Easy Baguettes

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Baguette

Fresh, homemade bread. There’s nothing like it. As one local plumber put it, “It’s a heckuva lot better than that ‘boughten’ bread.”

I giggle when I think of “boughten” bread. And I agree!

Now don’t think I’m crazy. Of course I still buy bread at the grocery store. I haven’t figured out a good sandwich bread yet, and I don’t have the patience for sourdough.

But when I have time and am in need of a little bread therapy, I grab my copy of “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois and crank out some Easy Baguettes.

This book rocked my world. I had no idea that DIY bread could be so easy. I’ve done the kneading / resting / kneading / resting nonsense, and I’m not a fan. Again, I just don’t have the patience.

But a DELISH bread dough I can whip together in five minutes? Um, yes.

Baguette on rack

Three awesome things about this dough method:

1: It’s easy. (Hence the name, Easy Baguettes, yes?)

2: It works every time. I’ve tried a lot of different pizza / bread dough recipes in the past, and NEVER had the consistent results that I get from this dough. I don’t know exactly where the magic lies, but it’s definitely somewhere in this recipe. It rises properly EVERY TIME. It produces an awesome crust EVERY TIME. It has depth of flavor EVERY TIME. I don’t get how something so simple can be so good, but I’m certainly not complaining.

3. You can either use the dough after the initial rise OR let the dough sit in the fridge for a few days. The book’s authors say you can leave the dough in the fridge for up to 14 days. The longest my dough has rested is 5 days, but my husband swears the taste is actually better the longer it sits. So don’t feel pressured to use your dough immediately!

Baguette on cutting board

Anyway, I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend this book (“Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois), and this recipe! Simple and delish – that’s what I love! (And no, no one’s paying me to say this – I am just a huge fan of these two!)

So even if bread dough has overwhelmed or failed you in the past, please give this recipe a try. I almost guarantee you’ll love it! Have fun!

Easy Baguettes

Yield: 1 large or 2 small baguettes

Adapted from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 3/4 Tbsp. granulated yeast
  • 3/4 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal or whole wheat flour for dusting pizza peel

Instructions

  1. Add warm water, yeast and kosher salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for five minutes.
  2. Add all of the flour to the bowl. Using dough hook attachment, mix dough on low speed until evenly incorporated (approximately 1 - 2 minutes). Don't over-mix.
  3. Put dough in a plastic dough bucket or large bowl. Cover with a lid or tea towel (not air tight). Allow mixture to rise at room temperature for two hours. (At this point, you can either store the dough in the fridge for later use or use immediately).
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and an empty broiler pan on the bottom rack.
  5. To shape one large baguette, remove the entire piece of dough from the bowl. (To make two smaller baguettes, cut the piece in half). Dust lightly with flour. Shape the dough into a ball with your hands. Elongate the ball into a baguette shape (or two) approximately 2" in diameter. Let rest on a pizza peel covered with cornmeal or whole wheat flour for 20 minutes.
  6. Brush the surface of the baguette with water. Using a serrated bread knife, make several diagonal slits on the surface of the baguette.
  7. Slide the baguette from the pizza peel onto the baking stone. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and close the oven door. Bake the baguette for 25 minutes, or until brown and firm.
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