Wednesday, September 22, 2010

French Baguettes

This recipe is also from The Food Nanny.  It's an easy recipe that tastes great.  Next time I make it I think I'm going add some herbs to the dough.


1 1/2 cups warm (105-115 degrees) water, divided
1 1/2 Tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
3 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons salt
melted butter for brushing on loaves (optional)

**For Italian herb version add the following to dough before shaping
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the water, the yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar.  Stir just to combine and cover with plastic wrap or a plate.  Let the mixture stand about 5 minutes or until bubbly or foamy.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer or food processor, blend the flour, salt, the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar, and the yeast mixture.  Gradually add water, up to the remaining 1 cup, and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball that is not too sticky to handle.  (If the dough ends up too sticky, add a little more flour.)  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cut the dough in half and shape the halves into baguettes.  Grease a baguette pan and place the loaves in the pan.  (If you don't have a baguette pan you can just use a cookie sheet.  It will just not have the perfect shape, but thats what I did.)  Score the loaves down the middle (make a shallow cut) cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.  Bake the baguettes for 15 minutes or until they have a hollow sound when tapped with a knife.

**If desired, brush the tops of the loaves with butter halfway through baking.  For a softer crust, brush with butter when they have finished baking.

  • Makes 2 loaves

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