So, I have shared with you my dream of opening a Pizza and Wine Bar in Austin. Well, there’s a little more to that story…
The Pizza and Wine Bar hasn’t always been a “Pizza and Wine Bar.”
Instead, it actually started out as a bakery.
Then, it turned into a cupcake shop. (For the record, this was all before cupcake shops were everywhere.)
Really, this was all before I knew much about baking in general. Or cooking, for that matter. It seems I was several steps ahead of myself even back then.
Anyways…to prepare for my bakery or cupcake shop (which I was totally going call the San Diego Cupcake Factory, by the way — cute, right?), Dustin and I decided it would be helpful to start baking my own bread and pastries at home to familiarize myself with good recipes and processes. So, I got some books and I started baking. It was all very domestic.
And I failed. Again and again.
It seemed bread and I would never be friends — if I was the one baking it. Still had no issue actually eating it. I’m actually quite good at that part.
So, when I made this French Baguette the other day within a few hours and it came out of the oven warm, flavorful and delicious, I felt victorious.
The point of sharing this story with you is to acknowledge and normalize that baking bread can be somewhat scary — even for something that is actually quite simple. Really, though, people have been baking bread for centuries, after all.
This recipe is so darn simple, quick and tasty, you’ll feel like a pro as you pull your golden loaf of French yeasty-goodness from the oven.
Yes, this baguette requires kneading, rise time and all that fun bread-making stuff, but the time you actually spend working on it is mere 15-20 minutes. Good. Deal.
Try it out for yourself and feel like a bread-making pro!
makes 1 large (or 2 thin) baguette
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading dough
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 cup water (for brushing baguette)
In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast and sugar over the warm water and let sit until it becomes foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix until well combined. Add the remaining 2 cups flour and combine until dough is stiff. There may be some flour that doesn’t get incorporated into the dough. This is okay.
On a lightly flour surface, knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Add more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Add 1/2 tbsp. olive oil to a large, deep bowl and transfer dough to bowl, turning once to lightly cover all sides of the ball of dough with the oil. Cover bowl lightly with plastic wrap until the dough has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly oil a flat baking sheet with remaining olive oil. Punch down the dough and form into a long loaf, long enough to cover the entire diagonal of the baking sheet. The dough will be about 3 inches wide. If you prefer more stick-like baguettes, separate the dough in half and make 2 loafs instead. Let dough rise another 30 minutes, uncovered.
Make 3-4 diagonal slits/slashes using a sharp knife. Lightly brush the top of the loaf (or loaves) with water. Bake 15-25 minutes or until golden on top. Cool on wire rack.