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Two Peas and Their Pod: Recipe for French Baguettes

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recipe for French Baguettes

I was browsing through my holiday photos and found some pictures that I forgot to share! Sorry! I really don't know how I missed this one, because these French Baguettes were amazing!

When we were in Illinois for Christmas we helped my dad make Peter Reinhart's French Baguettes. My dad makes bread all the time so I am glad he was in charge of this one...making the bread was quite the process, but so worth it in the end.

You have to start the pre-frermentee the night before. And make sure you allow plenty of time for raising, baking, etc. If you don't have Peter's book, I suggest you get it. He gives TONS of helpful hints for bread baking...and the recipes are fabulous!

We made two large baguettes because we wanted to make sandwiches. You can make three small ones though. You are supposed to let the bread cool before slicing, but my dad can never wait. He slices right in and slathers lots of butter on. It is best right out of the oven:)

I really liked this recipe. The bread had a nice crust and the inside was soft, everything a good French baguette should be! Thanks Pops for helping us make this. We can't wait to try it on our own!

I hope everyone is having a nice weekend! We don't have to work tomorrow! Yahoo! I love long weekends

French Baguettes

makes 3 small baguettes or 2 large baguettes

For the pre-ferment (pâte fermentée):
2 1/4 cups (10 ounces) unbleached bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) water, at room temperature

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until the dough comes together and knead until it goes from a sticky mess to a smooth ball.
Let rise in a sealed container for about 1 hour at room temperature or until it expands to 1 1/2 times its size.
Knead lightly for about a minute and return to the sealed container. Keep in the refrigerator overnight. The pre-ferment will be usable for up to 3 days. Be sure that your container can handle a volume at least 3 times as big as the dough.

For the final dough:
All of the pâte fermentée

2 1/4 cups (10 ounces) unbleached bread flour

3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) water, at room temperature

Take your pre-fermented dough out of the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature for about 1 hour to take off the chill. It will be bubbly and may continue to rise in your container.Cut up the pre-ferment into small pieces and mix with the second half.
Knead for about 10 minutes. By hand or you can use a Kitchenaid Mixer.

In a lightly oiled container, ferment at room temperature for about 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.It’s very important to put some oil in the container so the dough doesn’t stick when extracting from the bowl later. It should come out as one well-formed blob and feel very slightly sticky to the touch. From this point on, handle the dough as gently as possible to keep the bubbles within from deflating.Use a weighing scale and divide the dough into 3 or 2 equal pieces, depending on how many baguettes you are making.

Next shape the baguettes. Peter gives a nice description in the book. It takes some practice to get them perfect! Proof the shaped baguettes with the seam side up at room temperature for 45 to 75 minutes or until it expands to 1 1/2 times its size.

Preheat your oven to 500°F with a steam pan, in the bottom of the oven. Transfer the proofed baguettes onto parchment paper on the back of a sheet pan. The seams previously on top should now be on the bottom.

Score the baguettes. Using a very sharp knife or a bread slashing tool called a lamé, create incisions about half an inch deep that overlap and run almost parallel to the imaginary line running down the center of the loaves. Cuts that run from side to side will barely expand because long loaves tend to widen instead of lengthen as a result of oven spring.

Load the oven with the sheet pan or transfer the loaves onto a hot baking stone. Pour 2 cups of boiling water onto the steam pan and immediately close the oven door. Lower the oven to 450°F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the loaves 180 degrees and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.

Place the baguettes on a cooling rack for about 1 hour. We never wait! I know you are supposed to but the bread is so good out of the oven!



Blogger Unknown said...

ooh, those look fantastic!! nothing beats fresh bread :) enjoy your day off tomorrow!

6:04 AM  
Blogger kat said...

I want to make French bread this weekend, I wonder if I should attempt this recipe....

7:13 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Thanks ttfn! I love long weekends!

Kat- try this recipe! It is so good!

7:44 AM  
Blogger NKP said...

BBA is a great book, Peter Reinhart is the best!
I love French bread, I could just gnaw on one until it is gone. Your loaves look perfect, I love the scoring!

11:24 AM  
Blogger sj said...

so pretty! bet they tasted as great as they look too!

11:25 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

These look heavenly- is there anything better than fresh bread? mm mmm mm!

11:54 AM  
Blogger Darius T. Williams said...

These look fantastic - but waaay too complicated for me - you can make them and I'll eat them.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Reeni said...

