500g Strong Flour
3g Baking Powder
8g Dried Yeast
8g Sea Salt
340ml Warm Water
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and lukewarm water and add the sugar to easy activate the yeast. Stir well to dissolve. Add half of the flour and stir well to create a thick mixture with consistency of pancake batter. Cover and leave it in a warm place for 2-3 hours, until bubbles appear all over the surface.
2. Add the rest of the flour and salt. Stir well with a wooden spoon until well combined. Then transfer the mixture to a floured working surface and knead well until it forms into a smooth, soft and elastic piece of dough. Kneading method: fold the dough and use the wrist to push and stretch without tearing it. This helps gluten to develop. You can switch hands alternately.
3. Place the dough back to the mixing bowl. Cover with kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place (35-37°C or 95-98°F) for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
4. Carefully transfer the dough onto the working surface. Try not to deflate the gas inside. With a scrapper or a knife, divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Twist each portion inside out and form into a ball. Cover with kitchen towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.
5. Take out 1 portion, hold the side and bang it 3 times on the counter. Use the wrist of your hand to flatten it out roughly into a 20x10 cm (8x4 inch) rectangle. Roll it lengthwise and pinch the edges together. Place both hands on top of the dough, roll it back and forth on the counter, applying more pressure on your baby fingers than your thumbs to shape it into banh mi form (broader in the middle and slimmer at both ends)
6. Place the shaped dough on a piece of parchment paper and cover with kitchen towel. Let it rest for another 1 hour until it rises double in size.
7. Preheat oven and the baking tray at 230°C/450°F for at least 15 minutes before baking. Place a tray of hot water at the bottom of the oven.
8. To slash the baguette, use a paper cut knife or a razor blade, keep it at 45° angle, and make a quick and determined slash across the dough lengthwise. Bake immediately after slashing.
9. Remove the preheated baking tray from the oven and lift up the parchment paper to transfer the shaped dough onto the tray. Spray water on both sides of the oven and on the dough.
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 230°C/450°F. After the first 8 minutes, spray water one more time on the baguettes and rotate the baking tray or the parchment paper to bake the baguettes evenly.
11. If the bottom part of the baguettes is not as golden as the upper part, remove the water tray and lower the baking tray. Turn off the heat and let the baguettes sit in the oven for a few more minutes. The crust of the baguettes will continue to crack after removed from the oven. Listen to the beautiful tiny cracking sound!