Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Recipe for baguettes
11:53am Saturday 3rd March 2012 in Too Many Cooks
Home baker JULIAN COLE shows how to make baguettes, helped out by two men of hairy appearance.
THOSE hirsute motorcyclists have another book out. This one is called The Hairy Bikers’ Big Book Of Baking (Orion, £20). It’s a handsome affair with tempting recipes from around Europe and contains enough calories to sink any diet known to man, hairy or otherwise.
My eye was drawn all over the place but settled on the baguettes. The bikers were given the recipe by a baker in Carcassonne.
Many recipes mix half strong white bread flour with ordinary plain white flour, but not this one. The taste is good, though, thanks to proper fermentation and the loaves looked just right. I struggled to understand the yeast instructions, so used fresh, and upped the amount of water as the dough seemed dry.
1kg strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon fresh yeast
600 ml warm water
Half a teaspoon of salt
Mix dry ingredients, keeping salt and yeast apart, add water and knead for ten minutes. Place dough in large bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and put in fridge for 24 hours. Remove dough, divide into six pieces and roll into baguettes (about 30cms in length). If it is difficult to roll, leave dough to warm up. Return to each loaf after a couple of minutes when gluten will have relaxed. Place loaves on baguette baking trays or line two small tea trays with heavily floured tea towels, manipulated to take the shape of each loaf. Cover with clean tea towel and put back in fridge for 12 hours.
Heat oven to 240C/220 fan oven and place empty roasting tray on the bottom. Boil some water. When oven is to temperature, carefully roll loaves on to two floured baking trays, score with very sharp knife and put trays in oven. Fill roasting tray with water: it may spit, but the steam will make for a crusty loaf. Cook for 20 minutes, remove from oven and place on wire tray to cool. Unlike other breads, this can be eaten while warm.
• Note: the recipe calls for “dried yeast, not easy blend”, yet this sort of yeast usually needs activating in water first; there is no clear reason why easy-blend wouldn’t work, but fresh certainly did work.
• Tip: If the dough seems stiff during kneading, keep a bowl of water to hand, splash small amounts on the work surface and knead this in.