Saturday, June 26, 2010


As I sit here typing this, I am also SAVORING a piece of crusty French baguette, FRESH from the oven! Bread honestly NEVER ceases to amaze me. You take 4 simple ingredients: yeast, water, flour and salt (okay and an egg mixed with a tablespoon of milk for the egg wash) and after mixing and kneading and punching and waiting and punching and waiting and then baking and waiting- you have INCREDIBLE bread! With a little patience and as little as 4 ingredients, you have this amazing delicious piece of heaven. I really suggest you try this recipe, because I'm telling you: there is nothing quite like making your own bread. It's time-consuming, but it's so satisfying to know that you can make something that you have probably bought at the store hundreds of times and maybe never given a second thought to.

(From Ultimate Bread by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (I used instant)
  • 1 2/3 cups (375 ml) water
  • 3 1/2 cups (500 g) unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
(For egg wash: Whisk 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk with a fork)

  1. Sprinkle the yeast into 1 1/2 cups (300 ml) of the water in a bowl. Leave for 5 minutes; stir to dissolve. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the dissolved yeast.
  2. Use a wooden spoon to draw enough of the flour into the dissolved yeast to form a soft paste. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let "sponge" until frothy and risen, 20 minutes.
  3. Mix in the flour and add the remaining water, as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, to form a soft, sticky dough.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until soft, smooth, and supple, about 10 minutes. Try to avoid adding extra flour while kneading the dough.
  5. Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Punch down, re-cover, and let rise for 45 minutes longer. Punch down again, re-cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape into two baguettes, each about 12 inches in length.Place on a floured baking sheet or in a floured baguette tray; cover with a dish towel. Proof until doubled in size, about 50 minutes.
  8. Cut several diagonal slashes across the top. Paint on the egg wash at this point if you wish to use it, and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes (I baked mine for 22 1/2 minutes), until golden and hollow sounding when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
So here, if this can convince you to even think about making your own bread, whatever the recipe, I will feel infinitely happy. :-)

Most Happy Baking!!

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