Thursday, April 26

Apr: French Baguettes

Really I'm not much of a baker, but I can make a thing or two, including these wonderful loaves. I hope you enjoy them. I think it is very important to do the glaze. It not only adds visual appeal, but also gives it a nice salty bite on the crust.

Makes 2 loafs

for the bread:
5-51/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp salt
21/4 tsp yeast
2 cups warm water

for the glaze:
1 egg white, beaten
11/2 tsp sea salt

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or Bosch, combine the water and salt. Then add 3 cups of flour and mix to combine. Now add the yeast and mix. With the mixer running, add the remaining flour. If the dough hasn't pulled away from the sides of the bowl after 2 minutes of kneading, add a little bit of flour until it does. Knead for another 6 minutes until the dough is elastic.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and form into a nice ball. Oil the inside of a glass bowl, put the dough in it, and cover it with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and let rise until doubled, 45-60 minutes.

Turn the risen dough onto a floured surface and knead for a few seconds. Pull dough apart into two equal sized pieces. Begin to roll each piece out using a back and forth motion, with your hands parallel to each other, starting in the middle and working your way to the edges (come close to the edge but don't roll your hands over them).

Spay a baguette pan or sheet pan with a little oil and sprinkle some cornmeal on them. Place loaves on the pan. Cover with a towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

Beat the egg white with a fork until it smoothly and evenly slips through the tongs of the fork when lifted up. Mix in the salt.

With a sharp, non-serrated knife make three shallow diagonal cuts on each loaf. Brush the loaves with the glaze once and put in the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes until brown. Halfway through the baking, brush again with the glaze.

When loaves are done, transfer them to a wire rack, and let them cool off for a little while (at least five minutes). Cut diagonally and serve warm or at room temperature.


Fornari Family said...

These look great! The recipe we tried was much harder then this and not very good. We can't wait to try your recipe.
Thanks Peter!