough has fully risen, knead the dough again for about 2 minutes to release any air bubbles.
- Divide dough into thirds and roll each loaf into a baguette. Place on a full size sheet tray lined with a floured couche. Cover baguette with a couche.
- Proof baguettes until two times volume.
- Proof baguette on bread peel and slash the baguette 5 times with a sharp knife.
- Immediately load baguette on the floor of the oven and close the door. Inject steam into oven and bake 30 minutes until nicely browned and crisp crust.
- Cool on a rack. Serve at room temperature.