Friday, July 1, 2011

Fresh French Baguette (a.k.a. I forgot to buy baguette so now I have to make some)!

I mentioned in one of my earlier post, last Friday was a holiday in Quebec and all the stores were closed. In the spirit of our upcoming trip to Europe we had decided to host a little European inspired lunch for our inlaws. So the night before my husband and I went grocery shopping for all the essentials. I should mention that it was right after a 5 à 7 and my mind was not exactly clear so I totally forgot to buy a baguette.

When I woke up the next day I realized the terrible mistake I had made and quickly realized that there was only one solution: to actually bake baguettes. I have made bread before, several different kinds and I have generally been successful at it, so I felt confident that I could do it. So I pulled out my trusty Joy of Cooking cookbook (by the way if I only had to have one cookbook this would be it! It covers all the basis and always comes in handy when you need a recipe) and quickly gathered all the ingredients for the recipe.

Small problem, I realized that I was also running low on yeast (which never happens, but of course it had to happen this day out of all days) and that I did not have the 2 1/4 teaspoon the recipe called for, but I decided to give the recipe a go anyways as I had no other solutions.

When I try a new recipe, especially one with yeast, I like to read it a couple times, to make sure I know how to proceed and I also avoid making it for guest the first time I try it just in case it does not turn out so well. But there was no time for that this time and in the end, everything worked out just fine!

The baguette was delicious (my husband who doesn't care for bread loved it so that's always a good sign) and I will for sure make it again. It was not super complicated (especially if you are using a mixer), it just required a long time to rise.

So moral of the story, don't be afraid to try new things even if they seem complicated at first 'cause it might just be delicious!

Bon appétit!

French Bread a.k.a. baguette

4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
1 1/2 cup water at 100F
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (I used my Kitchen aid mixer bowl) and make a well in the centre and pour in the water.
Stir thoroughly by hand or in a heavy duty mixer, until dough is soft and elastic, about 12 minutes on low speed.
Cover dough with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (I usually place my dough in the oven with just the light on and it does the trick) which will take about 2 hours.

Punch down the dough.
Divide the dough in half on a floured board and pat into 2 equal rectangles.
Form each into a baguette by rolling the dough, pressing outward with your hands and tapering the dough toward the ends until you have a long, thin loaf.
Place loaf onto a greased baking sheet (or you can use your silpat).
Cover the loaves with a wet clean cloth.
Let rise in a warm place until somewhat less than doubled.
Pre-heat the oven to 400F
In the bottom of the oven, preheat a baking pan filled with 1 cup of hot water (it should steam)

Bake the bread on the oven's centre rack for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and bake about 30 minutes longer.
Bake until the crust is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Let cool completely on a rack.
Gives 2 baguettes

No comments:

Post a Comment