From left: Wheat baguettes; spelt baguettes

I came across this excellent no-knead recipe on Baking a Moment. Creating steam in the oven produces a crunchy crust. I added slightly more yeast for the spelt version. This is the start of a week of baking in memory of France. We had tickets booked to Paris for July 2020, would have been our first trip back in 10 years. Really hoping it's not another 10 years before I can savour real French bread and pastries again.

Makes 4 small loaves

1/4 c warm water

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

450 g flour

2 tsp salt

up to 300 ml cool water

Mix warm water and yeast in a small bowl and leave to froth for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl mix the flour and salt. Make a well and pour in frothy yeast. Add cool water a little at a time until a stiff, shaggy dough forms. You may not need all of the water. Cover the bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface, press into a rectangle and fold into thirds. Rotate 90 degrees and fold again into thirds. Place back into an oiled bowl, cover and let proof for around an hour until double in size.

Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each one into a thin loaf about 30 cm long with pointed ends. 

Place each one on a tray covered in a floured tea towel with a fold in between each loaf, creating a couche. Cover and let rise until double in size.

Preheat oven to 230C. Place an ovenproof dish on the bottom.

Uncover the baguettes and transfer to 2 lightly floured or greased baking trays. Sprinkle with flour and make 4 slashes on the top of each one with a sharp knife or razor.

Put the baguettes in the oven. Pour about 500 ml of boiling water into the dish to create steam i. Bake until crusty and brown, around 25-30 minutes. The bread should make a hollow sound when tapped.
Best eaten the day it's made but will keep wrapped at room temperature for a few days. Crisp up in the toaster or oven. Cut the baguette into slices if you want to freeze it.
You can also shape the dough into small balls to make dinner rolls.