Tuesday, January 28, 2014

French Baguettes

I have to admit that with all the talk about the protests and riots and barricades in Kiev, it's made me think a little bit about Les Miserables. So, yesterday I decided to watch it. In the first half of the movie there are several references to bread so, naturally, I started making a couple of baguettes while I watched! I found a fantastic recipe on allrecipes.com, but the instructions only tell you how to make it in bread machine. I don't have one of those, so I adapted the recipe for making it by hand!

1 cup Warm Water
2½ - 3 cups Bread Flour
1 Tablespoon White Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1½ teaspoons Yeast

1) Put warm water, yeast, and sugar in bowl and let it sit about 10 minutes.
2) Add 2½ flour and salt. Mix until thoroughly blended, adding more flour as (and if) needed. Kneed for about 10-15 minutes.
3) Place in greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise a half hour, or until doubled in size.
4) Punch down dough. Roll out into large rectangle (about 16" x 12") and cut in half.
5) Roll each half into a loaf. Make sure to get the air bubbles out as you do this. Place loaves on greased baking sheet at least 3 inches apart. If you want to, now is the time to add those fun, decorative gashes. Cover with plastic wrap* and let it rise about a half hour, or until doubled in size.
*Now is a good time to start pre-heating the oven to 375 degrees.
6) Remove plastic wrap. Spray loaves generously with water and place in oven on center rack. The water will help make the crust more thick and crusty, the way a baguette should be. I have no idea why this works, but it does. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

We ate one last night with garlic spread (easiest and tastiest recipe ever. I'll share it soon) and tonight we'll probably make some bruschetta since we need to use the bread before it gets stale :)

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