Dan Leader's 4-Hour Baguette

By • March 25, 2014 • 88 Comments



Author Notes: This recipe is the aggressive, no-more-excuses shove that you need to start baking your own bread. It will only take you 4 hours of intermittent attention, and won't require a starter nor any equipment you don't already own -- and it will rival your favorite bakery's. Adapted slightly from Local Breads (W. W. Norton & Company, 2007) and Saveur Magazine.Genius Recipes

Makes 3 baguettes

  • 1 1/2 cup (12 ounces) tap water, heated to 115° F
  • 1 teaspoon (1/8 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups (14 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (3/8 ounces) Diamond Crystal kosher salt (note: if using a fine-grained salt like table salt, fine sea salt or other brands of kosher salt, you will need to use a smaller volume)
  • Canola oil, for greasing bowl
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  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.
Jump to Comments (88)

Comments (88) Questions (1)

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29 days ago Maddie and Cady (Hungry Curious)

My new go to baguette recipe!

Flower

about 1 month ago Tracie

Would I be able to make the dough the night before and cook them in the morning?

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11 days ago tracyn

Yes, I did that with mine. After step 2 (folding into an 8 inch square) I put my dough in the fridge so I could bake it the next day. Turned out great!

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about 1 month ago Ann Guanciale

Perfect...
I will be making this again!
I did add sugar to the yeast as well..

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about 1 month ago Chris

Cindy... How much sugar did you use when the yeast/water didnt foam?

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about 1 month ago Cindy from Canada

I used about a teaspoon (or less). Seemed to be enough.

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3 months ago Cindy from Canada

Re AnnieHynes and epic fail - I had the same problem - water and yeast - nothing happened - thought my yeast was dead - but then added a bit of sugar to the yeast/water and it worked beautifully - this is my new baguette recipe.

Open-uri20140506-18685-157bak5

4 months ago Maureen O'Ineedadrink

I tossed a bit of asiago cheese and herbs de provence on top for the last 7 min of one of the loaves. With three you can try out something new on one of them every time.

Stringio

4 months ago Jacqueline Ogilvie

Made this for Easter Dinner. Amazing and fast. 3 tsp of flaked salt is perfect. No idea if r)3 recipe was wrong before or people were using the wrong kind of salt. Gut this is great. I Agee it's not pretty, but I will take more time shaping the ropes. 1 was perfect by fluck.

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4 months ago Justcookin

I just used olive oil to grease the bowl and it worked really well!

Stringio

4 months ago Mark Ayers

Everything was glorious until I read the ingrediant canola oil. Why would I want an Industrial Age product requiring solvents to produce from a plant that had traditionally produced fuel oil? There are better alternatives available that are constant with my values.

Still, it loos yummy and I'm sure will be when I've made it.

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3 months ago pjcamp

Canola is a cultivar of rapeseed, developed through cross breeding to eliminate the bitter flavor. Rapeseed is one of the oldest cultivated plants, used in Japan and China for 2000 years and in India for 4000 years. If you're opposed to the use of hexane as a solvent in the extraction process, then you also have to swear off soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, in fact basically every oil except olive, and even then you have to be careful to pass on the pomace oil. On the other hand, Spectrum Naturals produces canola oil with an expeller press and no solvents.

Not sure exactly what your values are unless they involve urban legends and antiscientific attitudes. I am sure, however, that you meant to say "consistent," not constant. "Constant with my values" doesn't mean anything.

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4 months ago Justcookin

Made this yesterday and it was AMAZING! My finicky son (bread aficionado) ate one whole loaf and then some. My husband loved it! Thanks!

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4 months ago seeabigail

just finished making this! still hot but i'm sure it will taste amazing! any tips on how to make it a bit prettier? i'd love to make them as beautiful as the one in the picture! :)

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4 months ago Justcookin

Why don't you just use 1T of salt? (3t = 1T) makes it so much easier! My bread was not so sticky. I have it made into loaves and rising! Can't wait to try it!!!

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4 months ago leanne parcher

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Wow, love it. I too cheated and used the KitchenAid for the kneading. Last night a loaf with homemade cavatelli. This morning, avocado toast.

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4 months ago mark dorfman

This is superb. We let the loaves bake an extra minute for a crispier crust.
Use sweet butter and you jave a trip to france in your mouth.

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5 months ago Sue

Can I use instant yeast?

