Thursday, October 1, 2015

Simply Scrumptious Speedy Baguettes!

Well, no stories today......There's so much I want to say about this bread recipe!!!!

First of all, I have a disclaimer about the name I've given this recipe. In the world of decent baguettes, you usually won't hear the word "speedy" in reference to the creative process. It usually takes a while to develop those large, wonderful air pockets and that amazing flavor. So, when I start things at 1:00 in the afternoon and have baguettes cooled,, sliced  and on the dinner table at 5:30, that's considered "speedy". 

Secondly, remember that most of the time it takes to make these is spent waiting for the bread to rise at different stages. So, if you're like me, you won't just "wait"'ll find PLENTY of other things to do. 

Thirdly (Is "thirdly" a word?), you can supplement the actual baking process with a few other nifty baking tricks that I didn't include in the recipe below:  You can have your oven preheating for an hour; you can transfer the loaves to a baking stone; you can make steam in your oven for a super-crispy crust by placing a pan in the oven during the preheat cycle, then adding ice cubes to the pan when you put the bread in the oven....there are lots of tricks. However, I DID NOT add any of these tips to this recipe.....Why not? Because for the past 2 months, I've been baking with a very large toaster oven (my oven is on the fritz and we haven't yet replaced it)......So, I couldn't use ANY of those cool tricks -Boohoo! But- Guess what? The bread baked in my humble toaster oven turned out every bit as delicious- Woohoo! So I wanted to assure the more intimidated baker that there's an easy way to turn out something this beautiful and delicious. 

Well, I've already "out-talked" most of my past blogs.....On to the recipe! On to the deliciousness! 

Simply Scrumptious Speedy Baguettes

3 ½ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Red Star Platinum yeast
1 ½ Cup warm water
2 tsp. kosher salt

Place flour and yeast in EZ DOH bucket. Turn handle to mix. Add water and “EZ DOH-it” until water is absorbed and the dough is clumpy. Cover with a damp towel and set aside for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, sprinkle the dough with the salt and then again “EZ DOH-it” (knead by turning the crank) for about 3-4 minutes until dough is smooth (SMALL amounts of additional flour or water may be added, if necessary). Remove the dough from the bucket and spray the bucket lightly with cooking spray. Return dough to bucket, cover and let rise until doubled.

Lightly dust a working surface with flour and remove the dough from the bucket to that surface. Pat the dough into a small rectangle, about 6x8”. Fold the dough like a business letter: 1. Short side facing you, lift the top edge of the dough and gently fold it to the center. 2. Lift the bottom edge and fold it to the center, slightly overlapping the first fold. 3. Slide hands under the dough and turn over so the folds are on the bottom. 4. Slip the dough back into the bucket. Cover and let dough rise again until about doubled.

Remove the dough from the bucket, place on a floured surface and gently cut into two pieces. GENTLY pull each dough piece into a rectangle (try not to lose those air pockets!) and fold in half. Seal the fold and gently tug into a longer baguette shape. Lay the baguettes about 2-3” apart on a parchment-covered baking sheet dusted with flour. Dust the tops with flour. Cover and let rise 30-40 minutes.  Score the baguettes with a SHARP knife (slash quickly!) .

Bake in a hot oven – 425 – for 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 


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