April 30, 2012

Baguettes

Homemade bread is one of my absolute favorite things to bake. There is something almost therapeutic about baking bread, the kneading, the smell, the whole process. It hasn't always been that way for me though. I had never even touched a bread machine or attempted to make a loaf of bread until my mother-in-law gave me her old bread machine approximately 5 years ago. I played around with making various breads in it for about a year until it broke. Then I was stuck with the question of whether I should buy another bread machine or start trying to learn to make bread completely from scratch. Ultimately I decided that while I loved the convenience of the bread machine, I wasn't a fan of the limits it put on the types of bread I could make or the fact that if I wanted to make shaped bread I still had to take it out and form it by hand. So I started making bread by hand. The first dozen attempts were mixed at best, some loaves didn't rise as expected, some turned out looking like bricks instead of bread and some were just complete disasters. After many failed attempts I finally found the flow to bread making and haven't looked back, I love it! Last week I decided to try a new recipe for Baguettes from the Holiday Baking edition of Cook's Illustrated magazine.

This recipe has three ingredients (including water) in the sponge and 4 ingredients in the dough. It takes approximately 10 and a half hours of rising and baking time (most of which is the sponge rising) and makes 2 baguettes. I had all the ingredients already in my pantry cupboard. I let the sponge rise for approximately ten hours and the final rise took 1 1/2 hours total. I forgot to let the baking stone heat for the full 45 minutes, mine was in about 30 minutes early and it still worked perfectly. The baking time was perfect, which was a pleasant surprise since so many bread recipes can be very off for my disco-era oven.
I was very impressed by these baguettes. Using the pizza stone to bake the bread worked perfectly. The bread had a great crust and a delicious soft inside. I will definitely be using this method again in the future. The folding technique for the bread produced a soft inside bread texture, which was delicious served the day it was made as well as toasted the next day. Overall, a great baguette recipe.

This recipe isn't currently available online, but can be found in the Cook's Illustrated Holiday Baking 2011 edition. (I wish that is was available on-line to share, it was great!).

8 comments:

  1. Mmmmm....this is really a delicious..;P
    Tasty Appetite

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    1. Thanks :) The bread really did turn out well, I love homemade bread!

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  2. "...disco-era oven." LOL! I hear ya, girl! I have a pizza stone and frequently make homemade pizza dough and focaccia, but I've not ventured into real bread making in ages. I'm just going to have to set aside a weekend and have at it!

    Thanks, Frugal! :)

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    1. Yeah, my oven is fun to cook and bake with :) You should try bread, it's really not as intimidating as people think it is and the taste is so much better!

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  3. Yum, thanks for sharing this. I could baguettes all day long!

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    1. I could pretty much eat baguettes all day also, yum :)

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  4. Yummy!! I can see making these and eating it with different types of meat or even like Vietnamese/French style with tofu. Sounds gross but it's yummy!!! I need to get baking!!

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    1. It doesn't sound gross, I love making sandwiches with baguettes, yum! I am trying to get my husband to eat more tofu :)

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