I’ve been making baguettes for a couple of years now but the consistency hasn’t been there…until now. Making your own bread IS therapeutic, almost magical as a I am still amazed that a gloop of wet dough can be transformed into something that smells wonderful, looks fab and tastes great. The measure of any good dinner table is the the quality of bread you offer your guests and since learning how to make my own bread, I rarely buy it.
I love baguettes because one can tear off a piece at the dinner table and pass it on to your fellow dinner guests. A smear of unsalted butter or a dip in exta-virgin olive oil are my faves. You can make a delicious sandwich with baguette or turn day old bread into crostinis. That rarely happens as the bread usually gets all eaten up.
For the time being, this method of making baguettes has been the most successful for me. Making bread is a constant evolution and I am learning along the way. Keep trying and you’ll have a triumphant moment when some awesome looking (and tasting) bread comes out of your own own. Trying making your own bread…you’ll pat yourself on the back and likely never buy rustic bread again.
3 1/2 cups tepid water
2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, add the water, yeast, sugar, salt and olive oil and gently stir. Allow the yeast about 10 minutes to activate then add the flour and stir in with a wooden spoon. If the mixture is too dry, add small amounts of water and mix in.
- Place a lid/cover on the bowl but allow the for some gases to escape with the lid/cover being slightly open. Store your bowl of dough in the fridge or a cool place (like cellar or garage) overnight.
- The next day, your dough should have doubled. Transfer the bowl of dough to a warm room (like your kitchen). Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and on the dough (to make it easier for you to handle). divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and use your hands to stretch the dough and tuck underneath (do this about 4-5 times) to form a round ball of dough. Sprinkle flour on each ball of dough and allow to rest for an hour.
- After an hour, deflate each ball of dough and press into and stretch the dough until you have a flat rectangle (make your baguettes as long as you wish). Now roll-up the dough to form a baguette shape. Sprinkle flour on top of each baguette and then sprinkle cornmeal on parchment (one that will fit on your pizza pee or baking tray). Allow to rest for another hour.
- Place your baking stones/tiles in the oven and pre-heat to 45oF. Carefully transfer your bread to your pizza peel or baking tray and as soon as your oven has reached 450F, slash your bread with a sharp knife or razor blade. Place a small pan of hot water on the top rack in your oven and slide the baguettes in the hot oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is a deep gold, almost brown colour (bake in batches if necessary).
- Remove your baguettes and allow to cool on wire racks.
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