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.
500g strong white bread flour
10g fast action dried yeast
10g free flowing salt
30ml olive oil
360 just warm water
- Put the flour, yeast & salt in a big bowl & mix. Make a well in the centre.
- Pour in the oil and 300ml of the just warm water.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 😉
- 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.
- Leave to prove for a further hour or so until doubled in size and they rebound to a light touch.
- 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.
- When your oven has reached temperature, use a really sharp knife to gently slash the top of each baguette 3 times.
- 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.
- Cool on a wire rack and tuck in.