They look perfect!! How delicious!

3:12 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

The baguettes look great. I love your blog. Would you be interested in exchanging links? I will add you to my blogroll if you will add me to yours. Let me know:

4:17 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Your baguettes look great. I love Bread Baker's Apprentice, I've made a ton of recipes from it.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Clumbsy Cookie said...

I just came back from France and those French they really love their baguettes! Your look wonderful too!

5:01 PM  
Blogger Mary Bergfeld said...

Maria, this is beautiful bread. Enjoy your long weekend.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

Yum! I would love to pair some of this bread with a nice warm soup!

6:19 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I really really want this book! Your bread looks perfect! It sounds like your dad is a great teacher in the kitchen!

7:48 PM  
Blogger Cakelaw said...

Your baguettes look amazing! What a great job.

1:38 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Nothing beats bread fresh outta the oven! Enjoy your weekend :)

4:03 AM  
Blogger Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

I never met a loaf of bread I didn't like. These look beautiful Maria!

4:24 AM  
Blogger grace said...

so...would it be wrong to slice this long-ways, load it with meatballs, cheese, and marinara sauce, and eat it all? :)

5:20 AM  
Blogger Helene said...

I just had breakfast (oatmeal) and hopped over here and the page loaded slowly to these beauties as if they were telling me "See what you could have had for breakfast instead"...ahahaa!

Well done!

6:38 AM  
Blogger Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Looks exactly like the real French baguette, right down to the recipe, that the French tote home under their arms from their local Boulangerie every day. Amazing what few ingredients there are in the authentic French baguette. Thanks for the great photos also.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

you got these just right. they look beautiful~
Maybe I could borrow a couple for a party this weekend!

7:36 AM  
Blogger priscilla joy said...

Yummy! These look like right out of a bakery. I get school off today, 3 day weekends are the BEST!

8:05 AM  
Blogger Dewi said...

Fantastic baguettes. I can't leave without bread, and nothing beat your homemade bread, right?

8:24 AM  
Blogger Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

The smell of homemade bread has wafted up all the way to Canada. I have heard positive results from all of Paul Reinhardts recipes.

8:38 AM  
Blogger CookiePie said...

They're so beautiful - they look like they came from a bakery!

8:56 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Beautiful! I love a fresh baguette but have never baked them myself. Excellent recipe and photos.

9:30 AM  
Blogger La Bella Cooks said...

I have this cookbook, and can you believe I have never used it? Pathetic, I know. Now I see what I have been missing as these baguettes look delicious.

11:17 AM  
Blogger The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Wonderful. One day I'm going to attempt baguettes myself. I don't often have enough time at home for a stretch to bake bread though.

I have to say these look professional. Really beautiful presentation.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

That bread is very impressive!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Bunny said...

Your baguettes are wonderful, I've never made them, they are on my list to make.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

these are amazing!!! i just can imagine what your kitchen must smell like... :)

8:26 PM  
Blogger The Blonde Duck said...

Those look so good!! What is a steam pan?

3:11 AM  
Blogger Cristine said...

Mmmm! Beautiful baguettes! My hubby bought me a baguette pan a few months back and I haven't gotten around to using it yet. Your post is pushing me to finally using it!

4:42 AM  
Blogger LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Fabulous baguettes!!

4:42 AM  
Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great job! They look beautiful and ever so scrumptious!



11:23 AM  
Blogger Cakebrain said...

Oh man! you made my favourite carb! I love fresh baguettes and nothing compares in my imagination with the ones baked in France. I haven't got the nerve to try to duplicate it at home. Good for you to do so...they turned out looking great!

9:22 PM  
Blogger Live.Love.Eat said...

Although I will never make bread on my own, I love this! I love bread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1:44 PM  
Blogger Aggie said...

Oh man that bread looks PERFECT!! do not leave me alone with those loaves!

3:28 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I just made these today (well, today and yesterday was the pre-ferment bit) and they came out FANTASTIC! Usually the first time I make a recipe, something goes a little wonky, but everything happend the way it was supposed to. Every time the bread was supposed to rise, it did and in the appropriate amount of time. This was GREAT! (of course, my oven runs hot so they were done in about 15 minutes, but totally gorgeous and delicious. We bought different kinds of cheese to have with it and it was fantastic. Thanks for your amazing post!

6:26 PM  

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