Bonjour, baguettes!

Tea time is usually sweet time – cakes, cookies, doughnuts (mmmm, doughnuts…) – but this week I thought we’d take a little detour down a French country lane, la rue des baguettes.

Once upon a time, I was a weekend bread-maker, dabbling in sandwich loaves, freeform boules, and even sourdoughs.  But I never made a baguette.  Legendarily difficult to make, so they say!  Bust into any book on bread techniques and help yourself to loads of information about how real bakers use stone-lined ovens with mist-injection systems to achieve the right texture, and you just can’t approximate that at home.

Nonsense, as it turns out.

I used the King Arthur blog’s recipe “Baguettes redux” to get me started, but then I upped the recipe by another 50%, since we usually like a lot of food.  (now taking nominations for understatement of the year.)  The dough came together in minutes the day before, and after it rose, I tossed it in the fridge overnight.  So on Friday I only needed to shape the loaves.

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And then bake.

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And slice through the crackly crust.  (Difficult without a decent bread knife!)

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Our “spread of spreads” included butter, brie, duck liver paté, raspberry jam, and Nutella.

I noted at one point that the loaves were ungainly – that is, not the lovely, evenly tapered baguette loaves you might see at the bakery.  But Elizabeth said they were the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen, and even accounting for hyperbole, there were nods of agreement around the table.

So good that I’m making more this weekend for Simon to try!

– Dennis

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