I went through four bake cycles of various fermentation times and methods before I finally flipped the page to the Tartine Bread baguette dough and adapted it. It is certainly not just for baguettes – you can make a boule or batard, and adjust the weight of AP and bread flour used to vary the texture.
This makes two baguettes, one batard or one boule:
2g active dry yeast
125g water (75 degrees)
87g bread flour
163g all-purpose flour
I broke out the mixer and gave ‘er the hook to bring the dough together (Stir on my Kitchen Aid), then let it autolyse for 30 minutes. To speed bulk fermentation, I cranked it up to 8 until the dough released from the sides of the bowl. I gave it three turns, once every 40 minutes, then shaped it into a rectangle, placed it on parchment paper and let it bench proof for an hour before baking shielded in a cold oven set to 450 for 30 minutes, then unshielded at 450 for 20 minutes.
572g pre-bake dough weight (with losses). The finished bread came out feeling light, so I knew it was a good bake, and the post-bake weight confirmed it – 473g, 82.6% of dough weight. Considering that 225g of water was in the dough, losing 45% of the water weight during baking was great.
I should have pre-shaped the dough and let it bench rest before final shaping, and I should have let the final-shaped dough proof for another 30 minutes or so before baking, but after pulling paver after paver out of my oven, I was tired of baking. No matter, though – this is a loaf that makes me want to dig my meatballs out of the freezer.