This is my first official bread request, and it’s a doozy. It’s not that baguettes are difficult to make, but that there’s a certain Zen to them. Good baguettes are less a destination than a journey. They only have four ingredients — and in France can have nothing more by penalty of law — so the trick is in manipulating the variables of moisture, temperature, time and technique. And French bakers do that almost endlessly. Go to France and you’ll find baguettes that are long, stubby, tubular, flat, crunchy, soft, dense, airy, glossy, drab, chewy, tender, flavorful, bland…the list goes on.
So while I’m happy to honor this request from reader Linda, the best I can offer is a snapshot of where the Joe Pastry baguette is at this moment in time. I’m happy with it (and indeed I’ve fiddled with it on and off for years now), and it’s good. It’s just not as good as I hope that it one day will be. But unless I want to put off posting on it until some time in 2039, I’d better get cracking. Thanks for the request, Linda! This will do me good.