Artisanal Sourdough Baguettes

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With a crisp crust and chewy interior-what’s better than a fresh baguette?

A fresh artisanal sourdough baguette!  This recipe is adapted from my Artisanal Sourdough Loaves.  If you’re familiar with that recipe, this one will be a breeze.  The best part-these can be made in one day, so it’s a perfect Saturday baking project!

artisanal sourdough baguettes

What you need:

artisanal sourdough baguettes ingredients

Leaven

A leaven is the building block for this sourdough bread.  It begins with a small amount of sourdough starter that is fed whole wheat flour and water.  To make the baguettes in one day, the leaven needs to be fermented at 80ºF.  My oven has a proof setting that works perfectly for this step.  If you don’t have that setting, an oven with the light turned on works (it may take longer to double in size though).

Water

For best result, always use filtered water when making sourdough bread.  I have a Britta Water Filter Dispenser that I keep in my refrigerator-I have a glass pitcher that I fill up and store on the counter for my daily starter feedings.  When you are ready to make the leaven, set the glass in hot water for a few minutes so the water warms up to 80ºF.  

Bread Flour

The bulk of this loaf is bread flour-the high protein content gives the bread a beautiful chewy texture.

Whole-Wheat Flour

The whole-wheat flour is used in two ways.  First, it is used in the leaven to jump start the fermentation.  Whole-wheat flour contains more nutrients than all purpose or bread flour, so the yeast has more to eat.  Second, it lends a more robust flavor to the final bread.

Salt

I use Mortons Coarse Kosher salt.  It takes a little time to work into the dough, but that isn’t a bad thing.  If you are using a finer salt it will dissolve into the dough much faster.

Equipment:

Linen Couche

A couche is a large sheet of linen that gets coated in flour for proofing the dough.  The fabric is gathered between the dough, helping to cradle and form the iconic baguette shape.

Baking stone

A ceramic baking stone is essential.  It gets pre-heated, so the bread starts to form a crust as soon as it hits the oven (you can also use it to make awesome pizzas!).

Peel

A wood peel makes transferring the dough in and out of the oven SO much easier!

 

How to make the baguettes:

STEP 1

Make the leaven

The night before you begin, feed your starter so it is refreshed and ready to build the leaven (about 8-12 hours ahead of time).  I build my leaven first thing in the morning.  To begin, mix the starter and warm filtered water in a small jar or bowl.  Add the flour and mix until there are no more dry lumps.  Cover and proof at 80ºF for four hours.  The leaven is ready to use when it has doubled in size, looks really active, and has bubbles breaking on the surface.

artisanal-sourdough baguettes leaven rise

STEP 2

Make the dough

When the leaven is ready, make the bread dough.  In a large bowl, add the leaven and 600 grams of warm water.  Stir to break up the leaven.  Add the remaining flours and mix with your hand until there are no more dry bits.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and rest for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle 18 grams of salt on the surface and pinch into the dough with a wet hand.  Continue to mix until all of the salt has dissolved.  Cover again and rest in a warm spot for 4 hours of bulk fermentation.

artisanal sourdough baguettes mixing the dough

 

STEP 3

Bulk fermentation

While the bowl is fermenting, you will need to stretch and fold the dough every 30 minutes.  With a wet hand, scoop one quarter of the dough from the bottom of the bowl.  Stretch upwards as far as it will naturally pull and fold it back onto the center of the dough.  Rotate the bowl and repeat three more times, so that all of the dough has been stretched.  Cover and place the bowl back in a warm spot to continue proofing.

artisanal sourdough baguettes stretch and fold

STEP 4

Dividing the dough

After the four hours are up, the dough will have grown substantially and will have a very supple texture.  At this point, quickly scrape the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface with a bowl scraper.  Divide the dough in four pieces with a bench scraper.  Starting with one quarter of the dough, bring the top, bottom, left, and right sides to the center-starting to form a ball.  Bring the remaining four corners to the center, tightening the shape.  Use the bench scraper to pick up the dough and flip it over onto the seam.  Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

artisanal sourdough baguettes divided

STEP 5

Shaping the dough

To form the dough into the final baguette shape, flip one of the dough balls onto a well floured surface.  Loosen the top and bottom corners to from a long rectangular shape.  Pull the top edge down to the center, then bring bottom edge up to align with the top (just like you are folding a letter).  Press down on the seam close.  Repeat this once more, tightening the dough and forming a more cylindrical shape.  Starting at the center, roll out the dough to 16”.  Taper the ends slightly for an artisanal look (this is a sign that the bread was hand made!).

artisanal sourdough baguettes shaping

STEP 6

Final Proof

For the final proof, you will need a linen couche or large linen kitchen towel.  Coat the fabric generously in flour and keep it close to your work area.  Once the baguette is rolled out to the final shape and size, transfer it onto the couche.  I use a thin plank of wood to do this, but a small cutting board would work just as well.  When you place the next baguette, gather up some of the fabric to create a wall between the two.  Each baguette should rest snugly against the next.  To support the ends, you can roll the excess cloth to form bookends or transfer it to a half sheet pan (it is the perfect size for this recipe!)  Once you have all four baguettes on the couche, cover it with a kitchen towel and rest for 2 hours.

artisanal sourdough baguettes couche

STEP 7

Scoring and Baking

Pre-heat your oven to 475º F with a ceramic baking stone on the middle rack and a heavy metal sheet tray on the bottom rack.  When you are ready to bake the first batch of baguettes, (the bread will bake in two batches) transfer the baguettes onto a sheet of 12×16” parchment paper set atop a  wood peel. Sprinkle flour on top and quickly make three diagonal slashes with a bread lame or razor blade.  To bake, quickly slide the parchment paper off the peel onto the hot baking stone.  Pour 1/2 cup of ice onto the hot baking tray.  This will allow the bread to steam for the first portion of the bake.  

artisanal sourdough baguettes baking

Bake at 475ºF for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 425ºF and remove the metal sheet tray (allowing the steam to escape from the oven for a few seconds).   Bake for 10 more minutes.  The outside will darken and form a beautiful crust.

