Two nights ago my boyfriend, Mike, brought home some garlic bread to have with our dinner. While I was eating it, I just kept thinking about the garlic bread that my mom would make with our dinners when I was younger. The grocery stores around here use large loaves of white bread for their garlic bread, which is good, but my mom always used baguettes from the local bakery, and her’s is sooooo much better! So for today’s post, I thought I would make some baguettes from scratch. My intention was to use one of the baguettes to make garlic bread, but Mike got home from work just as I was taking the baguettes out of the oven…and we may have eaten both baguettes while they were still warm! Oops. It was definitely worth it though… I think this is an appropriate time to use that popular hashtag: #sorrynotsorry.
- 16 oz (3 3/4 cups) Bread Flour
- 0.5 oz (2 tsp) Salt
- 10 oz (1 1/4 cups) Water, warm
- 0.2 oz (1 tsp) Instant Yeast
For this recipe you will need a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can mix it by hand, but it’s quite a workout! I would also highly recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh out your ingredients when making bread, but I’ve added the measurements by volume in parenthesis above just in case you need it. And again, if you have the kitchen aid heated bowl attachment, it will speed up this process quite a bit!
- As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I always instant yeast, but if you have active dry yeast at home you can use that too. In the bowl of your mixer, add the warm water and then the yeast. If you are using active dry yeast, wait at least 10 minutes before moving on to the next step. If you are using instant yeast, you can move right along to the next step.
- Next, weigh out your flour and salt, and add it to the bowl with your water and yeast. Fit your mixer with the dough hook attachment and mix the dough on the lowest speed for 3 minutes. The dough should start to come together and look like a lumpy dough. After 3 minutes, turn the mixer up to speed 2 for an additional 10 minutes. The dough should become smooth and elastic.
- Next, remove your dough from the mixing bowl (a bowl scraper can help with this), and spray the bowl with pan spray. Place the dough back in your mixing bowl and lightly spray the top with pan spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for about an hour. The dough should double in size before you move on.
- Once your dough has doubled in size, it’s time to shape the baguettes. Dump the dough out onto the table and punch out any air bubbles. Then split the dough in half using either a bowl scraper, bench scraper, or knife. I like to weigh the dough on my kitchen scale so that the two baguettes will be the same size, but you can just eyeball it if you don’t have a scale.
- Now that you have two pieces of dough, you need to roll each one into a ball. Use your hands to stretch the dough a little and get a general circular shape, and then roll it in your hand against the table to smooth the dough into a more perfect round. Let the dough rest for a few minutes before continuing.
- Take one of your dough balls and place it on your work surface, pretty side down on the table. Flatten it out on the table. Now we are going to roll it up like a burrito. Take one edge and roll it up, keeping it as tight as you can. Pinch the dough down slightly to keep it from unrolling, and then roll it up again. Keep rolling the dough until you get to the opposite edge. Then pinch the edges together so that it won’t unravel. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look very pretty yet! Repeat this process for the second ball of dough.
- Starting with the baguette you began shaping first, roll the dough out longer with your hands. Roll it about half the length of your baking sheet. Then, take the second baguette and roll it about half the length of your baking sheet. This will give each baguette a few minutes to rest while you work on the other one, which will make them easier to roll to the full length of the baking sheet. Keep rolling them, alternating which baguette you work on, until they are the full length of your baking sheet.
- Once they are long enough, line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the two baguettes on your lined baking sheet. I chose to cut one of them into an epi loaf (although I didn’t do the best job cutting it…I blame the Vicodin from my surgery). If you want to do this as well, just take a pair of kitchen scissors and make a cut on top of the baguette (the cuts I made were too far to the side, try to make your cuts on the top of the baguette), and move the cut piece to one side. Then make another cut above the first one and move that piece to the opposite side as the first. Continue until you get the the end of the baguette, just be careful not to cut all the way through your baguette. When you have your baguettes arranged to your liking on your baking sheet, sprinkle them with a bit of water, cover them lightly with plastic wrap, and wait about an hour for them to double in size.
- Once your baguettes have doubled in size, preheat your oven to 375°F. Remove the plastic wrap. Traditional french baguettes are scored on a diagonal. Take a very sharp knife and make 5 diagonal cuts in your proofed baguette. Place your baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes. I always turn my baking sheet halfway through the baking process, but mostly just because my oven is uneven!
- Your baguettes will be golden brown when they are finished baking. Take them out of the oven and enjoy!