Ohhhhhh, baguettes… a reminder of the simple life… with the best French wine and cheese, of course! If you’re new to baking bread, please do refer to my comprehensive explanation (step by step with photos) here.
- 500 g white bread four
- 10 g yeast (use 25% less for dried yeast)
- 10 g salt
- 350 g warm water
HOW TO PREPARE THE BAGUETTE DOUGH – STEP BY STEP:
- First measure out your ingredients else you’ll have dough all over the show
- Sift flour and mix in yeast (if live then break the yeast into small pieces and rub into the flour with your fingertips)
- Add the warm water and mix (I always use my hands – VERY scrumptious but VERY messy, so use a spoon if you prefer)
- Add the salt (once the flour, yeast and water have combined)
- Knead the dough (by pulling it away and up towards you and then SLAPPING it down again onto the surface …until such time as it becomes less sticky and gains a silky texture)… be patient… carry on working it… it WILL change from sticky to smooth!
- HOT TIP: Trap as much air as you can as you fold the dough over and back into itself
- Once the dough is smooth, pat the dough into a ball-shape and place it in a bowl in a warm place (cover with a cloth or plastic but be sure to allow space for the rising of the dough) until it doubles in size
HOW TO SHAPE THE BAGUETTE DOUGH – STEP BY STEP
- Once the dough has doubled in size, it’s ready to be shaped!
- Help the dough drop out of the bowl by scraping from its underside (be gentle)
- Roll the dough into itself (feed the outside into the inside) to make it TIGHTER and stronger
- Roll it into a tight sausage roll shape
- Slice the roll into two pieces (or whatever size you wish but if dividing then weigh out same-size pieces – so as to allow for even baking) and roll each piece into a tight sausage roll shape
- Work & roll the ends of each ‘sausage roll’ under your palms so that they become thinner – leave the centre section so that it remains wider
- Slash the top of the bread with a blade or a knife & dust with flour (the slashes allow the bread to release tension as it bakes)
- Place in the oven to prove (rise again) on 50 degrees celsius with a bowl of water at the bottom of the oven OR simply cover the bread and place in a warm, sheltered place… until it has expanded in size (30 to 45 minutes)
- Preheat the oven to 180-200 degrees celsius (I prefer to go HOT so that I get a good crust) and spray with water before adding the baguettes… keep an eye on them… they will be ready as soon as they are brown… test for readiness by tapping on the underside.. . if there is a hollow sound, they are ready
PS. This bread is also great with nothing more than butter and honey. In which case forget the wine and have a cup of tea!