Baking bread may seem daunting (and we’d never call it easy), but 2941 bread master Patrick Deiss helps demystify the process as he demonstrates how to make a French baguette—with a yeast starter called poolish—in the video below. The chef de cuisine-turned-baker recently overhauled the French/American restaurant’s bread program and now bakes fresh loaves twice a day.
Get the recipe after the jump.
Makes 1 pound and 5.2 ounces of poolish and 4 baguettes.
Make the poolish:
1⁄8 teaspoon instant dry yeast
10.6 ounces water at 75 degrees
10.6 ounces bread flour (preferably King Arthur brand)
Make the poolish the night before you plan to make the bread. In a large mixing bowl, add the yeast to the water, mix briefly, then add the flour and mix by hand or with a spoon until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel for 12 to 15 hours. Store at 68 to 73 degrees.
Make the baguette dough:
5 cups bread flour (preferably King Arthur brand)
1½ cups water at 75 degrees
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 pound and 5.2 ounces poolish
Spray bottle filled with water
Add all the ingredients for the baguette dough, except the salt and the spray water, to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Mix on speed 1 until the water, poolish, and flour are mixed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel for 20 minutes to 1 hour.
Return the bowl to the stand mixer and add the salt. Mix on speed 1 then 3 to bring the dough together. Check the dough’s taste, and mix on speed 2 for about 3 minutes more. The dough should come together, hold its shape, and have some resistance when it’s pulled at. The temperature of the dough should be approximately 76 degrees when it’s done.
To check the dough, wet your hands and stretch a small piece to make sure the dough is transparent and tears away from your fingers smoothly.
Fold the dough into a large ball, placing the folds underneath. Place the dough into an oil-sprayed bowl and cover with plastic or a towel. Set in a lukewarm place (such as the top of the oven) and let the dough ferment for 2 hours, folding the dough once after the first hour.
Divide the dough, using a scale, into 12-ounce pieces and pat out any large air bubbles. On a floured board, roll each piece into a cylinder, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes.
Roll each cylinder into a flat rectangle. Fold the side closest to you in half, then turn the dough to the opposite side and repeat. Pinch each folded piece of dough into a long, thin cylinder. Roll each one into a baguette shape.
Preheat the oven to 460 degrees. Set a pizza stone or inverted sheet pan in the oven while it’s heating.
Place the baguettes on a parchment-lined sheet pan or wooden board, cover, and let sit for 1 hour or until the volume has roughly doubled.
Just before baking, score the bread with a sharp knife or razor and spray both the oven and baguettes with water (just a touch on the dough). Place the baguettes in the oven by sliding the parchment paper onto the hot stone or sheet pan.
Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, checking the color and crunch toward the end.