I’m terrible at keeping secrets. Which is why one of the greatest secrets I’ve ever kept–how to make fantastically crusty European baguettes–is a secret I’m about to spill. I don’t know why I can’t just keep it inside. There’s something quite enjoyable about being the only person in my neighborhood that makes insane baguettes. Soft and flaky on the inside, crisp and crusty on the outside. Perfect for tearing into handfuls and chewing alongside your favorite pasta, your favorite cheese, your favorite slab of butter. These baguettes are just perfect. And they can be made in about 30 minutes using only 5 everyday ingredients. Which makes them even better than perfect. Total bliss.
- 2 cups very warm water
- 1 packet yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven for ten minutes. Stir in the salt and add the flour a half-cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft but not sticky. Knead the dough until elastic.
Cut the dough into four even pieces. Roll each of them into four long, thin ropes. Twist together two of the ropes to form one loaf. Twist the other two ropes together to form a second loaf. Transfer both onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
You can now bake the loaf right away (if you’re in a hurry) or allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.
Now for the SECRET: Fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice. Open your hot oven and place the baking sheet with the baguettes inside, then toss the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door. Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.
Serve fresh and hot with your favorite olive oil for dipping.