I’ve fallen hard for these pointy sticks. Their beautifully exaggerative shape that starts with a thick center and transitions into dangerously sharp instruments at the ends. Colors stretching from the periphery of black to almost-too-light; contrast that elicits stares. A creamy and tender interior that’s so porous it soaks the butter inevitably spread thick during moments of eager anticipation. Pure sourdough baguettes are a tricky thing, I think, but when everything lines up just right all your past shortcomings discovered in testing vanish in an instant. All the trials and tests and tweaks fade away, leaving only a sense of accomplishment — that feeling of satisfaction that only comes when expectation and end result align.
These beautiful baguettes do take concerted effort and practice but the results are absolutely worth the work. Ok, technically these are demi-baguettes given their shorter stature and perhaps reduced dough weight, but the nature of this bread holds to the ideal. The slender shape, thin crust, and delicate interior simply exudes baguette, even if their specs are a little skewed.
I’ve been working on this recipe relentlessly, and if you follow me on Instagram you know this, but all the work put into these revolves around around the simple fact baguettes are just plain challenging. I find that beyond the required fermentation attention, flour selection, hydration adjustments, cold versus warm bulk decisions, and seeking that correct proof point, there’s the matter of coercing the dough delicately into the correct shape. As with many things, they simply require practice. Continue reading