As ubiquitous as Italy and Pasta, the Baguette is French in the bread form. What is it with this long log shaped bread that is basically made of flour, salt, yeast and water only that captures the tastebuds of people across oceans and appears in every bakeries in the world? For the simple reason, it is the most basic of bread and tastes plain good. With a crusty outer browned crust and soft textured strands inside, this bread tastes best straight out of the oven and served the same day it is baked.
I actually wanted to make a shape out of the usual long log shape but didn't turn out well and I had to patch up last minute, hence the twisted shape. I made the other half of the dough into small dinner rolls and baked them in a small loaf tin. The trick here is to apply water with a pastry brush on the dough just before it goes into the oven and apply again one more time half way into the baking time. The other important thing is to place a bowl of hot steaming water in the oven together with the dough while it is baking so that the dough will not dry out during the 30 mins baking at the high temp of 400F. As there is no fat in the form of butter nor eggs in the dough, the bread can dry up pretty quickly inside the oven.
For this dough, I used equal amount of whole wheat flour and bread flour together with wheat gluten.
240g Whole Wheat Flour
250g Bread Flour
2 Tbsp Wheat gluten
1 Tbsp Yeast
1/2 tsp Salt
410ml Lukewarm water
1)Stir the 2 types of flour together with the wheat gluten.
2)Dissolve the yeast in 100ml water together with the salt. Let it sit and dissolve for 10 mins.
3)Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and let the hook attachment knead the dough.
4)Pour in the remaining water and let the hook mix the dough for 2 mins.
5)Sprinkle Flour on your work surface with bread flour, take out dough and knead for 10 mins till it is not sticky anymore (continue to sprinkle flour but sparingly everytime). Divide the dough to 2 and shape into logs.
6)Sprinkle flour on a large baking pan and place the logs onto the pan. Cover loosely with kitchen towel and let them rest and rise for 2 hours.
7)Preheat oven to 400F and boil 3 cups of water.
8)When the bread dough has risen, pour the boiled water into a separate loaf tin. Place the loaf tin by the side or bottom of the oven. Score the top of the loaves and With a pastry brush, apply some water to the dough and then place the bread dough inside the oven. Bake for 30 mins.
9)After the first 15 mins, apply water to the dough again and continue to bake for the remaining 15 mins.
10)Remove from the oven and cool on racks.
Makes: 2 loaves