Baguette? Oh, ho, ho, baguette!

Baguette

Guess who has two thumbs, speaks limited French, and only cried once today?  This moi!  In the past 2 days both my oven and my coffee maker have stopped working, a terrible combination when right now the main part of my mind is occupied with baking and with finishing my personal statement for law school applications.  Thankfully my grandma lives just around the corner and I was able to bake these baguette-oids at in her oven.  From what I’ve read online, baguettes are supposed to be a real challenge for novice bakers such as this myself, but since I love that crunchy, chewy, Gauloise-smoking stuff, I decided to give it a whirl.  I got the recipe from the King Arthur company because their picture of it just looked exactly how I wanted mine to come out.  They didn’t.  Not exactly, anyway.  Still, it was a fun experience; I love the idea of baking bread from starters, and though a little gluteny, my baguettes actually tasted pretty damn good.  They formed a nice crust too, though I didn’t “spritz” them with water because I don’t have a little bottle of the stuff like in Austin Powers 2, I just put a pan of water in the oven on the rack below the baguettes when I was baking them.  I heard that was supposed to work.

Baguettes

Baguette

Ingredients:

Starter:

1/2 cup water

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast

Dough:

All of the starter

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

Mix the starter ingredients together until you have a smooth mini-ball of dough.  Let it sit covered for 14 hours.

Dissolve the yeast in the cup of water with a pinch of sugar and let it bloom for 10 minutes, then combine with the rest of the dough ingredients and knead it together by hand or with a dough hook until you have a soft, cohesive dough, with a little roughness still to the surface.  You might need to add a little bit more water.  Let this rise covered with lightly greased plastic wrap for three hours, punching it down every hour.

Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out onto it.  Divide the dough into three equal pieces and form them into “rough, slightly flattened oval[s].”  Let these rest another 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.

Fold each piece of dough in half and seal the edge.  Fold it in half again, and then carefully shape into a log about 15″ long.  If you want to make a couche out of a floured dish towel, now is the time.  I just put them straight onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Anyhow, cover those bad boys up again and let them proof for another 60 – 90 minutes.

Baguettes after proofing

Preheat your oven to 450 and move the baguettes to a parchment-lined baking sheet or baguette pan or peel if you’re baking them on a stone. With a sharp knife, make a few slashes in each loaf at about 45 degrees.  Spritz them down with water or else do what I did and bake them with a pan of water below them in the oven.  Pop the baking sheet into the oven or transfer them to the stone and bake for 25 minutes.  Pull them out and cool them on a rack, or King Arthur suggests turning the oven off, cracking the door and letting them cool in there.

Baguette

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One Response to “Baguette? Oh, ho, ho, baguette!”

  1. dillerdesign Says:

    I was forgetting the name of the song that I wanted, and I stumbled upon this post while searching, and NO ONE has commented on the Flight of the Conchords reference of the title?! I am disappointed.

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