I have a home in France and truly love a good baguette! While this recipe can't match a master boulongier, it will give you a very tasty, serviceable baguette. I've worked with it for some time to get the result that I want. I hope you will enjoy it!
Add water, salt, butter and sugar to bread machine.
Add flour by measuring it off one half cup at a time and scraping off the measuring cup with a knife before adding to bread machine.
Make a small well in the center of the flour taking care not to reach the water. Place yeast in the well.
Run machine on dough setting. When finished, remove and punch down dough. Place dough in a large bowl that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Spray dough surface with cooking oil. Cover with a warm, damp towel and set aside to rise. While dough is rising, whisk egg and milk or cream together in a small dish until well combined.
When dough has doubled in size, punch down, form a ball and remove to a lightly floured surface. Cut dough ball in half and set one half aside. Flatten and lengthen remaining half, roll to remove crease, fold over, flatten and lengthen again. Continue this process 4-5 times until dough is the length of a baguette.
Place dough loaf in a bread baking pan and repeat with remaining dough. Once both loaves are in the bread pan, cut deep, diagonal slits in each loaf approximately one inch apart. The cuts should go almost but not all the way through the dough.
Brush the loaves with the egg mixture and set aside in a warm place to rise (approximately 20 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.
When dough has doubled in size, place in preheated oven and set timer for 10 minutes. At ten minutes, brush loaves again with egg wash and rotate pans. Cook seven to ten minutes longer depending on your oven. Loaves should be nicely browned. Remove and let cool in bread pan for 10 minutes. then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
This dough freezes extremely well. Once you have formed the dough into loaves but before you make the cuts, wrap tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and freeze. Let thaw in the refrigerator. Once thawed, remove from fridge, make cuts and proceed as above.