Flour, Water, Salt and a process dictated by law
As most people know, French citizens take their bread seriously. That is why in 1993 to protect the bakers from industrial bread, a law was passed to legislate the ingredients and process that makes a baguette de tradition.
The main difference between a baguette and a baguette de tradition are :
The quality of ingredients
The time involved.
The flour used in a baguette de tradition shouldn't contain any additives. The only other ingredients allowed are water, salt and yeast (up to 0.2% of the total flour weight).
The baguette de tradition involve a slow fermenting process due to the fact that it's mostly made of sourdough.
What is a Sourdough ?
A sourdough is a mix of flour and water that will ferment using "wild yeasts" contained in the air. Organic and wholemeal flour is best use to start a sourdough. Once active, any flour can be used as long as it doesn't contains any additives.
Making your baguette.
To make your baguette, you'll need an active and fed Sourdough starter, T.65 tradition flour, Salt (preferably sea salt), yeast and water.
You'll also a clean dish cloth, a bowl and a thermometer (important).
For the recipe : (yields 2)
500g T.65 Flour
325g Water @ 25°C
4g Fresh Yeast
100g Sourdough Starter
The Process :
Mix the water and flour together for 3mn on a low speed. Cover and let rest for 1h. This is called an autolyse and will help breakdown the gluten to promote the elasticity of the dough.
After 1h add the rest of the ingredients and mix for 9mn on a low speed. The temperature of the dough at the end of mixing should be around 23°C.
Let the dough rest covered for 1h and give it a fold. Store in the fridge overnight (up to 14h).
The next day weigh up pieces at 400g and shape into a baguette. Place on a dish cloth covered with flour
Let prove for 1h at 25°C.
Preheat the oven to 230°C with a bowl of water at the bottom of the oven. Place the baguette slowly onto a tray, mark the bread with a knife or razor blade. Place on the lowest shelf of the oven and bake for 25mn. Remove the bowl of water 15mn after putting the bread in the oven.
Tap the bottom of the baguette, if they sound hollow, they're cooked. Remove from the oven and cool down on a rack.