Le Boulangerie (1) Baguette

To accompany my novel in progress: Breaking Bread, welcome to Le Boulangerie!

There is no more appropriate bread to open this series with than the baguette. The most basic of breads, the simplest of ingredients and yet the most wonderful results. The composition of a traditional baguette is nothing more than flour, salt, yeast and water. You need no complicated tools, this can all be done by hand. Though it takes time to get from start to finish, most of that time is spent waiting for the rise. The actual working time is quite short. Here’s what you do:

We begin with a “starter” – a water/flour/yeast mixture that gives the yeast a head start in the consumption of the carbohydrates in the flour. The byproduct of ‘yeast eating sugar’ is CO2 and that is what makes bread rise.

Starter:
1 cup  flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water (comfortable enough to dip a finger in)

Combine in a large bowl, cover and let rise 2-3 hours, until it gets bubbly.

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Hopefully, you can see all the little bubbles that have formed.

When the starter has done its thing…

Add in:
1 tsp yeast
2 additional cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
Enough water to make a smooth dough (usually not more than another 1/4 cup)

Hand form dough into a smooth ball. (Or you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook) Place dough ball in a bowl dusted with flour, dust top with flour. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel. Let rise 40 minutes or until doubled in size. dscn0203

When doubled, cut dough in half, keeping as much air in the dough as possible. Fold and roll dough pieces into 2 baguettes. Place on floured baking sheet, cover and let rise an hour.

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Heat oven to 425. Just before placing baguettes into the oven, slash the tops of the loaves diagonally several times. Spritz with water to make the loaves nice and crusty. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

I actually use a baguette pan. I have a similar one for Italian loaves. These aren’t necessary but they do help make more uniform loaves. I hope these turn out for you if you try them. They are the perfect accompaniment to a hearty soup or stew. Bon appetit!

84 thoughts on “Le Boulangerie (1) Baguette

  1. That does look good! I’ve got a bread machine that I just chuck the ingredients into (when I get around to it), but it still beats pre-packaged supermarket stuff.
    In theory I could make the dough in the machine and then pull it out to bake in the oven… but the last time I tried that I ended up in a horrible sticky mess 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t have a bakery near where I live now, so freshly baked bread is a treat. I love the crispy exterior and the steamy and delicious interior when it’s first broken. Couple that with a block of cheese and a bottle of wine – yum!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks great! Similar to recipe in bread machine. Did you use all purpose flour or bread flour for the baguette? And I’ve seen recipes that call for a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. Same purpose as brushing the loaf with water do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bread flour has a higher gluten content with makes the bread chewier. All purpose flour will give you a lighter, airier loaf (what I prefer in a baguette). As an alternative to buying ‘bread flour’ you can buy vital wheat gluten and add it to the all purpose flour – 1 tablespoon per cup of flour. And yes, the pan of water has the same effect as spiriting the loaves (an easier method) just don’t overspray!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did make a baguette, just used the dough setting and I did use bread flour, but I’ll try it with all purpose next time. It was kind of dense. And I did the pan of water, but spraying is easier! It made good garlic bread and great French toast, tho!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s been my experience, too. And I think it’s weird that the recipe books call for bread flour… Anyway, I’m glad you’re enjoying the new machine! If you need help with anything, just ask. I’ve made ALL the mistakes. Lol!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds very easy: I may give it a try. My bread baking skills seem to be doomed, though. I have tried baking the old fashion Welsh breads, but with very little success. New year, new start, new hobby: we’ll see. Great instructions, incidentally. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Indeed with a hearty soup or stew…the best. I saw the comments about bread flour. My wife and I just encountered that in a recipe the other day and had to do some “research” to figure out what that was all about. So looking forward to the new series!

    Liked by 1 person

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