August 6th, 2008

french baguettes

baguette 3

simple french baguettes were a mainstay in my kitchen growing up. slathered with butter, pieces were used to sop up every type of sauce imaginable.

baguette dough

it’s an all-purpose bread that can go with almost any meal. grab some cheese and have a picnic, toast it and add chopped tomato. the recipe itself is very simple, using a pre-fermented dough that gives the final bread the taste you would get from a professional bakery, who usually allow their dough to ferment for a longer period than the home baker.

baguette ring 4

the dough is just as versatile with shaping. we made two traditional long baguettes and one spiky ring (made simply by forming a baguette, snipping the sides with kitchen scissors and meeting the ends).

baguette ring 2

there’s something entrancing about the smell when you open the oven to these golden loaves of goodness. it recalls memories of hundreds of family dinners. get started tonight and begin making new memories tomorrow.

baguette 2

baguette ring 1

french baguettes
from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

pate fermentee
1 1/8 cups flour
1 1/8 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cups water

baguette dough
3 cups pate fermentee
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cups water

1. make the pate fermentee: stir together the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. add the water until it comes together into a coarse ball. adjust the flour or water until the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff. knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. place in a lightly oiled bowl and roll to coat. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for one hour on the counter. remove the plastic wrap, punch down a bit, recover and put in the refrigerator overnight.

2. the next day, take the pate fermentee out of the fridge an hour before making the dough. then, follow the directions above to make the dough, adding the pate fermentee in as you mix. the dough should come together and be completely uniform. knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes, place in an oiled bowl, roll to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise on the counter for 2 hours.

4. scrape the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and form into baguettes or other shapes of your choice. when shaping, you can shape, let the dough rest and go back to shape more as the dough becomes more pliable. let the shaped dough rise, covered with a towel, for about an hour.

5. score the bread dough with a sharp knife to create steam holes. heat the oven to 500 F and put a heat-proof bowl of water on the bottom. bake the bread on a baking sheet. after 30 seconds, open the oven door and spray the oven walls with water from a spray bottle. repeat twice more at 30-second intervals. then, lower the temperature to 450 F and bake for 10 minutes.

6. rotate the loaves if necessary and bake until they are golden brown (anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes). remove the loaves and cool on a rack for an hour before slicing.

17 Comments for french baguettes - why not leave some love?

  1. Maggie says:

    Baguettes are my Achilles heel. I have such a hard time shaping them.

  2. Dag Crawford says:

    I’m certain your baguettes taste very good, but the interior does not resemble baguettes as made in France. There the crust is very crusty almost as biscuit and the interior is very very airy. It is this combination of open bread attached to biscuit crust that makes the French Baguette so special in the mouth, and so difficult to achieve at home. They also use floured linen on frames to form the loaves. If only I could find an easy way to simulate the Boulangerie Francais…but nothing good is easy huh?
    With all good wishes from the Scottish Isle of Bute.

  3. […] to give two shout-outs because seriously, I wouldn’t have been able to get very far without Pete’s post on Baguettes and the Baker’s Banter post.  In fact, I didn’t include a lot of photos regarding the […]

  4. […] french baguette recipe pete bakes Posted by root 21 hours ago ( Simple french baguettes were a mainstay in my kitchen growing up slathered with butter pieces were used toast it and add chopped tomato the recipe itself is very simple leave a comment click here to cancel reply name required powered by wordpress with bar Discuss  |  Bury |  News | french baguette recipe pete bakes […]

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  10. Dan says:

    For me, as a baker, a real baguette needs ice water and a lot of proof time. Trust me: airy inside, crispy outside.

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