Now for the hardest part…wait until the bread is completely cool before slicing!  I know it is so tempting, but this ensures that the inside reaches the ideal texture.  

Toast up rounds for appetizers, make delicious garlic bread, or create a really decadent sandwich…however you choose to use them, you are going to love these Artisanal Sourdough Baguettes!

artisanal sourdough baguettes 2

 

artisanal sourdough baguettes recipe thumbnail

Artisanal Sourdough Baguettes

Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside-what’s better than a classic baguette? An artisanal sourdough baguette!
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Proofing/Fermenting Time: 10 hours
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: sourdough
Makes: 4 Baguettes
Author: Corey Grimsley

Equipment

  • Linen Couche
  • Wood Peel
  • 12x16” parchment paper
  • Baking Stone

Ingredients

Leaven

  • 25 grams sourdough starter fed and still at peak
  • 50 grams whole-wheat flour
  • 50 grams water filtered, 80ºF

Bread Dough

  • 125 grams leaven as prepared above
  • 600 grams water filtered, 80ºF
  • 625 grams bread flour
  • 175 grams whole-wheat flour
  • 18 grams salt I use Mortons Coarse Kosher

Instructions

  • Prepare the leaven. 
    Mix the starter and water in a small jar or bowl.  Add the flour and mix until there are no more dry lumps.  Cover and proof at 80ºF for four hours.  The leaven is ready to use when it has doubled in size, looks really active, and has bubbles breaking on the surface.
  • Make the dough.  
     In a large bowl, add the leaven and 600 grams warm water.  Stir to break up the leaven.  Add the remaining flours and mix with your hand until there are no more dry bits.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and rest for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle 18 grams of salt on the surface and pinch into the dough with a wet hand.  Continue to mix until all of the salt has dissolved.  Cover again and rest in a warm spot for 4 hours of bulk fermentation.
  • Bulk fermentation. 
    While the bowl is fermenting, you will need to stretch and fold the dough every 30 minutes.  With a wet hand, scoop one quarter of the dough from the bottom of the bowl.  Stretch upwards as far as it will naturally pull and fold it back onto the center of the dough.  Rotate the bowl and repeat three more times, so that all of the dough has been stretched.  Cover and place the bowl back in a warm spot to continue proofing.
  • Dividing the dough
    After the four hours are up, the dough will have grown substantially and will have a very supple texture.  At this point, quickly scrape the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface with a bowl scraper.  Divide the dough in four pieces with a bench scraper.  Starting with one quarter of the dough, bring the top, bottom, left, and right sides to the center-starting to form a ball.  Bring the remaining four corners to the center, tightening the shape.  Use the bench scraper to pick up the dough and flip over onto the seam.  Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • Shaping the dough
    To form the dough into the final baguette shape, flip one of the dough balls onto a well floured surface.  Loosen the top and bottom corners to from a long rectangular shape.  Pull the top edge down to the center, then bring bottom edge up to align with the top (just like you are folding a letter).  Press down on the seam close.  Repeat this once more, tightening the dough and forming a more cylindrical shape.  Starting at the center, roll out the dough to 16”.  Taper the ends slightly for an artisanal look (this is a sign that the bread was hand made!).
  • Final Proof
    For the final proof, you will need a linen couche or large linen kitchen towel.  Coat the fabric generously in flour and keep it close to your work area.  Once the baguette is rolled out to the final shape and size, transfer it onto the couche.  I use a thin plank of wood to do this, but a small cutting board would work just as well.  When you place the next baguette, gather up some of the fabric to create a wall between the two.  Each baguette should rest snugly against the next.  To support the ends, you can roll the excess cloth to form bookends or transfer it to a half sheet pan (it is the perfect size for this recipe!)  Once you have all four baguettes on the couche, cover it with a kitchen towel and rest for 2 hours.
  • Scoring and Baking
    Pre-heat your oven to 475º F with a ceramic baking stone on the middle rack and a heavy metal sheet tray on the bottom rack.  When you are ready to bake the first batch of baguettes, (the bread will bake in two batches) transfer the baguettes onto a sheet of 12x16" parchment paper set atop a  wood peel. Sprinkle flour on top and quickly make three diagonal slashes with a bread lame or razor blade.  To bake, quickly slide the parchment paper off the peel onto the hot baking stone.  Pour 1/2 cup of ice onto the hot baking tray.  This will allow the bread to steam for the first portion of the bake. 
    Bake at 475ºF for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 425ºF and remove the metal sheet tray (allowing the steam to escape from the oven for a few seconds).   Baking for 10 more minutes.  The outside will darken and form a beautiful crust.
  • Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing for the best texture.

Notes

  • For best results, feed your starter 8 hours before making the leaven.
  • Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.  
Did you try this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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About me

Corey Grimsley

I’m an artist and art restorer who spends an equal amount of time in the kitchen. Follow along as I put an artisanal touch on all of my bakes!

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