Whether you’re going on a picnic, packing a healthy lunch, toasting up some bread slices for dipping in oil or hummus or just to soak up sauce from your pasta dish baguettes are the way to go—-crisp & crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle they are perfect for any occasion!
Plan to be at home the day you are going to make bread. There are two rises that need to take place when making baguettes. The first rise takes about one hour while the second rise is 30-45 minutes. Of course you need to allow for a 30 minutes baking time too! Even though homemade bread is time consuming, it is so delicious! Plus you just can’t beat the smell of bread baking!
- 2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 ¼ cup warm water
- ½ tbsp. salt
- ½ tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup unbleached whole wheat flour
- 2 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- Dissolve yeast in warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add salt, butter and flour; using the dough hook attachment mix on speed 2 for 1 minute until well blended then continue kneading on speed 2 for 2-3 minutes longer. Kneading the dough for longer periods particularly when using whole-wheat flour allows for the gluten to form, which will yield the soft chewy inside in the baguette.
- Transfer dough to a greased bowl, turning to coat then cover and place in a warm place free from draft to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
- While rising line a baguette pan with parchment paper or a large cookie sheet if you don’t have a baguette pan; set aside.
- Once doubled divide into 2 equal portions (I use a kitchen scale but you can eyeball it if you don’t have one) and roll into balls.
- Working quickly with one ball at a time roll out into a long rope about 3 inches thick and 12-15 inches long, tapering at the ends for a traditional style baguette, place on the baguette pan or cookie sheet then continue with the second ball. This is a non-traditional way of shaping a baguette but it works equally as well and less time consuming.
- Cover with a warm, damp towel or sheet of wax paper and let rise for 30-45 minutes (they will swell but you don’t want them to be quite doubled in size).
- Preheat oven during this second rise period to 450 degrees F.
- Prior to baking slice 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf using a sharp serrated knife then sprinkle liberally with flour. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a deep golden brown and hollow sound when tapped.
- Note: Skip step 9 if you’d prefer to add sesame seeds, seasonings or other toppings. If you do then bake uncut baguettes for 25 minutes, remove from oven and using 1 tbsp. cold water & 1 egg white mixed, brush loaves then sprinkle with desired toppings before baking for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from pans immediately after baking to cool on wire racks.
- Serve & enjoy!
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