So what does one do when it’s just too darn cold to go outside? This inn keeper watches movies, knits and tries new recipes.
Byron and I were watching one of our favorite cooking shows- The Great British Baking Show and I was taken with Paul Hollywood’s demonstration of his French Baguettes. I was thrilled when I found the recipe on-line. Our first Dine Inn package is this next weekend, and I thought fresh baked baguettes would be perfect with our cheese and antipasto platter.
I just love bread, especially when it’s warm. This recipe is easy to make, with very simple ingredients and a few extra pieces of equipment that are well worth the purchase, and oh my goodness…….the results are astounding! Let’s just say that Byron and I made a complete dinner of bread and cheese and were in seventh heaven.
On the cooking show Paul mentioned that the bread was crunchy on the outside and filled with air pockets on the inside. The simple techniques of handling the dough gently really works. I can honestly say that the baguettes I made in two hours this afternoon is the ABSOLUTE best bread I have had in a very long time.
- 500 grams white bread flour
- 10 grams salt
- 10 grams fast action yeast
- 13 oz. water, warm (not too cold and not too hot)
- olive oil for greasing
- Lightly oil a 4 pint square plastic container. (the square container is important as it helps shape the dough as it is rising) I used a Glad plastic 13 cup storage container that we use to freeze our molasses cookies. Weigh your dry goods on a kitchen scale and place in the bowl of a free standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. It's important to not have the yeast come in contact with the salt. I mixed the flour and salt together in my mixer bowl and then added the yeast on top.
- Add three quarters of the water and mix on a slow speed until the dough comes together. The add the rest of the water and mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, until you have a glossy, elastic dough. Tip the dough into the prepared container. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until it is a least double in size.
- Dredge a linen couch with flour and lightly dust the work surface with flour.
- Carefully tip the dough onto the floured work surface. Rather than knocking it back and forth, handle it gently so you can keep as much of the air in the dough as possible. The dough will be wet to the touch but lively.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces with a dough knife or a bread knife. Shape each piece into an oblong by flattening the dough out slightly and folding the sides into the middle. Then roll each up into a sausage- the top should be smooth with the joint on the bottom. Now beginning in the middle, roll each sausage with your hands. Don't force it out by pressing heavily. Rather use a backward/ forward motion to roll out the dough evenly to be a 12" long roll.
- Lay a baguette along the edge of the linen couche and pleat the couche up against the edge of the baguette. Place another baguette next to the pleat. Repeat the process until all four baguettes are lined up against each other with a pleat between each. Cover the baguettes with a clean kitchen cloth and leave for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place a roasting pan on the bottom section of your oven.
- When the baguettes have risen place them on two cookie sheets. Dust lightly with flour and use a razor blade or sharp knife to slash each baguette four times on a diagonal.
- Fill the heated pan with hot water and immediately place the baguettes in the oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the baguettes are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
After eating 2 loaves of bread we also had the thought that this would be perfect for an occasional afternoon tea served with wine and cheese. Bon Appetit!