Updated: Jun 25, 2020
Sourdough baguettes may not be as light as the ones you get in France, where they make them with a special soft flour, but these are good with a lovely crunchy crust. I add Vitamin C as an additional boost to the bread plus a little yeast. Many bakers use a poolish, a leaven mix. I have adapted a recipe from https://foodwishes.blogspot.com
200 ml water
100g leaven or starter, blood temperature
200g Strong white bread flour
520g Strong white bread flour
400 ml Water blood temperature
7 gms dried yeast
20 gms Salt
Pinch of Vit C powder.
Making the Poolish
Whisk 200mls of water, at blood temperature to 100gms of your sourdough starter and whisk.
Add the 200gms white bread flour and thoroughly mix together.
Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Autolyse the flour
About one hour before you add the poolish, mix the 520gms flour and 400ml water into a dough and cover with a damp tea towel. Do not add salt, yeast or Vit C at this stage
Make the dough
Scrape the poolish into the dough, and then add salt, yeast and a pinch of Vitamin C powder and mix until you have a dough. I often do this with my hands, its messy but easier.
Rest the dough
At this stage I often rest the dough, covered in the fridge overnight. This is an optional step, but means the sourdough really develops slowly.
Proving the dough
Cover the bowl and set the timer for 45 minutes.
After the 1st 45 minutes wet your hands and pull the dough up in the bowl and fold it over. Turn the bowl by one quarter and repeat. Repeat until you have down one circle of the bowl.
Set the timer for a further 45 minutes, do this a 3rd time so it has had a total 3 /45 minute rest and rise periods.
After the last 45 minute rise, turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and pre-shape them. Do this by folding the sides to the middle a couple of times then flatten the fold using the tips of your fingers or your knuckles. Cover them with a damp tea towel and leave for 15 minutes to rest.
Shaping the baguette.
After the 15 minutes shape the dough into long baguettes by rolling them with flat hands on a lightly floured surface into a baguette shape. Put onto a linen bakers Couche which you can make out of a linen tea towel or a cotton pillowcase – create ridges in the cloth between each baguette and nestle the baguettes next to each then set the timer for 30 minutes.Cover with a damp teatowel.
Preheat your oven to 240°C and place a pan of hot water on the bottom shelf of the oven at the same time. Have a spray bottle of water close by.If you have pizza stones put one on two shelves. These loaves can bake at the same time, on two different shelves.
The secret is the scissors!
When 30 minutes has passed roll the baguettes onto a baking tray covered with baking paper and with a pair of scissors snip each baguette 4-5 times in a v down the length of the baguette, or make diagonal slits with a sharp knife of razor blade, then flatten the v with your finger so they don’t burn,
Place the baguettes in the hot oven, spray inside the oven with water and bake for 16 to 20 minutes. Tap on the bottom to check if they are cooked – they should sound hollow. Place on a wire rack until cool.
Wait at least half an hour before cutting. The baguettes won't stay crisp the next day - you will need to heat them up in the oven by dampening the surface and warming up for 10 minutes at 180C. However, they don't stale in the same way real baguettes do.