1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 T dry yeast
sprinkle of sugar
set aside 5 minutes
4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T salt
3) Slowly add yeast mixture to flour while stirring (in mixer with a dough hook). Mix for 15 minutes until dough is formed into ball.
4) Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
5) Divide dough into 2 and squash each with the heel of your hand for about 2 minutes, then roll it (still with your hands) out to a baguette shape. Set on a floured towel and cover to rise for 45 minutes
* if you want to, you can wrap the other piece of dough up in plastic wrap and save for 24- 48 hours instead of using it immediately. When you are ready to use it, give it about an hour at room temp and then proceed with the shaping and 45 minute second round of rising.
6) Preheat oven to 450 F and add a small pan with water on lower rack.
Transfer baguette to cooking pan. Make a series of slashes along the top. Place baguettes in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
7) Remove water pan and lower oven temp to 400 F. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Just before you are ready to take it out, brush with butter to get a nice color on it.