Friday, August 24, 2012

Quick Baguettes

Quick Baguettes
Baguettes.
They sound French and terribly complicated.
But they're not!
Quick Baguettes
...Ok...well...they are French, but they're not complicated! At least, not if you use this recipe.

 It makes 2 baguettes and take around an hour (2 max) from start to finish. 1 hour and then you have delicious, fluffy, buttery bread. Some of the best bread I've ever had (not even mentioning made). And this is such a great, simple, base recipe that you can totally play around with it. I have made these baguettes with various ratios of whole wheat and AP flour (I've done entirely whole wheat, entirely AP, and everything in between. My favorite has about 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and the rest is AP.) I bet you can also experiment with putting cheese or other add-ins as well. All that matters is that this bread is golden and crisp on the outside, and incredibly fluffy and chewy and soft inside. Michael and I are crazy about this bread. I seriously just made it a few days ago. It's so good.

We've used this bread to dip in my spinach artichoke dip (in which case I make these mostly/entirely whole wheat) or soup, as toast, warm with butter (my favorite way), in sandwiches, French toast, or any way you can imagine! A couple days ago Michael had it for breakfast with cut tomatoes on top. He was so happy, lol. This recipe is a great idea if you're a beginner at baking yeast breads. It's nearly foolproof. And it's awesome so....yeah, duh. 

(Don't mind me, I speak fluent Valley Girl :P...I should probs. say something French but I am no good at it. Sooo...yah.)

Quick Baguettes

Adapted slightly from The Sisters Cafe's "Baguette"

Quick Baguettes
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (not hot, just a nice warm environment for yeast)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (about 4 1/2 tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 1/4 cup flour (all-purpose provides fluffiest results, and a bigger rise, but you can use any ratio of all-purpose and whole wheat flours, I've even used entirely whole wheat flour and it was still good-just smaller).
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Optional: 1 tbsp. butter, melted, to brush on bread.
Preparation:
  • Mix warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let it sit 5 minutes until foamy. (If it does not become foamy your yeast is dead and your bread will not work).
Quick Baguettes
"Foamy"
  • In a large bowl mix flour and salt. 
  • Gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour, and stop when it forms a ball. (This would be easier with a stand mixer dough hook.)
  • Knead for 5 minutes, using additional flour if needed. 
  • Cut the dough in half and shape into 2 baguettes: to make them pretty, " ...roll each half of dough into a rectangle and roll up lengthwise. Pinch the edges to seal and place on lightly greased cookie sheet (or silpat) with seam down."
  • Loosely cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes (if using whole wheat flour you may want to give it 1 hour).
  • Once risen, use a sharp knife to make a slash down the middle of each baguette.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Fill a 2nd cookie sheet with water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. 
  • Once preheated, place the cookie sheet with the baguettes on the middle rack and bake 7 minutes. 
  • Brush the partially baked bread with butter, if desired.
  • Bake an additional 8 minutes, or until golden brown.
Quick Baguettes
Bonjour! 
Au Revoir!
Merci!

...ok...that's like all I know.
Je t'aime.
(It's true. I do. Love you all.:D)
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