~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Friday, March 27, 2009

Homemade Baguettes





Homemade Baguettes... I love making bread! Ever since I tried making bagels, I have been fascinated with bread baking. I used to be so scared of working with yeast dough, that I put it off for many years. When I moved to Montana, a few years ago, I decided it was time for me to at least attempt a bread recipe. I went to the library and picked up a book on bagels...I think it was by Nigella Lawson. She made it look so easy ... not so intimidating. I tried it and loved it! Since then, I have been on a quest to try a new bread recipe every so often...

I know some bread recipes don't always come out the way you expect it. But the more you try, the more experience you gain. You get a better feel of how the dough should be ....it in turn becomes easier and not so intimidating. I have to admit that I bake 80% of my breads at home. I have never attempted making baguettes before, but I have always wanted to... for such a very long time. Well, I've finally attempted them!

The recipe has quite a few steps, but I think it was worth it! I made a double batch(why go through all that work and get just a couple of loaves?!)... and since my oven stone is not big enough, I made smaller baguettes (than the original recipe). As always, I freeze all my breads. They last so much better. Just reheat in the oven and they will become just as crisp. With the baguette, I made some flank steak sandwiches with caramelized onions and peppers...delicious! Hope you enjoy...

You will need: The recipe was adapted from America's Test Kitchen Baking cookbook. Makes 2 large baguettes or 4-5 smaller loaves(12 inches)


Sponge~
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup warm water(110 degrees)
1/2 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
Dough~
3 -3 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water(110degrees)
1 1/2 tsp salt
Glaze~
1 large egg beaten with 2 TBS water

Directions: This recipe requires 2 days... so plan ahead.


Day 1:
Make the sponge:
1. In a medium bowl, stir all of the ingredients until combined. You will need to cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
2. Let it sit at room temp until the sponge has risen and fallen at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours. I made mine in the late afternoon and started on it in the morning.
Day 2:
1. In a mixer bowl, fitted with the dough hook, combine 3 cups of the flour and yeast.
2. On low speed, add water and mix until the dough comes together. It will be about 2 minutes.
3. Stop the mixer and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temp for 20 minutes.
4. After the 20 minutes, remove the plastic wrap and add the sponge from the previous day.
5. Add the salt and knead the dough on med-low for about 8 minutes.
6. After about 4 minutes, if the dough is still sticking to the sides if the bowl, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, 2 TBS at a time. The dough should not stick to sides only to the bottom of the bowl.
7. Complete kneading the dough for the additional 4 minutes. You should have kneaded the dough for a total of 8 minutes.
8. Turn the dough on a lightly floured counter top.
9. Form into a ball.
 
10. Place the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with greased plastic wrap.
11. Let rise in a warm place. Like with all my breads I let it rise in a cozy oven. (I turn on the oven for about a minute and then turn it off. ...it should feel just cozy, not hot or too warm.).
12. Let rise 1 hour.
13. After the initial 1 hour rise time, you will need to turn the dough 2 times. Slide a bench scraper under one side of the dough. Gently lift and fold 1/3 of the dough toward the center.
14. Repeat with the other side.
15. Finally, fold the dough in half perpendicular to the first folds. This should be a rough square.
16. Let it rise for 30 minutes . Repeat the process of turning and folding.
17. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
This process stretches the dough gently and ensures that the sheets of gluten in the bread provide the proper structure and strength.
18. Top a large rimless(or inverted) baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter top.
19. Divide it into 2 loaves(I divided mine in 4-5 pieces as my baking stone is too small).
20. Shape each piece into a baguette and lay each piece seam side down. Space them about 4-5 inches apart.
Shaping the baguettes:
1. Work with one piece at a time. Gently pat the dough into a rectangle.
2. Gently fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center. Press to seal.
3. Bring the bottom of the dough up to the top and seal.
4. Flour your hand and create a large crease down the middle.
5. Pinch the top and the bottom of the dough together making sure it is secure.
6. Gently roll the baguette back and forth to make a long log.
7. Lay each piece seam side down unto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Remember to space them.
8. Mist the baguettes with vegetable oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.( I didn't cover them with plastic wrap).
9. Let rise in a warm place till doubled about 1 hr to 1 1/2 hr.
10. After about 40 minutes of rising time prepare your oven. Adjust your oven rack to the lower-middle position. Place a baking stone on the rack and heat the oven to 500 degrees F.
11.  Let the baking stone heat for 30 minutes but no longer than 1 hour.
12. After the baguettes have doubled in size, score them with 1/2 inch slashes. Use a very sharp knife or a sharp blade.
13. Brush the breads with egg-water mixture. Carefully slide the breads and parchment paper unto the baking stone.
14. IMMEDIATELY reduce the oven to 425 degrees F. Don't forget this step.
15. Bake until golden and center of bread registers at 210 or about 25 minutes. Rotate loaves halfway to ensure even browning. I don't think I bothered with turning them.
16. Let cool for about 30 minutes. This bread is amazing for steak sandwiches. Delicious!

