Thursday, June 24, 2010


Jill and I, independently of each other, purchased baguette bread pans. When we found out that we both had similar pans, we decided we had to make baguettes together! I used a recipe from Daniel Leader's Bread Alone.

I made four baguettes, three in the pan and one directly on a pizza stone. All four were delicious and there was very little difference between the loaves baked in the pan, and the loaf baked on the stone. The bread in the pan was a little crispier, but not quite as brown.

The baguettes were delicious, and we used a couple loaves to make amazing garlic bread. I like the idea of using the pan since it gives you a place to put the loaves while they rise.

The recipe is rather involved; I think it's 3 or 4 pages long, so I'm just going to give you the basics. If you need any more details, just send me an e-mail.

Baguette au Levain
2 cups levain (sourdough starter)
2 1/4 cups spring water
4 3/4 to 5 3/4 cups organic all-purpose flour (I used Giusto's)
1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Mix and knead the dough (20 minutes)
Mix all the ingredients together, but only add enough flour to make a soft dough, adding flour as needed. Knead the dough until it is firm and smooth, about 15 to 17 minutes. The dough is ready when a little dough pulled away from the mass springs back quickly.

Ferment the dough (2 hours)
Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest on a lightly floured surface. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until increased in volume by about one-quarter.

Divide the dough and rest (35 minutes)
Deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly and cut into 6 equal pieces (I made 4 baguettes, not 6). Shape each into a tight round ball and place on an unfloured board. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

Shape the loaves (10 minutes)
Flatten each ball with the heal of your hand into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Shape into baguettes.

Proof the loaves (2 hours)
Place the loaves seam side up in a well-floured couche (heavy baker's canvas). Cover them with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in volume. The dough becomes softer and lighter as it proofs.

Bake the loaves (about 20 minutes)
Forty-five minutes to one hour before baking, preheat the oven and baking stone to 450F. Make sure that the oven rack is in the center of the oven. Gently roll two loaves off the couche onto a lightly floured peel so that they sit seam side down. Using a sharp blade, score the loaves by making shallow cuts in the dough. Using a peel, slide the loaves onto the stone. Quickly repeat the process with the rest of the loaves. Spray the inner walls and floor (NOT the light bulb) of the oven with cold water. Quickly close the door to trap the steam and bake 3 minutes. Spray again. Bake until loaves are a rich caramel color and the crusts are firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the baguettes slightly on a wire rack.

This is the baguette pan I used.

Daniel Leader's Bread Alone

Please check-out Jill's gorgeous baguettes!


  1. They look gorgeous, and so nicely browned! I'm glad we did these together, because otherwise I may have given up (or taken a long break) after the first try.

  2. Oh my goodness! Your baguettes look so perfect! I need a baguette pan where did you find it??

  3. These baguettes are picture-perfect, Michele! I could eat one right now.