Quick French Baguettes
(2 good sized baguettes)
2 cups very warm water (not hot)
2 1/4 t yeast
2 T honey
1 1/2 t salt
3-4 cups flour
Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, whisk together warm water, yeast and honey. Set the bowl on top of the preheating oven for 10 minutes. Stir in the salt and add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft but not sticky. Knead the dough until elastic.
Cut the dough into4 even pieces. Roll each piece into a long, thin rope. Twist together 2 of the ropes to form one loaf. Repeat with the other 2 ropes to form the second loaf. Transfer both onto a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
You can now bake the loaves right away (if you are in a hurry) or allow them to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.
Now for the secret: Fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice cubes. Open your oven and place the baking sheet with the baguettes inside, then toss the ice cubes on the *bottom of your oven and quickly shut the door. DO NOT open the door for 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown 15-18 minutes. Rub the tops with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven.
*I have a gas oven, when I put the ice on the bottom of the oven it leaked out and made a mess of water on my floor. I suggest putting foil or a second baking sheet on the bottom of your oven to toss the ice onto.