These sour dough baguettes are full of flavor with an incredible chew. They’re easy to make and will not disappoint!
About a week ago, a King Arthur Flour catalog arrived. Susan was looking through it and asked if I would order several items for her. I decided that since I was ordering stuff for Susan, I’d add some things to the order for me.
Making the Sourdough Starter:
One of the items that I added was Sourdough starter. I had made bread before with biga and/or poolish starters, but had never actually used a sourdough starter. When the order arrived, I was surprised by the size of the container. I guess I had neglected to read that it was one-ounce. In addition to the starter, there were instructions on “feeding” it to get it ready for use.
For the first “feeding”, I transferred the sourdough starter to large Pyrex measuring cup. I mixed the sourdough starter with unbleached all purpose flour and water. Then, I let it sit loosely covered at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. I ended up with a thick, stringy, and bubbly concoction that had expanded quite a bit.
I discarded half of this. The reason given for throwing half of the mixture away was that the acidity needed to be brought to the proper level. Then, I “fed” the other half with unbleached all purpose flour and water. I left to sit for several more hours to again become thick, stringy and bubbly. Once again, I divided the mixture in half, with half either thrown away, or used for some other purpose. Then, I “fed” the other half, and left to sit loosely covered at room temperature for several more hours. At this point, I was ready to use the sourdough starter. Alternatively, I could have refrigerated it for a later use. If you don’t want to waste any of the starter, you can flour and water to each portion after you divide it. For this recipe you will end up with four portions if you. do this.
Making the Sour Dough Baguettes:
I decided to use the starter using the Sourdough Baguette recipe from the King Arthur Flour site as a starting point. A tip on the site indicated that the full amount of yeast should be used if the recipe was cut in half. I was a bit leery of this, but the result was great!
Normally, I use my bread machine on the dough cycle to knead the dough. I was concerned, however, that there was too much dough for my little machine. (Mine produces one-pound loaves.) Therefore, I used the stand mixer to knead the dough.
Once the kneading was finished, I transferred the baguette dough to a bowl that had been oiled and covered it with plastic wrap for the first rise. I always use my electric oven for the rising stage when making bread. To do this, I turn the oven on for one minute and 45 seconds to bring the temperature up just a bit, and then turn it off.
Other Sourdough Recipes
If you like sourdough, but don’t want to use the King Arthur sourdough starter, you should try making your own like my amazing sourdough starter. Once you’ve made the starter, you should try this sourdough bread. It’s as good as it is beautiful!
- 1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons (5-ounces) of lukewarm filtered water
- 1 cup (8.5-ounces) of sourdough starter
- 2 cups (9.5-ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 Tablespoon water for glaze optional
- In a large bowl, combine the water, starter, and 1 cup of the flour, mixing until smooth. Stir in the salt, sugar, and yeast; then add the additional 1 cup of flour.Stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding only enough additional flour as necessary; a slack (sticky) dough makes a light loaf.
- Knead the dough for about 7 minutes in a stand mixer; or 8 to 10 minutes by hand, on a lightly greased work surface. You may also knead the dough using the dough cycle on your bread machine. Once its finished kneading, turn the dough into an oiled bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise in a warm location until doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes.
- Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into two pieces for the baguettes. Shape each piece into a 16-inch long loaf, and place the loaves, at least 4-inches apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets, or in lightly greased baguette pans.If you're using baguette pans, make the loaves 15-inches long. Make three diagonal slashes in each loaf with a sharp knife or razor blade.
- Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let them rise in a warm location for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until they're nice and puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 425°F.
- If desired, gently brush the loaves with egg yolk glaze. Bake the baguettes for about 25 minutes, or until they're a rich golden brown. Remove the loaves from the oven. Turn off the oven, crack it open a few inches, and return the loaves to the cooling oven, without their pans. Letting the loaves cool right in the turned-off oven helps preserve their crunchy crust.
- Yield: 2 loaves.
- Post Script: The sourdough baguettes were so good that I decided to make sourdough rolls using the above recipe. Also, I used my little bread machine to knead the dough. The bread machine worked great! I scaled the dough into 2-ounce portions and baked for 20 minutes or until golden brown. I ended up with 13 rolls that taste just as good as the baguettes.