Long Proofed Baguette

Episode 117: Rollin’ In Dough
Recipe: Long Proofed Baguette (Baguettes)

The long rising time in this recipe gives the baguettes a better texture and a more pronounced flavor.

To have fresh-baked bread whenever you want it, you can partially bake the baguettes, for about 25 minutes, until they have achieved maximum size but are not yet brown. Let the loaves cool until lukewarm, then wrap tightly and freeze. When needed, unwrap a frozen loaf, place directly on the center rack of a preheated 400-degree oven, and bake for about 20 minutes, until brown and crusty.

Gros Pain, Long Proofed Baguette, Soda Bread

Makes 4 baguettes

4 1/2 cups bread flour, preferably organic, plus 2 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups cool water (70 degrees)
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Put the 4 1/2 cups flour, the yeast, salt, and water in a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough forms. Alternatively, process the ingredients in a large food processor for 45 seconds.

Transfer the dough to a plastic bucket or a large deep ceramic or stainless steel bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (about 70 degrees) for at least 4 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Break down the dough by bringing the outer edges into the center of the bowl and pressing down to release the air inside. Form the dough into a ball. Sprinkle the work surface with 2 tablespoons of the remaining flour, place the dough on top, and press down to form it into a rough rectangular shape. Cut the rectangle lengthwise into 4 equal strips. Roll each strip under your palms into an 18-inch length.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat and sprinkle with the cornmeal. Place the baguettes on the baking sheet. Let the baguettes rise, covered with an upside-down roasting pan, in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Sprinkle the tops of the risen loaves with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon flour. Cut 4 diagonal slits in the top surface of each loaf with a serrated knife or razor blade, and place in the oven. Using a spray bottle filled with tap water, mist the inside of the oven to create steam, and immediately close the door. Bake the baguettes for 35 minutes, or until brown and crusty.

Cool the baguettes on a rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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  • Virginia

    I am very excited to try this recipe. The baguette recipe I use takes about 36 hours to make! So, if I like the results of this bread recipe, it will save me many hours in the kitchen…I will post again after I try it out!

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  • French grandmere too

    I make this bread way too much!  Love it, love the recipe, could not be more simple or satisfying.  If you love bread – this is the one!  My family & friends love it too!

  • Bunnyeeryan

    Do you not grease the bowl before letting the dough rise?

  • J Duchesne

    I made this recipe yesterday, way too liquid, I have been making bread before but 4 1/2 c of flour seems  not enough, what quantity would be best.!

    J.D.

  • Grandmere Bogard

    Could not be easier to make, more delicious to eat and EVERYBODY loves it.  Thank you for sharing this wonderful bread with us all.  I watch your programs over and over again.  Lots of easy ways to make the most simple food elegant! 

  • John

    I made this bread for the first time today.  I thought it turned out good for the first try.  For the next batch, I think I will cut back on the water a little bit.  Also, the amount of dough this recipe makes is, I believe, the right amount for three loaves rather than four.  I will try and see how that comes out.

  • Laura McCabe

    Is it better to mix the bread with your fingers or use the mixer?

  • Robert Dell

    The solution to the “too wet” problem is simple, just add more flour while mixing is all. You can also add extra gluten to the mix if you are using regular bleached flour. remember, he said specifically to use high gluten flour (which to me means add extra gluten) if the dough doesn’t hold shape then you should re-mix and add a little flour, just enough to make it hold shape. eventually you’ll notice what will hold shape and what won’t.

  • clinton

    I love this bread!! I mix mine up at night and cover In a bowl. Then in the fridge it goes. Waiting 4.5 hours to proof would be near impossible for me, but letting it proof in fridge over night works great!