October 17, 2022
Let’s face it: Baguettes are a challenging bread to pull off consistently well, especially for a beginner. But one of the challenges to making a great home-baked baguette is made easy by using an Anova Precision Oven, which has the ability to quickly fill with steam. Surrounding the baguettes with steam during the first few minutes of baking ensures proper oven spring, scores that expand fully, and a crisp, well-browned crust.
This recipe uses a long-fermented, nearly no-knead approach for a dough with great flavor and a silky, easy-to-handle texture. It uses bread flour, along with 10% whole wheat flour, for a boost of wheaty flavor and a tan-hued crumb. It also calls for a small amount of diastatic malt powder, a natural enzyme that helps promote the conversion of starch into sugars, driving fermentation and ensuring proper caramelization of the crust during baking. (This is a specialty item that can be found online from baking supply companies like Breadtopia.com; be sure to use *diastatic* malt, not malt sugar or syrup, which are sweeteners.)
Baguettes also call for a few specialty tools as well: A couche, which is a thick linen cloth (at least 17 inches wide and 24 inches long) used to cradle the loaves as they proof; a transfer peel (also known as a flipper board) for moving the baguettes from the couche to the baking peel; and a curved-blade lame for scoring the loaves. (You’ll also need a baking peel, a 16- by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper, a clean plastic garbage bag, and a baking stone or steel.)
This recipe yields two 225g home-sized demi-baguettes.