Translated & adapted from “Backen in Perfektion mit Hefe” by Lutz Geißler.
590g wheat flour (wheat 550, “bread flour” should work)
400g cold water
12g kosher salt
0.4g fresh yeast or 0.15g active dry yeast
couche/baker’s linen (ideally) or a floured tea towl (in a pinch)
two deep baking trays
Mix the dough and bulk ferment over 24h with two stretch and folds after 8 and 16h as described in the first few steps of the general instructions for yeast breads.
Preheat your oven and your baking trays to 250°C.
Divide the dough into four equal parts and pre-shape each into a ball. Let the dough rest on a floured surface, covered with a kitchen towel, for around 20min.
Flatten and degass each ball carefully with your fingertips and turn it into a roughly rectangular shape. Then roll it up bit by bit, really pressing the seams down each time, then lengthen it, tapering the ends. See this video by Brian Lagerstrom for the shaping technique. Place each in a fold of your floured couche. Cover and let rest for 40min.
Place the shaped baguettes on a piece of parchment paper (using a piece of stiff cardboard or a thin wooden board can help to transfer them from the couche). Using a lame, razor blade or just a really sharp knife, add 3-4 diagonal cuts to each of them, like this:
< / / / / >.
Slide them on one of the baking trays using the parchment paper, place it in the oven, than cover it with the other baking tray so the baguettes are enclosed between the two trays.
Reduce the oven temperature to 230°C and bake for about 25min.