So I set my sights on making my own baguettes for tonightʻs Italian feast. On the menu: fresh pesto (basil from our Hilo Farmerʻs Market) on spaghetti noodles with asparagus and oyster mushrooms sauteed in chopped garlic, butter and olive oil (with a sprinkle of red peppers and Hawaiian salt), fresh organic mixed lettuce, and a wonderful bruschetta mixture of fresh tomatoes, parmesan, garlic, fresh basil and olive oil for the bread.
I sent out an alert on my twitter account: Looking for a good baguette recipe to go with my pasta dinner and promptly received a reply from @foodista:
The directions seemed simple enough. Mix ingredients, let it rise, form the loaves, and bake. It was really that simple. And so few dishes. Go to the foodista.com website for the recipe, complete with its own photos.
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
1 ½ cups water, room temperature
1 tablespoon egg white, beaten with 1 cold water (optional-I didnt do this part)
Mix flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in water. Stir thoroughly (by hand or in a mixer) until dough is soft and elastic, about 12 minutes on low speed. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place (75 to 85 degrees) until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down dough.
Here is the dough mixing in my kitchenaid
Letting it rise right in the kitchenaid bowl
I did have two kitchen towels over the top and wrapped the whole thing in the towel since I wanted to speed up the rising process. But I didnt need to. I waited the full 2 hours.
Divide dough in half on a floured board and shape into 2 equal rectangles. Form each into a baguette by rolling dough away from you. Continue rolling, pressing outward, until you have a long, thin loaf with slightly tapered ends. Place loaves on a greased baking sheet; loaves will double in size, so make sure there is adequate space between them. Cover the loaves with a floured, clean cloth and let rise until doubled. Score the tops of the loaves.
Letting it rise. This is about half way through.
I scored it with a little knife I use for paring. I think it was four knives for $2. Handy little suckers.
Shaping it was not a big issue but I did need to put a lot of flour on the counter. The dough was STICKY.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. At the bottom of the oven, place a baking pan filled with 1 cup hot water; this will create steam (I filled a ramkin with water and set it on the bottom of oven). Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes or until loaf is brown and sounds hollow when tapped. 5 minutes before the loaf is done, brush with the egg white mixture (I was so famished I completely forgot this step).
We were so hungry at this point that our plates were already made and all we needed to do was cut the bread, slather it with butter or put the wonderful bruschetta mix on top. OMG. Thatʻs all I can say.