My Food Storage Deals: Rustic Baguette Bread...the BEST yet!

Rustic Baguette Bread...the BEST yet!

>> Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Have you ever opened a cook book and had a desire to try something new? Well, since I do enjoy baking I have a tendency to try a few new recipes in high hopes that I will love them even more than my standard ones. Well, I must admit that we have found a winner. If you are familiar with the recipe book, America's Test Kitchen then you will know that they have great recipes. One thing about them is they walk you step by step through an entire recipe and they give the reasons why they do each step. It is very helpful when trying a new recipe. However the recipes do require lots of reading, but I must admit that the success of this new "baguette" bread recipe is WELL WORTH the reading!

Baguettes

(aka a great Rustic French Bread Recipe)

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book


Sponge:

½ c. bread flour or all purpose flour

½ c. warm water

½ tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast


Dough:

3-3 ½ c. bread flour or all purpose flour

¾ tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 ½ c. warm water

1 ½ tsp. salt


Glaze:

1 large egg beaten with 2 Tablespoons water


  1. For the Sponge: Stir all the ingredients together in a medium bowl until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the sponge has risen and fallen. At least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.

  2. For the Dough: Combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the water and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

  3. Remove the plastic wrap, add the sponge and salt, and knead the dough on medium-low speed until it is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If after 4 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining ½ cup flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl, but sticks to the bottom.

  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  5. Turn the dough in the bowl with a dough scraper or large rubber spatula. Cover, let rise for 30 more minutes, and then repeat the turning process. Cover and let rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes longer. (**If using all purpose flour repeat this process 6 times total. If using bread flour repeat a total of 2 times.)

  6. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a baguette and lay it seam side down on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 5 inches apart. Mist the baguettes with vegetable oil spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size and the dough barely springs back when poked with knuckle, 1 to 1 ½ hours.

  7. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position, place a baking stone on the rack, and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Let the baking stone heat for at least 30 minutes.
  8. For the Glaze and to Bake: Score the top of the breads with a sharp knife. Brush the breads with the egg mixture, then spray lightly with water. Carefully slide the breads and parchment onto the hot baking stone. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake until the crust is deep golden brown. About 25 minutes, rotating the loaves halfway through baking.

VARIATION- Slow-Rise Baguettes

While it is convenient to be able to make a baguette in one day, if you have time, a long, slow overnight rising produces a more impressive loaf, richer in color with dramatic blistering and complex nutty flavors. Make sure that the plastic wrap covers the loaves completely but is loose enough to allow the baguettes to rise upward.


In step 6, do not let the baguettes rise, but refrigerate them overnight or up to 12 hours. Let the baguettes sit at room temperature, covered, for 30 to 60 minutes while heating the baking stone, then bake as directed.


MY FIRST ATTEMPT: I did the slow rise method one day and then the quick rise method the next to test the recipe to see the differences. The slow rise really was SLOW...I allowed the sponge to sit for 24 hours, then it sat in the fridge formed like the baguette for another 24 hours. This is what I found...The slow rise method did EXACTLY like the recipe said it would, the outer crust was VERY crusty and chewy. I also did use bread flour with the slow rise method, so it made the bread extra chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside. It was perfect for dipping in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

MY SECOND ATTEMPT: When I tried the quick rise method I allowed the sponge to rest for about 6 hours. Then I followed the directions as instructed. This time I used regular all-purpose flour (since that is what the majority of my flour is from my food storage) and allowed it to rise and then turn down a few extra times. In the end the crust was still crunchy and the center was soft and chewy. The quick rise had more texture as regular french bread would, small air pockets, very bread like. The slow rise was FULL of tons of air pockets, flavor, taking on a more distinct rustic bread texture.

So in the end both were wonderful and VERY tasty. Depending on what the purpose and my ability to remember to get started TWO days in advance before I would even need to make this bread, would determine which method I would choose. I give my approval on both!

This was a quick picture of personal size hoagie buns I tried. I used them for French Dip Sandwiches, which I personally think were the BEST I have ever had! I didn't have the chance to run to the store and purchase hoagie buns so I thought...I should try the fast version and make small individual size hoagie buns with this same recipe...YES it worked so well!!!

8 comments:

bethany November 4, 2009 at 10:53 PM  

I love America's Test Kitchen and really love the detail in there recipes thank you for this.
Bethany

Lindsey November 5, 2009 at 5:50 PM  

I too love America's Test Kitchen. We just adopted a parmesan chicken recipe into the family menu. Delicious! But that's not the reason for my comment: We have recently purchased red and white wheat from our Stake Food Storage order. Unfortunately, now our bread is a mess: too dry then too wet, raises too much or dense as a brick. My mom recommended Dough Enhancer from Emergency Essentials. We've been using it for a couple weeks, but we just can't seem to get it right. Do you - or someone else out there - have a great bread recipe using the Church's wheat?

Anonymous November 6, 2009 at 6:41 PM  

Lindsey, be sure to sift your fresh-ground wheat several times before beginning. Perhaps this will help.

Anonymous November 9, 2009 at 12:03 PM  

I found a bread recipe using fresh ground flour (from LDS cannery wheat) at www.positivelyprepared.blogspot.com Search for "bread". It has become my family's favorite. The blog also talks about dough enhancers. HTHs!

vincent November 10, 2009 at 2:43 PM  

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Lindsey November 12, 2009 at 5:21 PM  

Thanks for the tip and the blog address. We'll get this figured out, and today's loaf was much better than last week's, so we must be on our way!

Wendy November 14, 2009 at 8:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy November 14, 2009 at 8:51 AM  

These hoagie buns look heavenly... I am definitely going to try them but I am wondering how many buns you got from one recipe? I don't want to stretch my dough too far trying to make too many...

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