Who doesn't like or at least know world famous French baguettes? There are many version of them, many ways of making them, but on this occasion it's Paul Hollywood's recipe that helped create those beauties. In my house we don't buy bread - all is home made. Sourdough bread, many different rolls, Irish soda bread and even white sandwich loaf. This time was the very first time that we ate home made baguettes. The smell is so distinctive and so appetizing! OK, so there is some work involved in making them and it may not work the way you wanted the first time round - but it's all well worth it! The crunchy, tasty crust, soft and airy inside! Perfect just with a little bit of butter, melting on a still warm baguette.... Hope I've convinced you enough, to give it a go! ;)
How to make it...
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 10 g salt
- 10 g instant yeast
- 370 ml cool water
- olive oil for kneading
Lightly oil a 2-3 litre square plastic container. (It’s important to use a square tub as it helps shape the dough.) Put the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of a mixer fitted with
a dough hook (don’t put the salt directly on top of the yeast). Add
three-quarters of the water and begin mixing on a slow speed. As the
dough starts to come together, slowly add the remaining water, then
continue to mix on a medium speed for 5-7 minutes, until you have a
glossy, elastic dough. Tip the dough into the prepared tub. Cover with a tea towel and leave until at least doubled in size – about 1 hour. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone paper.
Coat the work surface with a little olive oil, then carefully tip
the dough onto it. Rather than knocking it back, handle it gently so you
can keep as much air in the dough as possible. This helps to create the
irregular, airy texture of a really good baguette. The dough will be
wet to the touch but still lively.
Divide the dough into 4 or 5 pieces. Shape each piece into an
oblong by flattening the dough out slightly and folding the sides into
the middle. Then roll each up into a sausage – the top should be smooth
with ha join running along the length of the base. Now, beginning in the
middle, roll each sausage with your hands. Don’t force it out by
pressing heavily. Concentrate on the backwards and forwards movement
and gently use the weight of your arms to roll out dough to the length
of your oven trays.
Place 2 or 3 baguettes on each baking tray. Put each tray inside a
clean plastic bag and leave to prove for about 1 hour, until the dough
is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it
lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C and put a
roasting tray in the bottom to heat up.
When your baguettes are risen and light, dust them lightly with
flour. Then slash each one 3 times along its length on the diagonal,
using a razor blade or a very sharp knife. Fill the roasting tray with
hot water to create steam and put the bread into the oven. Bake for 25
minutes, or until the baguettes are golden brown and have a slight
sheen. Cool on a wire rack.
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