- 1.5 cups warm water (115 F)
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 Tbs malt syrup or 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3.25 cups all purpose unbleached flour
Combine water, yeast, malt or sugar and let sit for 10 mins until mixture gets foamy and bubbly and aromatic. Add flour and stir in to form dough, let sit for 20 mins. Add salt, knead dough either by hand on a lightly floured surface or in a standing mixer with a dough hook until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 mins. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 1 hour. Turn dough out and form into a 8x6 inch rectangle, fold long sides in towards center and then short sides towards middle. Flatten gently and return to bowl (oil again lightly if necessary). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour. Preheat baking stone on middle rack of oven at 425 F, place a cast iron pan on lower rack. Punch dough down and divide in half for large baguettes or in 1/3s for smaller ones. Form into long thin loaves and place, seam side down, on floured parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 mins. Transfer bread, on parchment, to baking stone. Slash top of loaves a few times using a sharp knife to make 4" diagonal cuts. Bake for about 30 mins or until tops are deep golden brown and bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on baking rack.