Home-Style Baguette

* Update Day 3 of bead dough: took a pic of the baked bread 3 days after making the initial dough. The bowl in the background is my lentil stew (http://cookingforthogg.livejournal.com/11392.html).
I forgot to take a pic before I cut it up for dinner. If I bake the rest of it tomorrow, I will try to remember to take a better pic. This is a bread recipe I made up. I wanted to get a little more nutrition and fiber in my bread without having to go with 100% whole wheat. Don’t get me wrong, I love whole wheat bread and make it regularly, but the texture is different from lighter breads. I wanted to see if I could get something in-between white and wheat bread with more nutrition and a great texture. I loved this. I haven’t had a chance to try it in anything other than the baguette form but it was perfect for a bread with some internal lightness and a good hearty crunchy crust.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of AP flour (bread flour or high protein preferred). Use the scoop and level method of measuring, no need to spoon it in.
  • 1.5 cups of whole wheat or white whole wheat flour. Scoop and level to measure
  • 2 Tbs oat bran
  • 1.5 Tbs ground flax seeds
  • 1.5 cups of lukewarm water
  • 3/4 Tbs instant bread yest
  • 3/4 Tbs kosher salt

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 450. Place a baking stone or pizza stone on the highest rack possible that still allows room for the baking bread. On a lower rack place a broiler pan or shallow baking pan.
  • This is made like all of my other breads. You don’t need to knead it. Just take the water and place it in a large bowl. Add the yeast and salt and stir until dissolved. In a kitchen mixer with mixer attachment add your flours, bran and flax seed. Give it a quick mix to get everything homogenized. Add the liquid and mix until it all comes together.
  • Get your hands wet and form it into a ball. Pulling the sides down to the bottom and tucking it under 1/4 turn at a time. This helps form a gluten cloak and will help the bread keep the gases in as it proofs.
  • Let the bread rest at room temp until doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 1.5 hours or more depending on the temperature of your home. A warm room gives a quicker rise but a longer rises can give a better flavor.
  • This recipe makes enough for 1 really large loaf or 2-3 baguettes. After the bread has doubled, give the top a dusting of flour and cut off a hunk. Form a ball and make the gluten cloak. Gently elongate the loaf into a baguette and place on a pizza peel that has been liberally dusted with corn meal. Let the bread rest for another hour or two until it has almost doubled in size again. You will know it done by pressing your finger gently into the bread. If the indentation bounces back it can rise a bit more. If the indentation stays in place it is done. If the bread starts to look deflated, you have let it rise too much and you may choose to reform the loaf and start the second rise again. Keep the baguette in a humid environment if possible.Drying out the dough will keep it from rising to its full size as the exterior will harden.
  • Refrigerate the rest of the dough and use within the next week or two. To use refrigerated dough, simply form your baguette as normal and allow a little extra time for it to come to room temp and rise. Usually I allow an extra 1/2 hour to 45 min.
  • Bake your baguette on a baking stone. In the broiler pan (or other shallow baking pan) pour 1 to 1.5 cups of water. This will create the steam which will give a good crust to your bread. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until your bread has a good hard crust. Your bread will tell you it is done when you tap the bottom crust and hear a hollow sound.
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