Over the past two and a half years, my husband has mastered baguettes. They are dependably crusty on the outside, creamy on the inside, with a crumb full of irregularly sized holes. 

He starts by mixing up a poolish the day before the bake:

          250 g     bread flour
          250 g     water
              1 g     fresh yeast 

Then he leaves it covered, in a cool place, overnight. The next day it's full of bubbles:

The bubbles are carbon dioxide, which is released when the yeast consumes sugars in the flour:

To the poolish, he adds:

          250 g     bread flour
          125 g     water
              7 g     fresh yeast
              9 g     salt

The baguettes, shaped, scored, and ready to go into the oven:

For me, the most exciting part of bread making comes just after the loaves go in the oven. Within a few minutes, the bread "springs," puffing up beautifully from the heat of the 450 F (232 C) baking stone:

Twenty minutes into the bake, the crust is browning nicely (thanks to Maillard reactions):

Ready to eat:

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