Adventures in Baking No. 24: Baguette!

Adventures in Baking No. 24: Baguette!

On Thursday I made another foray into the world of bread-making when I baked the baguette recipe from How to Bake Everything!

Baguette is one of my favorite breads. If I’m honest, I could probably devour an entire baguette by myself – I just love the soft crumb and the crunchy crust. So I really wanted this bake to taste good, because nothing is better than a great loaf of bread.

First, I combined my yeast, salt, flour, and water to make the dough before letting the mixture rise. After a three-hour-long first prove, I shaped the dough into two baguettes, slashed them, and formed a makeshift couche for the baguettes to rest upon.

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My dough as it proved

(Couche is a French word that means “bed”. In baking, it refers to a cloth that’s shaped in such a way that allows baguettes to hold their long, skinny shape as they prove.)

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My shaped and slashed baguettes rising inside my makeshift couche (also known as an apron!)

Forty minutes later, I preheated my oven to 465 (!!!) degrees Fahrenheit. (Why the exclamation points? Because 465 degrees is unusually and extremely hot for an oven!) Then I carefully transferred my baguettes onto a pan and baked them (with steam, of course) for 20 minutes.

When I took the baguettes out, they were a beautiful golden brown color, but the color on the bottom was a bit pale. The thermometer, however, declared them finished when it read their internal temperature as 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and after letting them cool, I tried a piece.

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My baked baguettes, fresh out of the oven. The stick inside the far baguette is my thermometer 🙂

The bread was wonderfully soft inside, with a strong, crunchy crust. There were beautiful air holes and a good crumb structure. The only problem was the taste – for me, it was a bit too bland (I think I didn’t add enough salt). I made an herb butter to go with it, which made the baguette taste sublime, but I really wish I’d added dried rosemary or basil into the bread itself. I will definitely make baguettes again, though, so next time I’ll experiment with flavors!

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