Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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French Baguettes

I love Baguettes! And the best baguettes I've ever had was in Paris while on our honeymoon. In Paris, everywhere you look, you see people carrying a baguette. It doesn't matter what time of day it is. Tucked under a Parisians arm or riding on their bicycle, a baguette is something you'll see on a regular basis. 

I was quite intimidated by the baguette. Yes, fearful of this tasty quintessential French bread. And those of you who know me well, know that I like a challenge. So I decided to have a go at it. The crispy exterior and the soft, chewy interior makes this one of my favorite breads. 

Before I get into the baguette process, I'm going to take you through memory lane and share some photos I took in France. The first place we visited on our honeymoon, the Eiffel Tower. It was definitely an experience to take the lift to the top and see the beautiful city below.

Eiffel Tower (photo taken with a point and shoot)

Next stop, Notre Dame Cathedral. What a beautiful piece of French, Gothic Architecture. We were able to take a look inside. We lit a candle and listened to the choir for a bit. The history behind this cathedral is quite eventful.  History of the Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame (photo taken with a point and shoot)

My favorite place of all was Versailles. This chateau, is considered as one of the most beautiful palaces in the world! Luxurious and grand, you can definitely get lost on this piece of property. We took a self guided golf cart tour around the entire grounds. 

Versailles

Amazingly, I was able to get this photo at the entry way of Versailles. This never happens, usually there are visitors scattered all over this palace. Who knew baking a baguette would bring me to post some of our honeymoon photos. It sure did bring back some good memories. Now I want to go back!

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America
1-3/4 Cups Room Temperature Water (68-76ºF)
1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
4-1/2 Cups Bread Flour Plus Extra for Dusting
1 tsp Salt
Vegetable Oil for Greasing
Cornmeal for Dusting

Directions
1. Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and blend well with a fork until the yeast is completely dissolved. Add the flour, salt and mix the dough hook on low speed just to incorporate. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 10-12 minutes.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Fold the dough gently, then let rise for another 45 minutes. 

3. Fold the dough over on itself, pressing gently to release the gas. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, cut into 4 equal pieces (you can use your scale if you have one), and round each piece into a smooth ball, pinching the seams together at the bottom of the ball. Cover the dough and let rise, seam sides down, until relaxed, about 30 minutes. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.


4. To shape the baguettes, on a lightly floured surface, press each ball of dough into a rectangle. Holding the short edges of the rectangle, lift and stretch the dough until the rectangle is about 8 inches long. Roll the dough into a cylinder, pressing the seam closed with the edge of your palm. Transfer the dough, seam side down, to the prepared baking sheet. Cover the loaves and let rise until increased in volume by three-quarters, about 1 hour. 


5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Score each loaf in several places by making diagonal slashes just through the outer layer of the dough with a very thin blade. (I didn't have such a blade so I used a pairing knife, results were not so good.) Transfer bread to the parchment lined baking sheet.

6. Just before baking the bread, brush or mist each baguette lightly with water. Brush or mist the bread 1 or 2 more times during the first 5 minutes of baking time. Bake until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool on wire racks before serving.


What a feat! It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I also made some blackberry jam this morning and it went perfectly with this baguette. Happy baking friends!


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29 Reactions to this post

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  1. jose manuel said... August 17, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    Estupendas las baguettes francesas, son una delicia con mermelada.

    Te han quedado estupendas. Saludos

  2. Pacheco Patty said... August 17, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    I just want to say, WOW, I love it! Please pass me a slice of bread with some blackberry jam, it looks scrumptious. Thanks for sharing the photos of Paris and Versailles, what a wonderful honeymoon spot:-)

  3. Ruth said... August 17, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    oh my, baguette is my fav too..:) those look yummy!!

    and thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures of your honeymoon... lovely!!

  4. cooperl788 said... August 17, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    Oh my god those look absolutely divine! Your honeymoon pics look like a lot of fun too - Paris is on our travel wishlist.

  5. Monet said... August 17, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    You make me want to buy two tickets to Paris this afternoon! Is there anything more beautiful than a fresh loaf of bread and dark, vibrant jam? Just stunning!

  6. Fresh Local and Best said... August 17, 2010 at 9:14 PM

    I adore your pictures of your honeymoon, the last one is especially beautiful. I've always been intimidated to make baguettes. Yours turned out so beautifully that I will try it once it cools down a bit around here.

  7. Magic of Spice said... August 17, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    These are baguettes...Now I want one :) And the honeymoon photos are just lovely...

  8. Jen said... August 18, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Those are such awesome pictures!

    And wow, that bread looks amazing! Yum.

  9. Hannah said... August 18, 2010 at 2:31 AM

    I love baguettes too, they are so good. Yours look like they turned out great! I don't know if I am ready for these but maybe someday soon. I am not a very good baker LOL. I loved seeing your honeymoon pictures they are really cool and it is fun to see them. I would love to visit France someday!

