Makes 3 x 7.5 oz (220g) baguettes. Make dough a day ahead.
In a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, mix on low speed: water, yeast, flour, semolina, and salt for 15 min. Transfer dough in a oiled container and let ferment for an hour or until double in size. Deflate dough on countertop and put back in the container, cover and chill overnight.
Slow mixing and fermentation process allows for more complete hydration of the starches, and more gluten development. An enzyme called protease, which is naturally occurring the flour, breaks some of the long gluten bonds, making the dough more extensible. Thus, creating more flavors through alpha-amylase action converting starches into sugars.
Transfer dough on a floured work surface without deflating it. Divide into 3 equal portions and shape into rectangles. Let rest 45 minutes; covered.
To shape a baguette, give a gentle patting folding and pressing with the heel of your hand as if you were folding a business letter. Elongate each baguette, by rolling it back and forth on the work surface with both hands over the center of the loaf and work them out to the ends until the baguette reaches the desired length. At this juncture, baguette can be coated with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. To do so, moisturize baguette on a wet kitchen towel and toss in seeds.
Arrange baguettes (seam side down) over a floured baker's couche. Cover and let proof for about 90 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
Position rack in the lower third of conventional oven or on baking setting only with an upside-down baking tray or a pizza stone to create more thermal mass. Preheat oven to 500°F (260ºC).
Score baguette using the tip of a razor blade or sharp knife. Carefully transfer baguette onto the hot pizza stone. Throw a couple of ice cubes to create steam or spray water*. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool bread on wire rack. Enjoy!
*Steam in oven (optional). To get the most volume from your bread, you need to slow down the formation of the crust. The slower the crust forms, the more time the dough has to expand by adding steam to the oven. Using a spray bottle, water quickly around the internal surface once bread is in.