The place where I work has recently started stocking sourdough baguettes. Chewy and satisfyingly sour, I knew the moment after I first tried one, I would have to make my own. The method is a little long-winded, but it's worth it, as the results are packed full of flavour.
Makes 6 medium baguettes
For the sponge:
150ml active sourdough starter (click here to see how)
250g stoneground Wholemeal flour.
For the baguettes:
300g strong white flour
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
Make the sponge by mixing the Wholemeal flour, water and sourdough starter together in a large bowl.
Cover the bowl the sponge is in with a tea-towel and leave to bubble up for at least 8 hours (it will be ready when it foams up and lots of little bubbles cover the surface).
When the sponge is ready, add the strong white flour, salt and oil and mix to form a dough (you may need more water depending on how wet your sponge was).
Place the dough in a bowl of a free-standing mixer (with the dough hook attachment) and mix for around 15 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
When the dough is ready, remove the bowl from the mixer, and cover it with a tea-towel.
Leave the dough to rise, for around 6 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Heavily dust your work surface with some strong white flour.
When the dough has risen, oil your hands with a little rapeseed oil (this will stop the dough sticking) and carefully remove the dough from the bowl, onto the work surface.
Divide the dough into 6 equal portions, and roll each one into a long sausage shape.
Place the sausages onto lined baking trays, and cover with a tea-towel.
Leave the baguettes to rise, for a couple of hours, or until they have noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees c.
When the baguettes have puffed up, bake them for around 15 minutes (remember to add steam), or until they are a deep golden brown.
Cool a little on a wire rack before serving.