Crusty French Baguettes
1-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
2-1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. cornmeal (added to baking sheet)
Add the yeast, bread flour, salt, and water in the order suggested by your bread machine manual and process on the DOUGH cycle. At the end of the DOUGH cycle, remove the dough from the bread machine and divide into 2 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round, pressing to break any air bubbles. Place the rounds on a lightly greased plate or cookie sheet, leaving room for the balls of dough to double in size.
Cover with a clean bowl or kitchen towel and let rise about 20 minutes in a draft-free but not hot place. If your kitchen is chilly, the dough might need another 5 or 10 minutes to double in size. If you press the dough lightly with your finger and the mark remains, the dough is ready. If the indentation springs out again, the dough need to rise longer.
Preheat oven to 375º F. Roll each ball of dough into a rope as long as the pan you are going to bake it in (cookie sheet, French bread mold, or any other long baking pan). Sprinkle the cornmeal on the pan and place the dough into the pan. (If you are using an open pan such as a cookie sheet, place the baguettes at least 4 inches apart to prevent their spreading together during rising.) Let rise again, covered, until double in
size again–about 30 minutes.
When the dough has doubled, spray or paint gently with cold water. (NOTE: Or leave a pan of water in the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking.) Slit the top diagonally several times with a sharp knife or single-edge razor. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, spraying with water once or twice more. (Disregard the spraying if you placed a pan of water into the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking.)
Voila, you have baguettes!
Adapted from “The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever,” by Madge Rosenberg
Makes 2 baguettes