Baguette Thoughts – Baguettes are an interesting bread. In France, where they’re a symbol of French culture, laws dictate the ingredients and customs dictate their distinctive shape. Don’t even think of using more or less than 5 slashes when scoring the dough if you don’t want the baguette police hauling you off to Devil’s Island. For many a home baker, striving for baguette perfection is a life journey. Making a great baguette is indeed one of the most demanding tests for bread bakers. Achieving excellent results consistently is normally the domain of skilled professional bakers with expensive steam injected ovens. However, even “pretty good” results from your own home efforts can be at least very enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to fail. There is no real downside risk in trying.
As with any bread recipe, baguette variations abound. Feel free to mess with this recipe. If you want a little more flavor and nutrition, add some whole wheat flour. I had a mostly durum flour baguette once that was great. Get crazy and roll the dough in sesame seeds before baking. Try increasing the amount of water in the recipe for a more open crumb (getting big holes in bread dough can be its own obsession).
There are even stuffed baguettes — you’ll need to Google that one. Most of all, have fun and find what works best for you.