Monday, November 3, 2008

Best French Baguettes

I am a sucker for buying things because of a great sample! I went to a craft show a month ago with some friends. While we were there, we got to sample the most fabulous french baguettes! I, of course, ended up buying the cookbook. An added plus: I got a hug and a kiss on the cheek from the author. She must've been really excited about selling those cookbooks! I haven't had time to make the bread until today. Unfortunately, I didn't have a baguette pan, and I made one loaf a lot chubbier than the other, but it tastes fabulous, so I thought I'd pass the recipe along!

French Baguettes (makes 2 loaves)

1 1/2 c. warm water, divided
1 1/2 T. (or 2 packets) active dry yeast
2 t. sugar, divided
3 1/4 c. all purpose unbleached flour
2 t. salt
Melted butter, for brushing on loaves

1. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 c. water, the yeast, and 1 t. of the sugar. Stir just to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Let the mixture stand about 5 minutes or until bubbly or foamy (mine actually bubbled over the 1 c. measuring cup I put it in!)
2. In a large mixing bowl blend the flour, salt, the remaining 1 t. of sugar, and the yeast mixture. Gradually add water, up to the remaining 1 cup (I had 1/4 c. that I never added), and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball that is not too sticky to handle. (If the dough ends up too sticky, add a little more flour.) Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

3. Cut the dough in half and shape the halves into baguettes (I don't know how to shape baguettes, but I rolled mine up like a super skinny cinnamon roll and tucked the edges under.) Grease a baguette pan (I didn't have these either so I just put both beside each other on a greased cookie sheet). Score the loaves down the middle (make a long, shallow cut), cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes or till doubled in bulk.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 and place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake the baguettes for 15 minutes or until they have a hollow sound when tapped with a knife. If desired, brush the tops of the loaves with butter halfway through baking. For a softer crust, brush with butter when they have finished baking.

**It's a LONG recipe, but was actually a cinch to throw together. We're having it tonight with spaghetti (IF there is any left by the time everyone gets home. I've already eaten 5 slices!)


Our Family said...

Oh warm bread is so tempting! I would be telling everyone in my family - yea the recipe only made 1 small loaf (since I secretly ate the other BIG loaf :) I am sure I will be making it this week since I now have a craving for homemade bread. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Vanessa said...

You're welcome! The 1st loaf is almost gone! I think I will have to resort to a lie.

Memzy said...

I'm salivating just looking at the picture! And personally I think yoyu looked like a HAWT pumpkin.

Stina said...

I am so going to make this! Especially when you say it's a cinch to whip together. Right up my alley!

homegirl said...

That looks yummy, I will give it a try! Thanks!

The Heaton's said...

Funny and Interesting! Kourtney and Kaitlyn were just talking about that bread last night at dinner! They couldn't stop laughing as they were telling Adam how all the girls kept sneaking back for more because it was the BEST stuff they had ever eaten! Thanks for the recipe! I can't wait to make it! I think Adam will be in heaven with fresh baguettes and his (can't live without) Nutella!