I am not a baker. I crave fresh bread, warm cookies, and cake that doesn’t suck. These cravings are rooted in my childhood; a time spent in the company of two amazing bakers – my mom and my maternal grandmother. I’ve mastered a basic repertoire to quiet the beast, but baked goods are truly a “when the mood strikes” event for me. I still can’t make cake entirely from scratch, although my add-in skills are quite adept. Bread was historically vexing as well until I found this recipe for baguette in Cooking Light. It’s relatively quick and consistently good regardless of my hormonal barometer. I’ve made it for dinner parties, first cook at home dates, and just for the fuck of it by myself to be consumed with red wine, brie and Weimar cinema. It’s been so uncharacteristically successful that Yotam, a former beau, frequently asked for the recipe when he was single and having a lady over for dinner. In fact, I believe the last time I delivered the recipe to Yo was for a famous pasta date with Natalie, who is now his wife. Great success!

The required tools for this recipe cannot be circumvented. Measuring cups and spoons are necessary since baking is more science than art. However, the baking sheet upon which you bake the bread could be replaced by whatever you may have that is oven-proof and flat. I would recommend against anything other than metal, however, since it conducts heat in specific ways that other materials do not. The bread might turn out funny, if at all. Also, I don’t use cooking spray. Ever. I oil my bowl with olive oil. Since the dough retains some, you won’t have to worry about spraying the baking sheet either. Cornmeal is also optional.