Baguettes

Another Paul Hollywood recipe, because he knows everything there is to know about bread, obvs. I tend to hum along to Fou de Fafa by Flight of the Conchords when making baguettes, or listen to my entire La Belle France playlist that I made a couple of years ago which features classics like Chanson d’Amour, and Mon Oncle by Jacques Tati, because that’s how I roll.

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour

10g fast action dried yeast

10g free flowing salt

30ml olive oil

360 just warm water

Method

  1. Put the flour, yeast & salt in a big bowl & mix. Make a well in the centre.
  2. Pour in the oil and 300ml of the just warm water.
  3. Use your hand to draw in the flour and start to mix. Add in more of the water a little at a time until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is damp but not really sticky. You may well not need all of the water.
  4. Either tip out onto an oiled surface and knead for 15 minutes until smooth, or pop into a food mixer for 10 minutes using the dough hook.
  5. Grease a clean large bowl with a little olive oil, pop in the dough, turn it over to cover with oil, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to prove for at least 2 hours or so, until doubled in size.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface, knock out the air by pressing down firmly and cut into 4 equal pieces. Shape the baguettes by folding and rolling and stretching – I find I have to hold them up in the air by one end to get gravity to help me out a bit. They should be about 30cm long (ish) and kinda baguette shaped 😉
  7. Pop onto two baking trays lined with baking paper and slide each tray into a plastic bag, tucking the plastic down on all sides to seal it, but leaving space above the baguettes for them to rise without touching the bag.
  8. Leave to prove for a further hour or so until doubled in size and they rebound to a light touch.
  9. Heat oven to 220C, and put a roasting tray on the bottom shelf and pour in a litre or so of water. The steam will help the baguettes form their crispy crust.
  10. When your oven has reached temperature, use a really sharp knife to gently slash the top of each baguette 3 times.
  11. Bake for 25 mins, then reduce the heat to 200C for a further 10 mins. You can check that they’re done by tapping the bottom of one – it should sound hollow.
  12. Cool on a wire rack and tuck in.
Baguette with a little leftover roast chicken and Turkish salad

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