12 comments:

Andreea said...

Hi Ellie,

I'm shocked there is no comment for this post. :)
Absolutely superb!!
I did try a baguette, after Julia Child's (maybe adapted) recipe and even if I was satisfied with the result, it was not a ''wow'' baguette. Yours really looks like a wow :) one. Must try it!!

You have really great recipes here! :) I'm so glad I found you!

Ellie said...

Andreea, That's sweet of you...thank you! I love your blog and I am looking forward to trying some of your recipes as well:)

We loved this bread...ATK has a similar technique as Peter Reinhart does... the stretch and fold... but they have you do it in the bowl. which is kind of interesting. But the idea is very similar.

But Andreea, you already know how to make such BEAUTIFUL bread...and you continue to amaze me!

Thanks for your comment:)

Alexa Christi said...

Very nice baguettes, Ellie!
Greetings from Hungary! :)
I also like your tortilla recipe, I am very happy to meet you! Alexa

Ellie said...

Alexa, Thank you so much! So kind of you to stop by... all the way from Hungary:).
It is really nice to meet you as well! I am glad you like the recipes, and thank you for sharing your feedback.
Have a wonderful day!

Becca said...

Just found your blog, I can't wait to try this recipe! ...along with some other recipes of yours :) looks amazing!

Ellie said...

Becca, Welcome, and thanks for stopping by...
I am hoping you will have success with this recipe and any others you may try:)... it would be good if you like at least one:).

Anonymous said...

Glad I found your blog. I was looking for tortillas and found you! :)

Ellie said...

Anon, So glad you stopped by... the tortillas are simply amazing:)... Hope you enjoy them.
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Hello Ellie and greetings from the Scottish Highlands! We don't get our bread fresher than 3 days old up here, and I bake all of it myself. This is the third time I am using your recipe for baguettes, and it has never failed me. However, I replace half of the flour with wholemeal flour, and it still turns out amazing. Thank you for the recipe. All the best, anansigirls

Ellie said...

Anansigirls, Oh, that's wonderful! SO glad you like the recipe. It made my day:)! And thanks for stopping all the way from Scotland! Love to hear from my readers from all over the world...

I really appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback, I'm thrilled to hear that it works even with part wholemeal.

Your family is blessed that you make the bread fresh for them. It must be hard when you don't have fresh bread available, but sometimes the homemade version is best:).
Warm regards to you and your family all the way in Scotland.

Kalispell Karin said...

Mmm...this recipe is definitely a keeper! Baked a batch last night, and although they flattened a bit during the last rise, the look, flavor and texture are pure perfection. A pro chef friend even asked for the recipe after seeing my photos on Facebook! Of course, I sent him your way! :-)

Ellie said...

Kalispell Karin, Oh, that's just wonderful! So glad you took the challenge to make the baguettes:). Am totally proud of you:). Obviously, others thought the same...

Made my day to hear that you enjoyed the recipe... am always touched to hear the feedback from those who try the recipes from the blog and have success. So, thank you for taking the time to write. Really appreciate it!