Today I decided to make some French bread, or Baguettes as they are often known. I also thought I would document it because I am a masochist, but mainly because I have no idea what else to do today. B-)
- 1 Cup of warm water
- 2 1/2 Cups of flour (Bread flour is better but I use plain or general use flour)
- 1 tbsp white sugar (I used Caster)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp yeast or 1 pkt quick yeast
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp water
Place the warm water, sugar and yeast into a large bowl, gently mix and leave for about 10 mins. When you return the yeast should have started to activate and will have frothed up a little. If it hasn’t frothed after 10 mins your yeast is likely dead and your bread won’t rise.
Once it is frothed up you can add in the flour and bring it all together into a dough. Once you have a dough tip it out onto a lightly floured top and kneed for about 10 mins until it springs back into shape when pulled.
Add a half teaspoon of oil to the bowl you just used and coat the sides. You really won’t need much oil here! Put the dough back into the bowl and roll the dough ball around to coat the outside, place a damp towel over the top and move to a warm area to rise for about an hour or when it has doubled in size.
Tip the dough out into a surface. If the oil has worked you shouldn’t need to flour it in order to do the next bit. If the dough is sticking then you may want to use a little flour.
Beat down the dough to knock out any air pockets and to loosen it up. This should only take a couple of minutes.
Roll out the dough into a 16 x 12 inch square. A hint for you. Many rolling pins are roughly 16 inches in length… You can use that as a rough guide if you don’t have anything else.
Make a cut laterally to give you two 8 x 12 inch pieces. Then roll up the dough from the longest side. Make the roll tight as you don’t want to catch any air pockets in here. When you are done it should look something like this.
Now place the batons on your baking sheets. You may want to make sure that the rolled edge in on the bottom so you keep a nicer edge to the baton. My problem here is that my sheets are not as big as the batons so I have to use 2 sheets and place them corner to corner! >.<
Once they are on the sheets you want to make a series of diagonal slashes along the batons. Then cover them with your cloth again and leave in a warm place to bulk up again for an hour. When they are done they will look like the pic below left.
Preheat your oven to 190C (375F)
Next you want to mix your egg yolk in a cup with a tablespoon of water and baste the whole of your batons. Don’t be shy with the egg, just get it all covered! B-)
Place them in the oven and bake for about 20 mins or until they are nicely golden.
I’m not going to lie. I have no real idea how long these will keep. For us they rarely make it to the end of the day! Case in point, somebody has already eaten half of one in the time I typed this. B-)
If I were to make a guess I would say no more than 3 days if kept in an air tight container. *shrug*
This recipe can be altered slightly to make them cinnamon bread just by adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough when knocking it back after allowing it to rise for the first time. Adding cinnamon makes a nice bread REALLY nice!
If you want to make these for soup you only have to cut the 2 batons into 3rds before leaving to rise. Bare in mind that smaller rolls will cook quicker than batons.