French Baguettes

Food Nanny, makes French Baguettes

FRENCH BAGUETTES

11

water, divided

11

active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar, divided

31

unbleached flour

2 teaspoons salt

Melted butter, for brushing on

loaves (optional)

/2 cups warm (105-115 degrees)/2 tablespoons (2 packets)/4 cups all-purpose

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the water, the yeast, and 1 teaspoon of

the sugar. Stir just to combine and cover with plastic wrap or a plate. Let the

mixture stand about 5 minutes or until bubbly or foamy.

2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer or food processor,

blend the flour, salt, the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar, and the yeast mixture.

Gradually add water, up to the remaining 1 cup, and mix until the

dough forms a smooth ball that is not too sticky to handle. (If the dough

ends up too sticky, add a little more flour.) Turn the dough onto a floured

surface and knead briefly, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

3. Cut the dough in half and shape the halves into baguettes. Grease a

baguette pan (available at kitchen stores) and place the loaves in the pan.

Score the loaves down the middle (make a shallow cut-see the photo on

p. 217), cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes,

or until doubled in bulk.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven

to 450 degrees and place a

shallow pan of water in the

bottom of the oven to create

steam (see the beginning of

the chapter). Bake the

baguettes for 15 minutes or

until they have a hollow sound

when tapped with a knife. If

desired, brush the tops of the

loaves with butter halfway

through baking. For a softer

crust, brush with butter when

they have finished baking.

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