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5 months ago Maya Ruparelia

I did, the bread turned out just fine :)

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5 months ago Andrea Young

I made this the first time 2 weeks ago and they came out beautifully - the most beautiful and authentic looking and tasting baguettes I have ever made. Followed the recipe exactly with no problems. Making it again today to go with homemade spaghetti and meatballs. yum.

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5 months ago Lynn

The bread was very tasty but not pretty! It was kinda flat, was it to wet? We froze the last baguette after it was baked and made a pannin with it, amazing!

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5 months ago Maya Ruparelia

Made this yesterday, added 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and decided to cheat using the food processor to knead the dough. It was EPIC. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe! :)

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5 months ago AnnieHynes

Epic fail for me. Nothing rose. I make the no knead sandwich bread every week so I really don't know what went wrong, except the water and yeast never bloomed, no matter what the temp of the water was... I tried everything

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5 days ago Kt4

The lack of bloom usually means the yeast is dead.

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5 months ago flourgirl

I loved the idea of this recipe but not the use of white flour so, I substituted 1 cup whole wheat flour and a 1/4 cup dark rye flour for part of the total flour required. I realized I would then need more water (hydration), so I upped the H2O by roughly 1/2 a cup and held my breath that it would be okay....not too sticky to work with (I did everything in a stand mixer). I let the dough sit for the proscribed 20 minutes and seeing that it was indeed very wet, added another 1/2 cup unbleached white flour and let the mixer do the work, which gave me a dough that was not hard to proceed with. All in all, I was very happy with my 3 lovely wheaten baguettes and they did not last long. They were far superior to any I have bought and I will definitely make these again :)

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5 months ago Curtis Choppington

I have never made bread before, I have tried this 2 times today and my dough is just so wet an sticky kneading it is a lost cause, I end up with dough gloves. Im weighing the ingredients out but just no luck :(

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5 months ago cookbooksareforeveryone

Do not despair. just add some flour as you try to fold….I bet i added another half cup (a bit at each stage.) and it worked great.

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5 months ago tamater sammich

Dough gloves - That's funny, Curtis! It made me remember when I first learned to bake bread. I think I added an extra 1/4 cup flour. Even though I knew this was supposed to be a wet dough, there's wet and then there's so wet you know it's not gonna work. That just takes experience. Thanks for the laugh!

Dsc05537

4 months ago Sabine@mamangerie

You´re right about the dough gloves (really funny indeed). I had the same problem, such a wet dough at first, but by adding I guess about 1-2 handful extra flour while kneading the bread turned out absolutely fine - after 10-15 min it became the smoothest, silkiest bread dough I´ve ever made (was impressed with myself, or the recipe, or both).

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5 months ago smbpc

Made bread on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Excellent results. The dough is quite wet, 122% hydration, so a little hard to handle but very nice crispy loaves with good texture. Makes a rainy day nice.

Stringio

5 months ago maria.kudla

This was not a good recipe for my carb craving self -- it came out way too good. Don't expect the bread to last past tonight. :-) (PS... I used just slightly less that 3 tsp KOSHER salt. Tastes just right to me.:))

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5 months ago pratlir

All this hookah about salt!! Please do no forget that the salt is not put in with the years as the salt will kill the yeast. Put yeast on one side of the flour and salt on the other!

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5 months ago John

My son is a baker ,he told me to blend the salt in the flour before adding to the yeast mixture.1 1/2 ts of Kosher salt was 3/8 of a ounce

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5 months ago lwh02

I think it was originally written as 4tsp, which would make a difference, but even more importantly, all salts don't measure the same....if you weigh it, you should be good. But on the record, 4 tsp of Morton salt is waaaay too much! Learned that one the hard way.

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5 months ago tamater sammich

I made this bread today, and decided after reading the comments, to go ahead with the 3t. kosher salt, and the bread is wonderful, **burp** I had some while it was still warm, and am now making 'Toad in the hole' as part of my partner's dinner.
Thanks, Dan!
P.S. am wondering if the 'too salty' folks may have used a T. or perhaps miscounted the t.s?

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5 months ago May

That's a stretch, tamater, to assume those of us who went with 4 tsp are incapable of literacy or basic arithmetic! I think it's perhaps more likely that you came to this recipe well after it had been edited, as it originally called for four teaspoons of some fancy kosher salt, not 3 tsp (or 3/8 ounce), or four tablespoons, or anything else.

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5 months ago cookbooksareforeveryone

I will add to the mayhem....Weighed everything yeast got a little active(not foamy). Used king A bread flour and then Used the dough hook on my stand mixer for ten minutes and this is the wettest stuff. I added a little flour just to get it to quasi ball. We will see if it rises. Any suggestions? Was it the fancy bread flour? Help?

