4-Hour Baguette

4-Hour Baguette
You can make baguettes at home -- in 4 hours, from nothing but your own equipment -- and they'll disappear faster than your favorite bakery
Source:
Serves: 3 baguettes
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cup (12 ounces) tap water, heated to 115° F
  • 1 teaspoon (1/8 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 3 ¼ cups (14⅔ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons (3/8 ounces) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • Canola oil, for greasing bowl
  • ½ cup ice cubes
Directions
  1. Whisk together water and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes. Add flour, and stir with a fork until dough forms and all flour is absorbed; let dough sit to allow flour to hydrate, about 20 minutes. Add salt, then transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough ball to a lightly greased bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and place bowl in a cold oven or microwave. Let dough rest until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and shape into an 8-inch x 6-inch rectangle. Fold the 8-inch sides toward the middle, then fold the shorter sides toward the center, like a T-shirt. Return dough, seam side down, to the bowl. Cover with plastic again, and return to oven. Let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove bowl with dough from oven, and place a cast–iron skillet on the bottom rack of oven; position another rack above skillet, and place a baking stone or upside down or rimless sheet pan on it.
  4. Heat oven to 475° F. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into three equal pieces; shape each piece into a 14-inch rope. Flour a sheet of parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet; place ropes, evenly spaced, on paper. Lift paper between ropes to form pleats; place two tightly rolled kitchen towels under long edges of paper, creating supports for the loaves. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let sit until it doubles in size, about 50 minutes.
  5. Uncover; remove towels, and flatten paper to space out loaves. Using a sharp razor, knife, bread lame, or scissors, slash the top of each baguette at a 30–degree angle in four spots; each slash should be about 4 inches long. Pull out the oven rack with the stone or baking sheet on it and, using the corner of the parchment paper as a guide, slide the loaves, still on the parchment paper, onto the baking stone or pan. Place ice cubes in skillet (this produces steam that lets the loaves rise fully before a crust forms). Bake the baguettes until darkly browned and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes; cool before serving.
Notes
You can make a really good baguette -- in 4 hours, from nothing. It will have a resilient, toffee-colored crust and a honeycombed middle that huffs hot, yeasty air when you tear into it. The smell of it baking will simultaneously make you feel hungry, safe, and accomplished. It will taste like home and like Paris.

Here's a Picture Summary of the Above Recipe
1) Stir together yeast and warm water. 10 minutes later, stir in flour.

2) Let that hang out for 20 minutes to hydrate.Now add salt and knead for about 10 minutes, till it's smooth and springy.

3)Plop it in a greased bowl, seal it with plastic, and park it in a cold oven (or microwave) for about 45 minutes. Its girth will double.
4) Fold it like a T-shirt, then put it back. Within an hour, it will double again.

5) Now roll it into three baguette-like tubes.

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