  10. Lauren Zabaneh said... August 18, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    I've been scared of them too. what's the deal with that? This recipe looks easy, though. I think I'm going to have to try this. There is nothing better than a baguette. I think if I were in France I would have to carry one under each arm! Looks awesome, girl!

  11. Federica said... August 18, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    sono pronta: mi lanci una baguette?
    golosissima...mmmmmmmmmmm....baci!!

  12. Cajun Chef Ryan said... August 18, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    What would a French Baguette be without a proper tour of Paris?

    Been so long since I've made these wonderful loaves of bread. The French bread loaf is one of my favorite, especially for making the famous New Orleans Po-Boy sandwich.

    Bon appetit!
    =:~)

  13. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said... August 18, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    One day I hope I make it to Paris, I'd have a dozen under my arms! I may be too busy eating though to enjoy the sights! What a beautiful memory Lisa! Wishing a lifetime of happiness!
    -Gina-

  14. Cooking Gallery said... August 18, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    I love baguette and I LOVE LOVE Versailles too! I went there more than 10 years ago, I should really visit this beautiful palace again one day, especially because France is just about 2 hours away from where I am now.

  15. Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said... August 18, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    Beautiful Baguette Lisa!! *Sigh* I need to get my fear out the dry yeast. I have it in a cupboard but feel like it pushes me away. Thanks for posting this and took me with you to your memory in Paris. It's beautiful city and I love your photos! I will check those places out as I'm going in Oct! Can't wait!

  16. Angus Beef said... August 18, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    I've wanted to make my own bread but I'm scared of messing it up! These look great for Vietnamese sandwiches, by the way.

  17. ~Lisa~ said... August 18, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    @ Jose, Gracias!

    @ Patty, thank you! I'd be more than glad to share with you.

    @ Ruth, thank you sweetie (=

    @ Laura, you'll love it there, I promise.

    @ Monet, thanks a bunch! I love all your Texan themed food (=

    @ Christine, Thank you. Please try it really wasn't as bad as I expected.

    @ Alisha, thanks!

    @ Federica, Grazie!

    @ Jen you're so kind. Thanks!

    @ Hannah, you can do it for sure!

    @ Lauren thanks mama!

    @ Chef Ryan, I would love to try a po-boy!

    @ Gina, thank you. The funny part of Paris was watching the women ride their bicycle with HEELS haha.

    @ Cooking Gallery, love your Sanrio themed cookies! And you're 2 hours away from France, LUCKY!

    @ Tanantha, girl you'll have so much fun. I can't wait for your photos! You can totally bake bread (=

    @ Angus Beef, Oh yes viet, sandwiches would be fantastic! Except we already ate all the bread hehe. Loved your tacos!

  18. Gree said... August 18, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    Oh my, that is some good looking bread! I love baguettes and confess I could eat a whole one myself, especially with jam! That looks so good, what a great post!

  19. Chow and Chatter said... August 18, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    they look perfect I learnt to make baguettes recently and the smell is divine, your blog is fab. Rebecca

  20. Lori said... August 18, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    These baguettes look perfect. Nicely done. I really need to do a baguette. You have so inspired me.

  21. aipi said... August 18, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Whenever I go to my grocers ,I always remember to pick up a baguette..never really thought of making it at home.
    Guess now i have the recipe :)
    I am excited to try it out for myself. Thanks a lot for sharing this perfect recipe.
    First time here, I am an Indian but love to cook food from different cultures, loving your space will be visiting often .
    Aipi
    http://usmasala.blogspot.com/

  22. MaryMoh said... August 19, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    Wow...it's amazing that you make your own baguette! Looks perfect. Nothing is better than home baked bread. I love the smell and taste. The only way I like my baguette is garlic bread :D

  23. Indonesia Eats said... August 19, 2010 at 5:38 AM

    the bagueetes look so awesome

  24. Happy Cook said... August 19, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    My daughter was in Paris in May from her school and she enkyed it full too.
    Here in Belgium too Baguttes is something we buy a lot. I have nevefr made them home though and yours look really profesional, i think nowyou don't have to go to paris to have this :-)

  25. Peggy said... August 19, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    So great that you went to Paris on your honeymoon! Loved that you shared some of the pictures! And the bread... your bread looks great!

  26. Lawyer Loves Lunch said... August 19, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    I can't decide what I like more- the pictures of the baguette or the picture of you in front of Versailles with no one else around. And how cool is it that you were able to recreate something that you ate on your honeymoon? :)

  27. Stephanie M. Page said... August 19, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Your gorgeous, the breads gorgeous, and I should have been born in Paris. I love bread.

  28. Firefly@fireflyblog.org said... August 22, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    Beautiful pictures :) and yes now I want a Baguette so much LOL I see some baking tomorrow :)

  29. Prerna@IndianSimmer said... August 23, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    Wow, what an awesome recipe & what stunning photographs!
    Thanx to tastespotting for introducing me to you. Bookmarking the recipe and let you know when I make it.
    Thanx for sharing!