Thursday, January 04, 2007

Homemade baguettes? Oui, oui!

French Bread (Baguette)
Easy Bread Machine Recipes Copyright 1997

2 ½ C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T rye flour
1 ½ tsp yeast (rapid rise – increase by 25% for regular active dry yeast)
1 C water
2 tsp salt
cornmeal for the baking sheet

Topping (optional) I didn't use the topping
1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 tsp water
poppy or sesame seeds

1. Load the ingredients in your machine (except the topping) and set it on the dough cycle. When the beeper sounds, remove the dough to a bowl, cover it and let it rest for 30 minutes.
2. Dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough may be rather wet and sticky. It’s supposed to be. You may even want to wet your hands to handle the dough. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions (or make one long loaf; it depends on your oven). Use a rolling pin to roll each piece into an oblong about 4 to 5 inches wide, and maybe 14 to 16 inches long, and ¼ inch thick. Fold one long side over the other, press the sides together tightly, pinch the seam to seal it, and lay it, seam side down on a cornmeal-covered cookie sheet (or baguette pan). Taper the ends, pinching to seal them.
3. Sprinkle or brush the top with water. Ooops! I forgot this. Let the bread logs rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in bulk.
4. You can either leave the outsides plain or brush the tops with the egg wash topping and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Heat your oven to 500 degrees F.
5. With a sharp knife or razor blade, make 3 or 4 cuts about ¼ inch deep diagonally across the top of the risen bread logs. These are the ‘jets’ that help excess gas to escape during baking.
6. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown in a 500 degree F oven, with a pan of hot water in the bottom, or toss in some ice cubes after 5 minutes of baking. I only baked mine for 18 minutes. I might have been able to stand a few more minutes but it was cooked through.

I needed a baguette for a recipe and well, with my son's peanut allergy bakery items are pretty much off-limits. So I made my own baguette - two baguettes actually.

I was pleased with the results. I'm not a baguette expert so I don't know if this was exactly a true baguette but I liked it. It was chewy and had excellent flavor. The breads from the supermarket bakeries around here all tend to be the same, just in different shapes. They have very little 'body' to them - if you have even a bit of moisture in your sandwich filling, the bread practically disintegrates.

I picked up this cookbook for $1.99 in Ollie's because it included recipes that fit my bread machine. I have a dual loaf bread machine and each loaf pan can only handle a 1 lb loaf, and I've found that many bread machine recipes start at the 1 1/2 lb size making it difficult for me to find recipes but this one either has recipes like this one that fit into any size bread machine or they give more than one version of the recipe if it needs to be scaled differently, for different sized machines. Well, they consider three sizes 1, 1 1/2 and 2 lbs. I'm not sure if bigger machines exist or not.

I'm definitely going to be baking more bread, that's for sure.

Blast From The Past: Picadillo a la Marlen from January 2006. I put this on the menu for next week since I have everything to make it. It's one of my favorites.

Question of the Day: Do you bake your own bread?


Anonymous said...

Yes ma'am! I sure do. I made whole wheat sourdough every week.

Anonymous said...

I bought this book at Ollie's last year for the same price! I forgot I had it on my book shelf until I read your post.

Anonymous said...

I do, but I haven't in a long time! I don't own a bread machine (and no one took the hint for Christmas) so I do it the old fashion way. This sounded wonderful and I may just have to pull out my book (something like your ugly binder) that has my twenty minute buns recipe and give it a whirl for tonight!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, those loaves look divine! I have a bread machine but it's been in storage for over a year. I got a potato flake sourdough starter from my sister and have been making homemade sourdough every week since then. Mine is 1/3 wheat flour and 2/3 white flour. We love it :)

Heather said...

I have tried making some bread on my own, but don't do it very often. I bought a baking bread cookbook a few months ago and I am going to have to break it out here in three weeks when I am done with school. I can't wait to be done.

DancesInGarden said...

I don't mind making bread. I have a bread machine. SOMEWHERE lol. But really, mixing the dough with the hook in the kitchen aid and doing the rises and shaping on my own is no big deal.

But DH and DD could care less if the bread is home made, and I should NOT be standing at the counter eating slice after slice of hot bread slathered in butter. *ahem*. So I only do it if I want it for a specific meal (like the beer stew with beer bread).