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5 months ago kbrown910

My dough was very wet and sticky as well. Added a bit more flour to bring it together. Currently on first rise. Btw: I always use King Arthur flour for my breads

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5 months ago May

Is anyone still following this little storm in a bread pan? I had so much dough, by the time I'd doubled it to halve the salt, that I stuck it in a covered bowl in the fridge, and I've been baking a little loaf for breakfast and another for supper for a couple of days.....and it's improved each time! The dough has become chewier, and the crust crispier.

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5 months ago okaykate

Any thoughts on how this might freeze (and the best way to do it) if I wanted to prep the baguettes but bake them off one at a time?

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5 months ago John

I found when you freeze the dough the doesn't come out the same.I bake all the loafs off,let them cool then freeze them.When you want a loaf take one out let defrost put in a 425 oven for 5-8 min. it crisped right up.

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5 months ago okaykate

Awesome - it's as good as fresh baked then? Can't wait to give it a try!

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5 months ago John

Hi, 8 min .would be to long for this bread,i do it that long for my rye bread. Try 3-4 min. have to see what works for you.

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5 months ago sofie

Am I the only one that dont get why the dough has to be put in the cold oven to rise? can't it just be left in the bowl on the counter?
Cant wait to make this!

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5 months ago margothand

Cliff hanger! Something got dropped in correcting the ingredient line for salt because the instructions and closed parens are missing at the end -- after "or" -- where it says: (note: if using a fine-grained salt like table salt or

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Thank you margothand -- I just fixed that, but I'm hoping to clarify the salt amounts even more with more testing.

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5 months ago petitbleu

I just tried this and am very happy with the results, but next time I will definitely cut the salt by a teaspoon. It's delicious bread, but too salty, and I think the amount of salt may even have impacted the rising capabilities of the yeast. But this is a great starting point! Thanks for sharing!

Jennieinthejungle

5 months ago frolicandetour

This was the best bread I have ever made myself! I reduced the salt a bit, but followed the recipe otherwise. I can't stop fussing over how crispy and delicious the crust is, and how soft and perfect the inside turned out...can't stop eating it, either. :)

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5 months ago peg denton

Salt definitely adds to the flavor of bread, but I was curious why such a large increase, from 1 teaspoon to 4 teaspoons?

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Here's what I posted on the article page, and I just remeasured as well: Unless our scale is off (and I'm working on getting another check!), 10 grams or 3/8 ounce, as this recipe has been published in several places, comes out just scant of 4 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and we much preferred the results to smaller amounts of salt. If you use a finer grained kosher, sea, or table salt, you should use a smaller amount by volume, the same amount by weight. (Unless you prefer less salt in your bread -- then feel free to decrease, but we liked it this way!)

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5 months ago peg denton

why did you increase the salt from 1 to 4 teaspoons of salt?

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5 months ago Rivergal

Duh... I asked about the salt then reread the recipe! I got it!

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Rivergal, see step 1!

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Oh, never mind -- I see you got it!

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5 months ago Nelly

I can never seem to get my yeast to foam without adding sugar. And no different with this recipe. Does anyone else have that problem? None of you used sugar in your yeast-water mixture and it foamed? I'd rather not add sugar if it will work without it.

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5 months ago mikefromholden

Thank you for clarifying the Salt amount. I was puzzled by it since 3/8 ounce came to slightly more 1 tsp in my kitchen.

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5 months ago mikefromholden

I'm sorry the reply arrows confused me and I replied to you instead of another person.

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5 months ago cfihunter

Nelly, you don't need the yeast to do a full foam. I did not add any sugar and the baguettes turned out great. I'm actually eating part of one for lunch right now :)

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5 months ago Nelly

Really? Ok! I already did a second round adding a tsp of sugar. :( Darn! I've tried many times to make bread with out sugar and it never rises. Then I end up with really dense, stone like rolls.

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5 months ago Nelly

No problem, mike! :)

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5 months ago May

I just posted this on the other version of this recipe here on Food52, but it's worth posting here also:

Good grief!!! I just looked at the Saveur link for this recipe, and it asks for A TEASPOON AND A HALF OF KOSHER SALT, not 4 teaspoons, lol: no small wonder my dough tasted like a packet of salted potato chips!

I made another batch of the dough - salt-free - and mixed the two together, left overnight, and baked this morning, and it was fine. Nothing special, just a regular loaf of bread, shaped like a baguette....

