Browsing around on Foodgawker last week, I came across a recipe for "Quick and easy French bread, or the best thing ever." Since I do think that French bread is the best thing ever, I decided to give it a try (with a few small modifications)...my first attempt at baguettes. Just as the title states, the recipe is pretty dang easy; I had hot, crispy baguettes in just over an hour from start to finish.
This dough is simply mixed by hand and rises quickly. Two tools that I suggest are a non-stick, perforated baguette pan (for pretty, crispy loaves) and a Danish dough whisk (easier than a wooden spoon but won't get all gummed up with dough like a regular whisk).
Baking bread makes me so very happy...giddy, in fact. It was one of those "Look what I made!" moments. I just want to cuddle with these precious little loaves. Is that weird?
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast (2 packages) *
3 cups all-purpose flour
*NOTE: Make sure to use "Rapid Rise" or instant yeast. If you use regular "Active Dry" yeast, your bread will be slighly doughy inside.
- Mix the water, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top & let sit 5 minutes. Stir.
- Stir in 1 cup flour with a dough whisk or a wooden spoon, then mix in one cup more at a time until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
- Turn dough onto a well-floured surface (I like using a silicone pastry mat). Coat hands (and the dough, if needed) with more flour to prevent any sticking & shape the dough into a log. Cut in half and gently roll each piece to form longer loaf shapes.
- Lay each loaf onto a non-stick baguette pan or a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
|Pre-baked & unrisen: The dough is kind of craggily; don't be alarmed.|
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Spray the loaves with warm water (to create a crispy crust) & sprinkle with a tiny bit of kosher salt.
- Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven & transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.