Friday, September 3, 2010

The Best Baguettes!


I wanted to share a new-to-me recipe for baguettes that I made last weekend.  My husband and I have been enjoying these beauties all week!

The recipe comes from Jeffrey Hamelman's cookbook Bread, A Baker's Book of Techniques and RecipesI had seen the recipe posted on several websites recently.


I have made bagettes before but have never been able to achieve the classic shape and perfect taste with other recipes I have used. This recipe is made with a pâte fermentée, or, a pre-fermented small portion of dough that you mix the night before you want to make the bread and add to the final recipe the next day.  Other than kneading the bread dough in my KitchenAid stand mixer, there is no additional kneading required.

Here are my baquettes shaped and ready to rise on the back side of a baking pan.


I ended up with enough baguettes to par-bake and freeze to enjoy with our dinners this week.


After reading about slashing bread in a different chapter in the cookbook, I know now that my slashes on the top of the dough are not 'ideal'.  They should not have been not quite so diagonal but follow the line of the baquette a little more closely. 

Even though making these baguettes is a lengthy process, I am very happy with this recipe and can't wait to try more recipes from Jeffrey Hamelman's book.  My husband commented on how good these baguettes tasted!  


Here are several links that have also featured this wonderful recipe.

Baguettes made with Pâté Fermentée
Adapted from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman
Printable Recipe

Yields about 4-6 baguettes, depending on amount of dough used for each

Pâté Fermentée (make the day before you wish to make the baguettes)

1-3/4 cups bread flour
5/8 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon instant or fast-rising dry yeast

Mix flour, water, salt and yeast together until smooth. Cover tightly and let stand 12-16 hours (preferable at about 70F).

Final Baguette Dough:

5 1/2 cups bread flour
2 cups warm water
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 tsp instant or fast rising dry yeast
Previously mixed pâté fermentée (reserved until the end of mixing)

Add all ingredients to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer except for the pate fermentee. Using the dough hook, mix on first (lowest) speed for 3 minutes just to incorporate all the ingredients. As the dough comes together, add the pâté fermentée in small portions (about 1/4 cup at a time).  If necessary, add additional flour or water so that the dough remains moderately loose and not too stiff. Raise the mixer speed to next higher speed, and continue to knead for 3-5 minutes. The dough should be fairly loose and supple with an optimum temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Place the dough in a large glass (or nonreactive) bowl which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest and rise for 1 hour.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold the dough in half, return to bowl, recover with the plastic and allow to rise for another hour.

Return the dough to a floured surface and divide it dough into 12-16 ounce pieces (4-6 pieces). Shape lightly into rounds and allow to stand on a lightly floured work surface covered with plastic for 10-30 minutes.

Then, shape the rounds into baguettes and place them onto the bottom, smooth, side of baking sheets which have been lined with parchment paper (2-3 baguettes per baking sheet). Cover with a large piece of plastic and allow to rest for another 1 to 1-1/2 hours at about 76F.

Place a large, rectangular pizza stone in the middle rack of the oven and a shallow, metal pan on the shelf right beneath it and preheat the oven to 450F for about 30 minutes.

Using a very sharp, serrated knife or razor blade, make 5-7 slashes on the top of each baguette.

Open the oven and, holding the baking sheet just above the pizza stone, tilt it gently so that the parchment and baguettes slide off carefully onto the pizza stone. You may need to guide the parchment with your free hand (using an oven mitt, of course). Pour 1 cup of hot water into the shallow pan under the pizza stone and close the oven door quickly.

Bake for about 24 to 26 minutes, until golden brown.*

*If you wish to par-bake a few baguettes, cut the baking time down by about 10 minutes - or until they are a very pale, light brown.  Cool, wrap in plastic wrap or foil and freeze.  Unwrap and allow to come to room temperature before the finished baking in a preheated 450F degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

41 comments:

  1. These turned out beautifully. You are my hero :) I am sooooo intimidated by bread making that I just prefer to buy it made :) I bet they taste delicious!

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  2. They look wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

    Barb

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  3. Susan..they are perfect..Oh the day I can sink my teeth into a piece of home made bread..this will be it..Thank you!

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  4. Just beautiful and I know all of the steps and time paid off-enjoy!

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  5. Gorgeous...Bread is my weakness and these look so good

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  6. They look delicious, the crumb looks perfect!

