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French Baguettes

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© 2011 Helana Brigman
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On a recent episode of Homemade is Best, Russ and I tackled the ever-popular French Baguette. We discussed the origins of the name, its ingredients, the variety of ways it can be made and so much more.  We also discovered that although baguettes are frequently identified as THE bread item in France, there is an ongoing debate that the bread was really a…shock…Austrian invention.

Austrian or not, French Baguettes are one of my favorite kinds of bread.  Long loaves with crackling golden brown crusts, the French Baguette has one of the highest crust-to-regular bread ratios I’ve ever had. It’s yummy, savory, and when made the right way, the baguette is not hard or stick-like, but soft and bouncy.

Check-out our most recent episode on iTunes, or here for a fun conversation on making this bread.  We walk listeners through the exact recipe below and with some surprising discoveries along the way.

French Baguettes

Yield: Makes 3 baguettes (4-6 servings each)

This recipe comes from one of my new favorite food and cooking blogs Kiss My Spatula.

Ingredients:

* 5 1/2 cups bread flour

* 2 tsps salt

* 2 cups warm water

* 3 tsps active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsps instant yeast)

Prep Day:

1.) Combine all ingredients in a Kitchenaid Mixer–first, add water and active dry yeast; allow yeast to active for five minutes.  Add flour and salt.  Using a mixing paddle, mix dough for 1 minute until fully combined and smooth.

2.) Allow dough to rest for five minutes.

3.) Attach kneading hook and knead dough for 2 minutes.  Dough will be smooth and nicely blended .

4.) Remove bowl from Kitchenaid Mixer and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate dough overnight (from 6-12 hours).

Bake Day:

1.) Remove dough 2 hours prior to baking.

2.) Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and cut into 3 10-ounce pieces (basically, third the dough).

3.) FORM THE BAGUETTES: shape dough into long rectangles and flatten.  Fold dough over/on top of itself and press dough together to create a seam.  Flatten and fold a second time.  Roll dough back and forth to the desired thickness and length.  Repeat with all 3 baguettes.

4.) Transfer dough to baguette pans.

IMG_0118.25.) Spray dough down with a regular cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel for 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s “1 1/2 times its original size.”

6.) About 45 minutes prior to baking, add a baking sheet with 1-inch sides to oven and preheat at 450F.  Baking sheet should be positioned on the wrack below the wrack the baguettes will be baked on.

7.) Remove plastic wrap/cover from dough 15 minutes prior to baking and score across the top.

8.) After 15 minutes, pour one cup of warm water into the baking sheet, be careful! You should have your hands completely covered with oven mits and you should be wearing long sleeves.  This step can lead to serious steam burns, so make sure to be covered when you add this water.

9.) Add baguettes to oven on the wrack above the steam pan.  Bake for 12 minutes and rotate.  Bake for an additional 15-20, or until crust is golden brown.

10.) Remove baguettes from oven and allow to cool for at least 35 minutes before cutting into it.

IMG_0141.2

Baguette

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  1. By Clearly Delicious » How to Poach an Egg on January 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

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