"Baguette Parisienne" is really a bread I love, but only when it's homemade as nothing compares to a super tasty, hyper crusty and beautifully smooth bread like this one. Those I've bought in stores or in bakeries were never as enjoyable as the "Baguettes Parisiennes" of my book, because I tend to find them dry, too airy and lacking taste (in my opinion)...
I've made this bread a few times and was always very satisfied with the results of my work. Of course, the quality of the recipe has a lot to do with the end product as Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno's "Baguette Parisienne" is simply perfect and heavenly! With their "Ultimate Bread" book nothing can go wrong!!!
Although it takes a certain time to prepare (3 hours of rising), I hope you'll find this "Baguette Parisienne" recipe as interesting as me...
Yields 3 loaves
2 1/2 Tsp Dried yeast
375ml Water, lukewarm
500g Plain white flour
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1. Sprinkle the yeast into 300ml of the water in a bowl.
2. Leave for 5 minutes and then stir to dissolve.
3. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
4. Pour in the yeasted water and with the help of a wooden spoon, draw enough of the flour into the yeasted water in order to form a soft paste.
5. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to "sponge" until frothy and risen, about 20 minutes.
6. Mix in the flour and add the remaining water.
7. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until soft, supple and smooth, about 10 minutes.
8. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
9. Knock back, re-cover and leave to rise for a further 45 minutes.
10. Knock back again, re-cover and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
11. Divide the dough into three equal-sized pieces and shape into two 30cm long baguettes *(see explanations).
12. Place on a floured baking sheet or baguette tray and cover with a tea towel.
13. Prove until doubled in size, about 50 minutes.
14. Cut several diagonal slashes across the top.
15. Bake in the preheated oven (240°C/475°F) for 20-25 minutes until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped underneath.
16. Cool on a wire rack.
The dough should be soft and sticky, so avoid adding extra flour while kneading.
Eat baguette when you want; it's just heavenly at any time of the day!
With a "Baguette Parisienne", you can make bruschette or garlic bread and, of course, your sandwiches will be awsome with this bread!
* Shaping the baguette:
Flatten the dough with the lightly floured palm of your hand to expel any gas bubbles. Keep the dough in a round shape. Take one end of the dough and fold it into the centre. Press gently to seal the fold. Fold the other half of the dough into the centre, so that the two folds overlap along the middle of the loaf. Gently press along the length of the outer seam, using the palm of your hand to seal the two folds together. Use the thumbs of both hands to create an indentation in the centre of the dough. Before bringing the top half before you, rest your fingertips along the top of the dough and give a firm, short push forwards. Gently press down with the palm of your hand along the seam to seal the fold. Place the dough seam-side down. Press with the palm of both hands and roll the dough backwards and forwards while moving both hands outwards along the loaf to achieve the desired length and shape.
(Bakery In Paris -Pic by http://www-rocq.inria.fr/~gouet/)
(Baguette -Pic by http://dahlin.typepad.com)