French Baguettes are the most famous symbol of French Culinary Culture and for this month’s Home Baker’s Challenge; Priya Suresh had suggested this recipe for us. This recipe is a very basic recipe with no fat in the dough and it absolutely yields crusty bread. I am also linking this bread to the weekly event, Love to bake, started by Sangee Vijay of Spicy treats. This is my first of many to come post for this week.
French baguette is a long thin loaf of French bread. It is characterized by its lean and long body and a crisp crust. The bread is steam baked in the oven, which just means that it bakes along with a pan of water. This way of baking creates steam which enables the crusty crust formation.
Preparation time – 10 mins plus 2 hours for resting the dough
Cooking time – 25-30 mins
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients – Makes 2, 14 inch loaf
- Bread flour – 2 cups (substitute with all purpose flour)
- Active dry yeast – 1 ¼ tsp
- Luke warm water – ¾ cup
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- In a small bowl add the yeast to the warm water along with the sugar. Keep it aside for 5-8 minutes until it is foamy.
- In the food processor bowl or a mixer bowl, add the flour and the salt and mix. Now add the yeast mixture and mix well to form dough. Knead the dough until it turns soft and elastic. The dough will be on the softer side and a little sticky.
- Keep the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it a kitchen cloth. Let it rise in warm place until it doubles in size (about an hour).
- Once the dough has proofed, punch it down and divide it into 2 equal balls.
- Working with one half at a time, stretch the dough to form a rectangle. Now fold over the 1/3rd of a dough and bring it towards the center of the rectangle. Using the heel of the palm, press down well on the fold.
- Now fold the other 1/3 rd of the dough towards the center and press down again. Now fold the dough in half one more time and pinch the seams to seal it well. Refer to the pictures below to shape the dough.
- Now repeat the same with the other half of the dough.
- Roll both the shaped dough evenly to lengthen it to approximately 14 inches long. Place the shaped dough in a parchment lined baking sheet and let it rise for about an hour one more time covered.
- Once the dough rises for one more time, brush them with water and make 3 to 4 cuts on the top of the dough about ¼ inch deep.
- Bake these for about 25-30 minutes in a preheated 400 F oven with a bowl of water in the bottom rack to create steam.
- Once the baguettes are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, remove them from the oven and cool them completely on a cooling rack before cutting.
- I served them for dinner toasted, with garlic butter!