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Since it’s soup season (finally it’s not 90F anymore, although we went straight from air conditioning to turning on the heat…where was the gentle transition to autumn?!?), that means I make a lot of rolls, biscuits, bread, and muffins as sides. These crusty baguettes are great because they can be made last minute and still have the characteristic crunchy crust and soft, warm center. The trick is baking it with steam!

2 cups very warm water
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 425F and place an empty baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven. In a large bowl, whisk together water, sugar, and yeast. Set bowl atop the preheating oven for ten minutes to allow yeast to activate. Once frothy, slowly stir in the salt and flour until a soft but not sticky dough forms. Continue kneading until elastic. Cut the dough into four even pieces and either twist two together at a time to form two larger loaves or roll out four smaller loaves. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment, a baking mat, or greased with cooking spray. You can bake immediately but if you have an extra 15 to 30 minutes to let them rise, they’ll be even more delicious. When ready to bake, place the dough in the oven and dump a large cupful of ice on the hot, empty baking sheet, which will create the steam needed to give the bread its characteristic chewy crust. Immediately shut the oven and bake at least fifteen minutes without opening the door. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes or until bread is firm and hollow when thumped. I turned on the broiler for two minutes at the end to give the bread its golden color. Serve warm aside soup, with cheese, or to dip in olive oil and cracked pepper.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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