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5 months ago mikefromholden

Thank you for clarifying the Salt amount. I was puzzled by it since 3/8 ounce came to slightly more 1 tsp in my kitchen.

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

May and mikefromholden, please see my response above to peg denton!

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5 months ago May

Got it - thanks, Kristen. It was definitely much saltier than a baguette would normally be, and I used 3 tsp of the salt I have by the stove ("Balein sea salt iodized fine crystals" it says on the blue tub), vs the recommended 4 tsp of Kosher salt in your version of the recipe (I got that substitution recommendation off the 'net - guess it wasn't a good one!). I see that very accurate scales are now on my shopping list. :)

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5 months ago May

Kristen - I'm giving this recipe another go today, having bought better scales, and Mr M and I tried this a couple of times - weighed the salt (normal table salt) and then measured it, and it works out at a hair over 2 tsp.

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Good luck May, and great to know about the table salt.

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5 months ago May

Ta dah! Turned out perfect - good chew, crispy crust, great taste (that might be our high quality Canadian flour ;) ).

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5 months ago Rivergal

I am guessing you add the salt 'just' before putting in oven??

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5 months ago A Table Together

I made these today and they are excellent. I followed the instructions, weighed everything, and wow - I'm really surprised these things came out of my oven! A definite keeper. I might cut the salt by 1/2 to 1 tsp, but otherwise - thank you!

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5 months ago cfihunter

Just pulled this out of the oven. Oh my Hannah is this stuff good. Great recipe. I did cut back a bit on the salt. Only 2 tsps but followed the rest of the recipe. Overall a pretty easy to follow recipe. And samanthaalison, I used a stand mixer for the kneading and only did it for 5 minutes.

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5 months ago samanthaalison

If you're using the food processor, is it still 10 minutes of kneading? Should I use the dough blade or the regular blade?

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

In a similar recipe, William Alexander processes for "45 seconds or more, until a ball forms and starting flying around the processor bowl."

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5 months ago cfihunter

Now to figure out what else to have for dinner.

Ashley

5 months ago Ashley Marie

You don't need anything! Just bread :) HAHA JK - I love serving these cut up into thicker rounds with balsamic vinegar, evoo, fresh basil, tomato slices, fresh mozzarella and a little salt. Put it all on the table and let everyone make their own concoctions! Alternatively you could just put out different cheeses, meats and spreads!

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5 months ago cfihunter

Wouldn't be the first time we had bread for dinner :)

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5 months ago John

ice cubes --good idea I always throw some water on the oven bottom 2 min. after my bread is baking.

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5 months ago Horto

we are all going to make this and report back
i just started

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5 months ago John

can you use all trump HG flour and use a French bread pan ?

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5 months ago Abby @ Happy Food Happy Home

How would you store these? And about how long would they last? I could probably eat three baguettes in a few days, but I probably shouldn't....
Thanks!

Ashley

5 months ago Ashley Marie

When I make them, I store them by wrapping them in some parchment paper and then aluminum foil - this probably isn't correct, but Food52 did an article a while back re: proper bread storage that you could Google and read about. We go through the bread pretty quickly in my house too, but I usually end up using one that doesn't "last" for homemade breadcrumbs and / or croutons. I'd say a few days for just cutting off a piece and eating!

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5 months ago sasha

Can you use instant yeast? Would you use less than 1 tsp?

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5 months ago lwh02

Are you sure the amount of salt is correct?

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yes, when I tested this, 3/8 ounce came out to about 4 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which we preferred to the 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt listed on Saveur (they may have used a different kind of kosher salt in their testing). If you go by weight, you'll be safe no matter what!

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5 months ago Diane Var

I'm having trouble understanding the towel concept. Can someone dumb this down for me?

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5 months ago Tammy H

You can see a visual of the towel concept here:

http://food52.com/blog...

Miglore

5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Diane, I'll post savorthis' great response here too so others can see:

You are just trying to help shape the baguettes while they rise. The towels keep them in place so they are a nice round shape instead of flattened out. The parchment keeps them from sticking together. I actually have a baguette pan that was my dad's- it is two half tubes connected on the long side- and it helps the baguettes rise and bake perfectly.

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5 months ago Diane Var

I have seen the baguette pans you are referring to. Thanks for the help everyone!

Sadie_crop

5 months ago Diana B

Diana B is a trusted home cook.

I've got one of these baguette pans, too! Can I just line it with parchment and let two of the loaves rise (and bake) in that?