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Dad's Baguettes


500g/1lb 1oz strong white bread flour, (Shipton Mill French white type 55 bread flour)
3tsp/12g fast-action dried yeast
1.5tsp salt
1tsp sugar
300ml tepid water 200ml boiling 100ml cold
A little olive or sunflower oil for kneading


Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour in the water and mix.

Lightly grease a work surface with olive oil and turn out the dough. Fold the far edge of the dough into the middle, then turn the dough by 45 degrees and repeat. Do this several times until the dough is very lightly coated all over in oil.
Now use your hands to knead the dough: push the dough out in one direction with the heel of your hand, and fold it back on itself. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and repeat. Kneading in this way stretches the gluten and makes the dough elastic.
Do this for about 4 or 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Work quickly so that the mixture doesn't stick to your fingers.
Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 1 to 2 hours.
Knock back, and divide the dough into three equal-sized pieces and shape into three baguettes.
Place on a floured baking sheet or baguette tray and cover with a tea towel.
Prove until doubled in size, about 50 minutes.

Brush with very hot water and score with a sharp knife.
Bake in the preheated oven (240°C/475°F) for 20-25 minutes until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped underneath.