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  7. Love your baguettes. This would be great to make and freeze too. I am thinking that a few slices of your bread, good cheese, good cured meat, a handful of olives, with a glass of wine, and life would be good.

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  8. I saw the pictures and knew that these baguettes were exceptional. I think that you slashed them perfectly, in fact I prefer the more diagonal look. I am going to try this recipe!

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  9. They look so great. Thanks for sharing. Will look into trying the pre-fermentation trick.

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  10. They look so great. Thanks for sharing. Will look into trying the pre-fermentation trick.

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  11. They look fantastic! I would love the end piece, hot from the oven, slathered in butter! YUM!

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  12. I love the way your baguettes look! I definitely wanna give this a try. Maybe this week while I"m off! Thanks for joiining me this week in the flashback :-)

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  13. I agree with you and everyone else... these look like the best baguettes. Interesting recipe. You mentioned you par-bake and freeze them. How long do you bake them and then how do your proceed after freezing to finish baking? I have frozen fully baked bread and dinner rolls with great success but never partially baked.

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  14. These look so perfect!! I just made a goal to make a new bread every week and I might have to add this to the list!

    Sues

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  15. adoro fare il pane!! ti sono riuscite favolose queste baguette!!bravissima!!!ciao!

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  16. Susan, this is similar to traditional Italian bread made with a biga- just wonderful!
    xoxo Pattie

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  17. Looks perfectly baked. I think your baguettes are beautifully slashed! Will have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. Susan, those are gorgeous! They look super professional. I need to check out Hamelman's book!

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  19. This is a project I have been planning to execute but I always portpone it because of fear of failure. Yours look absolutely fantastic. Comgratulations!

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  20. Perfect shaped baguettes, Susan! I will give this recipe a try, the next time I bake bread.

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  21. Beautiful baguettes. I love that you can par- bake them and use them later. So very helpful for busy people. I can't get over how lovely they are, you are a bakery chef!

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  22. Your baguettes are gorgeous, and the crust looks perfect. I need to try these- thanks!

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  23. They are works of art Susan! The chilly weekend we are having makes me want to turn the oven and bake bread!

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  24. Beautiful baguettes!! I haven't been baking much bread lately, looking at yours has inspired me again!!

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  25. Susan,they look fantastic!Perfect to do "scarpetta" in my tomato sauce!Tasty!!!

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  26. LDH, the par-bake directions are at the end of the recipe. The time may vary depending on your oven, though.

    Thank you, all, very kindly for your comments! These baguettes are truly worth the time and effort.

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  27. I love a freshly baked baguette and the prebaking technique is perfect. I can make small loaves and always have a fresh one.

    Thanks for this recipe, Susan. I can't wait to try it.

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  28. I haven't baked any artisan bread for a while....these loaves have perfect crumb and crust!

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  29. I need a good recipe for baguettes.. like you I have often made them and not been satisfied with the results... the overnight dough appeals to me and your results speak for themselves...gorgeous.. have a great labor day!

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  30. Beautiful baguettes!! Nothing is better than homemade bread.

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  31. I admire you for trying to make these baguettes! I have always wanted to make some but could not, thought it was too hard, required too many precise steps. yours look beautiful.

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  32. Great looking baguettes. These are wonderful looking and have always seemed so illusive in my own bread baking past. Glad to know they can be made. They look perfect. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  33. You are such an amazing bread-baker Susan! I love your baguettes.

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  34. Those baguettes look amazing! I just recently started making bread when I hit the Breads & Breakfasts chapter of "Savor the Moment". I have a new found respect for the art of breadmaking! Thanks for another excellent post - Cheers!

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  35. These look great! Nothing better then fresh baked bread!

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  36. Oh Susan, they're perfect - absolutely perfect! I generally don't have the patients for baking bread, but how can I resist after seeing your photos? Thank you for the excellent instructions and book recommendation - I just might have to give this a try.

    :)
    ButterYum

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  37. I tried making baguette once and they were stodgy! Yours look amazing!

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  38. Time & work intensive, yes. But gorgeous? Definitely! I don't care how you sliced your baguettes---these are simply lovely. There's no such thing as "too diagonal" in my book. Nice job, Susan!

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  39. your baguettes are beautiful... and the crumb! wow

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