Soft and delicious Baguettes
Once you start making homemade bread (and find some really great, easy recipes) you realize its not so bad after all. If you have a stand mixer, it does cut some time and effort out, but it can still be done. These baguettes can be made in under two hours, and is soft and delicious. You’ve gotta try it!
The skim milk powder gifts it that extra softness that you want in a baguette.
An easy baguette recipe, ready in under two hours. Its delicious, soft, with a hint of sweetness. Great for all things bread.
- 2 envelopes dry active yeast or 1 1/2 tbsp
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp skim milk powder
- canola oil
Combine honey, yeast and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir to combine. Let stand until at least doubled in size. If it does not foam and increase, your yeast is not good, try again with different yeast - or your bread won't rise. It should take about 5 minutes.
Mix flour, skim milk powder and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add yeast mixture, stir with a wooden spoon. now slowly add 1 cup of warm water, stir. If you are using a stand mixer, use a dough hook.
Mix until dough forms a ball, not too wet or too sticky. Go with the measurements and adjust from there. You may not need all the water, or may need to add a little flour.
Turn out the ball of dough onto a floured surface and start kneading. Don't worry its only for about 4 minutes. Try pressing your thumb into the dough, if it bounces back, its ready. See, painless.
Prepare a large bowl with a light amount of oil around the inside upper edge, it will fall into the bowl. Form your dough into a ball and place inside the bowl, cover with a towel and place in a warm, draft free area for 30 minutes. It will double in size.
Prepare your baking tray, sprinkle the cornmeal along the length of where your baguette will sit. I like to put a good layer so my bread comes off easily. So if you are doing four....you get the idea.
After the dough ball has risen, punch down the dough, and as best as you can, split it in half (you can make four small baguettes too). Working with one at a time. Now you get to shape this dough, push, squish and flatten your first piece into a rectangle. You want to continuously fold the top length into the centre, and then the bottom length into the centre, squishing the seam down and outwards. Repeat until the length is about 12-14 inches (6-8 if your are doing 4). turn the roll over, tuck and form the ends under. Carefully set your baguette onto your cornmeal on your baking tray. Repeat with remaining dough.
Using a sharp knife, score the tops of the bread in diagonal slices.
*This is the part that you can freeze the bread (before the second rising). Check the notes for tips on how to thaw and bake from there.
If you're not freezing, then cover with a towel and let rest a second time in a warm and draft free area. Another 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 450 F - turn your oven on with about 15 minutes left of your second dough rising. Place a second baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven.
When your dough has risen, and your oven is preheated. Grab a bowl of ice cubes. You are going to want to work quickly here. The idea is to open the oven door, place the bread in and toss the ice cubes onto the bottom hot baking tray, and close the oven door before the steam and heat escapes. The steam from the ice cubes is what gives it that lovely crust. It helps to have an extra body that can open and close the oven door while you juggle everything else.
Bake until golden brown. Depending on your oven, 12-15 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly, and then remove to a wire rack. If you leave it on the baking tray, the bottom may become soggy.
Enjoy while its still warm, slice it or rip pieces off. Great with soup or stew, excellent as garlic bread, and great for sub style sandwiches.
To freeze baguettes; once the dough has risen once and is shaped and scored you can freeze at this point. Wrap very well.
Remove from freezer and remove wrapping, as it will start to rise once it starts defrosting. Place on baking tray with cornmeal. Allow to defrost at room temperature. It should be a couple hours, check periodically. Bake according to above instructions.