One thing that I have been enjoying during this time is making bread. I feel like everyone is making sourdough – so being the contrarian that I am – I am making Baguettes.
One thing that is important to me is the size of the recipe. I feel like so often you find a bread recipe and 5 cups of flour later you have more bread than you could ever need. Even worse, what if the recipe didn’t turn out the way you expected and now you have just so much to get rid of. So for me I am always trying to find recipes where the quantities of ingredients are smaller.
This baguette recipe has just 2- 1/3 cups of flour and makes two skinny baguettes or one large baguette. You choose. The key to this one is letting the dough rest thoroughly in between each kneading. This helps to develop the flavor and texture of the finished bread.
When you mix this together the dough will initially be fairly sticky and might be a little lumpy too. This will go away as you knead the dough. Don’t be tempted to use flour until the very last step. In fact you will use a little spray bottle of water to help the dough stay off your hands when you knead. (The video will help to explain this)
You’ll also want to create a steamy environment to bake the bread in. Do this by placing a sheet tray on one of the lower racks in the oven and fill it with water. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees with the water filled pan in the oven. This steam helps the exterior of the bread to expand during the baking process. It will also give the crust a nice crispy and desirable texture.
Another tool that you might not recognize in this recipe is the couche. This is just a piece of linen cloth that you can work flour into and also keeps the shape of the baguette while keeping it covered during the last step of the rising process. If you don’t have a couche you can use a flour sack towel in the same fashion, if you find that you’re making baguettes often, you might want to invest in a couche – but you can definitely make do without.
Have I bored you enough? Hopefully not, here’s the recipe just in case you don’t want to watch the video
2 – 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup water (room temperature)