Saturday, May 24, 2008

Baguettes

This recipe is inspired by the books: The Baker's Apprentice and Amy's Bread.

This makes 3 loaves.

1 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup 105 to 115 degree water
3 cups unbleached flour ( I used 2 cups unbleached and 1 cup whole wheat)
1 cup cake flour
2 1/4 teaspoons canning or sea salt
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon 75 degree water

You do want to watch temperatures of water.

First Step:

Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl and stir with a fork. Let stand for 3 minutes.

Second Step (dry ingredients can be mixed before first step):

Combine flours and salt in a large bowl.
Pour cool water and yeast mixture over the flours.
I mix my flours and make a little bowl in the bottom where I pour the liquids and then I slowly turn the bowl as I mix the liquid and dry ingredients together.
Mix with fingers into a shaggy mass.

Third Step:

Lightly flour a workspace (make sure that it is not too high or too low of a space as your back can hurt after a while).
Knead the dough for 4 minutes until supple but not smooth.
Rest for 20 minutes covered with a wet towel.

Fourth Step:

Knead the dough 5 to 7 minutes until smooth, stretch and resilient.
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with oiled plastic wrap.
Let rise at 75 to 77 degree room for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Fifth Step:

Deflate--I just tumble it out onto the surface where I knead.
Shape it into a ball again.
Put back into oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
Let rise for 1 1/2 to 1 1/4 hour.
Repeat--1 1/4 to 1 hour and finally a 1 hour rising. I try to let it rise more than less. So it can rise as little as 3 times to as much as 4 times.

Sixth Step:

Lightly flour a workspace.
Pour out dough and use a dough cutter to cut it into 3 equal pieces.
Stretch each piece into a triangle
Fold top 1/3 down.
Fold bottom 1/3 up.
Form into a log.
Draw skin tight over the surface
Seal the seam.
Let relax while shaping the others.

Seventh Step:

Elongate loaves by rolling them back and forth on the surface, moving from the center to the edges.
Cover loaves with oiled plastic and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes.
They need to be plump but not doubled.

Eighth Step:

Preheat oven and stone to 500 degrees while the loaves rise.
If you have a baking stone, it needs to be in the oven and needs 30 minutes to heat up.
Put an empty pan in the bottom of the oven--you will be pouring water in this to create steam later.

Ninth Step:

10 min before baking
Uncover the loaves, make 3 to 5 slashes on each loaf with a sharp blade and mist with water.

Tenth Step:

Slide loaves on preheated stone (I have a special baguette pan but you can just put the bread on a pan or the cooking stone).
Pour 1 cup of hot water in pan below stone.
Bake 2 minutes.

Eleventh Step:

Mist loaves and sides of oven with water.
Bake 10 minutes.

Twelfth Step:

Mist again and reduce temperature to 425 degrees.
Bake 12 to 16 minutes until golden and crisp.

Thirteenth Step:

Cool and make dipping oil

Dipping oil:

Spicy--a dash of paprika, a dash of chili powder, a little Parmesan cheese and mix in dipping quality olive oil until you have a nice blend. We like ours to be a little more oil than spices.

Traditional--a dash of garlic salt, a dash of parsley, a little Parmesan and dipping oil.

Savory--a dash of Italian seasonings, a little Parmesan and dipping oil.

Enjoy.

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