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- Combine the flour and salt in a clean bowl. Mix together the water and yeast and add to the flour. Add the sourdough starter. Bring all the ingredients together to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead until the windowpane effect is achieved.
- If, at the beginning, you find your dough a little wet, resist the temptation to add extra flour. The dough will come together; just be patient. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and allow to prove for 60 minutes.
- Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and knock back. Divide the dough into six even portions, approximately 250g each. Shape each portion of dough into a ball.
- Working with one ball of dough at a time, form a baguette. Flatten out the dough evenly into a rough rectangle. Taking the edge closet to you, roll the dough into a tight cylindrical shape, gripping the edges as you roll. The dough should resemble a sausage about 12cm in length. Using the palms of your hands, roll the dough out, starting in the middle and moving towards the ends. Roll the dough out to about 30cm in length.
- Using a well-floured tea towel, arrange the baguettes, seam-side up, side by side, with the tea towel acting as a barrier in between them. Set aside to prove for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to its highest setting.
- The dough is ready to bake if it quickly springs back when pushed lightly with your finger. Gently roll each baguette out of the tea towel and lift onto a baking tray. Score the baguette five or six times at an angle, with each incision overlapping slightly. Place the baguettes into the preheated oven and spray with water to create a burst of steam. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned.
“This dough strikes a great balance between the worlds of sourdough and yeasted loaves. It contains a little of the sourness and texture of a sourdough but with the lightness of a yeasted bread: light and crisp with the flavour and texture of sourdough. Baguettes should have a crisp crust without a dry interior, which means a short bake at a high temperature.”