History of French Bread Baguette
French Bread Baguette is a long narrow loaf, which can be easily distinguished by its length and crispy crust. Before 1920, the word Baguette was not referred as a bread. This word is derived from the Italian word “bacchetta”, means wand or stick. Baguette is either a relatively single serving size or cut from a longer loaf. It is often used for sandwiches. French gives credit to August Zang, an Austrian Officer, who brought the first steam oven in France and introduced Vienna bread.
In the United States, Baguette will generally be kept fluffy from inside, like a sandwich bread. The crust will be crispy and are sometimes split in half to make French bread pizza.
French Baguette Ingredients
The Baguette is made from Flour, Yeast, Water and Salt. It does not contain any additives. Baguette is generally formed with the series of folds and rolling motions. Traditional baguettes are 24 to 30 inches long. It is baked either directly on the hearth of a deck oven or in special perforated pans. Deck oven are a combination of a gas-fired traditional oven and Brick oven. Deck oven use steam injection to make proper baguette. The steam helps the crust to expand before setting and helps to make a perfect crust.
The French Bread Baguette is also made with other dough outside France. Like in America, they make Baguette with multigrain flour, Whole wheat flour or sourdough. In Vietnam, They add rice flour to the dough. A perfect baguette is crusty from outside, light and fluffy from inside. Though it is difficult to make perfect Baguette at home, but the version I have shared in my recipe, is much closer to the Artisan bakery version.
Homemade French Baguette Recipe
Hand rolled Baguette are generally termed as traditional Baguettes and are made in traditional French way. Authentic French Baguettes recipes produces dark and crisp Baguette. Hand rolled baguettes are always best to have. There are Baguette Baking Pan available online that helps in getting good shape of your hand rolled Baguettes. Machine made baguettes are usually much longer, uniform in shape, lesser crispy crust and cheaper.
Patience is the only word that can help you to get perfect baguette. Even if you don’t get perfect baguette at first time, just don’t give up. I failed in my first few attempts but I was persistent. With your attempts you will understand what will work best in your environment and with practice, you will easily get perfect one. This bread recipe is quite easy but you only need to plan for it as it will be an all-day task. It doesn’t mean you will working on bread for whole day but it simply involves rise and fold again and again.
How to make a Baguette
Few things that need to be in mind before you start with the recipe, for baguette, handling the dough is different. Unlike other regular bread, we don’t knead the dough for baguette. It only involves mixing of the dough and folding. After every rise, don’t punch the dough. Handle it gently so you can keep as much air in the dough as possible. It will help you to get lighter and fluffier loaf. Watch this video to understand how to fold the Baguette
Don’t forget to keep Ice or water in the oven while baking baguette. It will help to create the steam while baking.
Sound of a freshly baked Baguette Bread
The sound of French Bread Baguette is extremely different. If you tap the bottom of the Baguette and you get a hollow sound, your Baguette is absolutely ready. The cutting sound of Baguette is also different. You need Bread Knife to cut a Baguette Check the video to listen to the Baguette Bread cutting sound.
|All Purpose Flour||300 gm|
|Fresh Yeast||9 gm|
In a bowl take 20 ml lukewarm water. Add sugar and yeast to it. Dissolve it and keep it aside until it froths.
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt and activated yeast. Now add 200 ml water and gently mix it for 5 minutes to make a slightly sticky rough dough.
Place this dough in a slightly greased box and cover it with cling wrap. Refrigerate the dough overnight (Approximately for 10 hrs).
Take out the dough and gently press it to form a rectangle. Don’t punch the dough, handle it gently so you can keep as much air in the dough as possible. Now fold each side towards the middle, like an envelope. Again cover the dough with cling wrap and keep it aside for 45 minutes. For reference check the video above.
After 45 minute repeat the same process as described in step 4 and keep the dough for another 45 minutes.
Now take out the dough on lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal parts.
Shape each piece into an oblong by flattening it out slightly and folding the sides into middle. Finally shape each piece into a 13” log
Now on a baking tray, by using kitchen towel, make two different moulds and dust each with flour.
Place shaped logs on it and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat your oven at 220 degree Celsius for 10 minutes. Keep a tray filled with water on bottom rack in Oven to create steam.
Once shaped log doubles in volume, sprinkle some flour on it and slash each to 4 times along its length diagonally using a sharp blade or knife. I used paper cutter for this.
Keep this tray on middle rack of the preheated oven and continue to bake at 220 degree celsius for 40 minutes or until Baguettes are Golden Brown.
Once done, take out your French Bread Baguette out of oven and keep on a wire rack to cool.