Me ♥ Baguette. I can finish a loaf of baguette all by myself at one go. Don’t judge, okay?!! 😛
Back during my flying days, whenever I am in London or Paris, one of my meal or sometimes two, will be a loaf of baguette with sandwich spread from the local supermarket or canned tuna from Singapore or sometimes, plain. I am not a fussy eater and this makes me happy! 🙂
Recently, I am in this bread making craze and as I was reading through this bread making book I borrowed from the library, I was pleased to find a baguette recipe that to me, is quite easy. Okay, quite a number of steps but it’s not rocket science. Many people think that bread making is tough and get intimidated by it, but I can assure you that if you follow the recipe to a T and with a good packet of yeast, you have nothing to be afraid of. You should start making your own bread somewhere, sometime! Granted, it is easy to just drive to your nearest bakery to pick up a loaf, but don’t you just adore the smell of freshly baked bread coming out from your oven? And proudly declare on facebook or instagram of your success? 😛
Go on, take this as a challenge. You just need four simple ingredients. That’s right!
(yields four loaves)
2 1/2 tsp dried yeast
350ml tepid water (lukewarm water)
500g white bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cornmeal or extra flour to dust
1. Sprinkle dried yeast over 200ml of tepid water. Set aside in a warm place for about 5 minutes, then stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve thoroughly.The mixture should become frothy/bubbly, which indicates that the yeast has started to work.
2. Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the yeasty liquid into the center of the well and using a wooden spoon, gently mix together with a little flour from the edges of the well to form a smooth paste.
3. Cover with a clean dish towel and leave it at room temperature for about 20 minutes until the paste forms a “sponge” and is frothy and bubbling. (This is Sponge Method, which will gives a loaf with lighter crumb and less yeasty flavor)
4. Gradually pour and mix in the remaining (150ml) water, carefully stirring in the remaining dry ingredients from the edges of the flour well to form a softish, ball-like mixture in the middle. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer attached with dough hook to knead to dough for 10 minutes on low speed. Add a bit more flour if the dough is sticky. The dough should not be sticky when touched)
5. Put the dough into a lightly floured bowl, big enough to allow the dough to double in size. Cover the bowl and leave to rise in room temperature away from drafts for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until it has double in size.
6. Once it has risen, knock back (push your knuckles into the dough to deflate it) and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest for 5 minutes before shaping it.
7. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and form into a long oblong shape that able to fit your baking tray. Transfer to a baking tray lightly dusted with cornmeal or flour. Set aside for 5 minutes.
8. Using a sharp knife, slash the top with diagonal slits down the length of the dough and brush the tops with cold water.
9. Place a large roasting tin of very hot water at the bottom of a cold oven and put the loaves in the middle shelf of the oven. Set the temperature to 200 C. Bake the loaves for about 40 minutes until they are golden, crusty and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
1. These baguettes can be stored in the freezer for weeks but it probably wouldn’t last that long.
To freeze, make sure the baguettes are cool thoroughly, wrap them in aluminium foil and into the freezer they go.
To defrost, keep the baguettes in the aluminium foil and let it stand at room temperature for about 3 hours or overnight. To crisp up the crust, place the thawed loaf in a low or warm oven for 5-10 minutes.
2. I did not use a baguette tray, I shaped mine using hand which gave them a rustic look.