Friday, February 20, 2015

Paul Hollywood's classic baguettes

Bread making couldn't be easier with this classic baguette recipe from Paul Hollywood. Even the most novice bread bakers (like me) will enjoy this crunchy, homemade loaf.

All my life, my parents have told me that my brother is smarter than me. I refused to believe it (I have classic older sibling, Type A syndrome), but deep down, I knew it was true. My brother is naturally smart and did not have to work hard in school. He is naturally gifted and has a sharp mind like my father and grandfather. I mean, the kid was taking apart and building computers in middle school.

I, on the other hand, had to work hard to earn my grades. I may have performed better in school, but it was because I spent hours upon hours studying. But this post isn't about me. Back to my brother.

The smartest thing my brother has ever done is to marry his current wife. I didn't know M very well when they first started dating, but I realized something that was odd about my brother. He was starting to learn how to cook. This was the ramen-eating, microwave meal sibling who was now talking about herb-infused butters and cooking food sous vide. Who was this kid, and what did he do to my brother?



Now my brother has become a foodie. He and his wife enjoy cooking for family and friends and consistently host Thanksgiving at their house. His wife makes everything from scratch, including bread. She impressed me one Thanksgiving when she served homemade baguettes at the table. I asked her for the recipe she used, and she graciously told me that it was a recipe from Paul Hollywood.

I had been procrastinating homemade bread recipes because they intimidated me. I was afraid of messing it up and being disappointed with the final outcome. But, M told me that Paul's recipe was very easy, so I believed her. I finally mustered up the courage and made it one day. And you know what? She was right. These baguettes were incredibly easy, even for a bread baking novice like me.

This month's What's Baking group theme is bread. I am proud of finally tackling this recipe and finding how how incredibly easy this was to make. I may still need a bit of encouragement to try more complicated recipes, but I am still very proud of myself for baking bread from scratch. Make sure you check out Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks to see what other breads my friends made this month.

Paul Hollywood's classic baguettes
  • 9 ounces (250 grams) all-purpose white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ¼ ounce (5 grams) salt
  • ¼ ounce (5 grams) yeast
  • 1 fluid ounce (30ml) olive oil, plus extra for oiling
  • 6 fluid ounces (180ml) warm water
Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, place the the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil. Mix and slowly drizzle in the water until a smooth dough forms. You may need to add more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover and allow to double, about 2 hours.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide the dough in half.

Shape each half into a long skinny oval shape. Place the dough on a baguette tray or a large baking tray. Cover and allow to double in size.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Add some warm water to a large roasting pan or dish and place it on the bottom rack in the oven (this will help form a crackly crust).

Using a sharp knife, make 3 diagonal cuts on the top of each baguette. Bake the baguettes for 30 minutes. Then decrease the temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

The baguettes should be golden brown when done.  They are best eaten the day they are made but can be kept for another 1-2 days.



Yield: Two 8" baguettes

Source: My sister-in-law M, who directed me to Paul Hollywood's recipe, via BBC

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