As many of you already know I spent quite some time holidaying in France as a child. My parents have always loved our transalpine cousins and whenever possible they would squeeze in a few days to visit France. I wasn’t too happy about it back then… l would have preferred to visit different places… not that we didn’t go to other countries too, but France was always on top of the list. One of the things I have always enjoyed about France, even back then, was the food! I think French food is second to… only Italian food! (hahaha sorry… I couldn’t help myself… just be aware that Italians and Frenchmen can have a bit of a competitive relationship… nothing that can’t be discussed over a bottle of good red wine… oh no… better not or we’d end up quarrelling about whose wines are the best! ;-)). Since moving to Australia I have begun missing our frequent trips to France and all the goodies we would enjoy there and bring home. So, when I saw this recipe for a “60 minute baguette” over at Not Quite Nigella, I could not resist and HAD to make it. Let me please spend a minute or 2 telling you about Lorraine, the host of Not Quite Nigella. She has one of the best blogs in Australia (if not the best) and I LOVE it. She is a very talented foodie and blogger and reading her posts is always a treat. If you don’t know her, please visit her site and you will be hooked. She is also one of the sweetest and most supportive food boggers around. She never fails to visit your blog to leave a comment, no matter how busy she is. And I LOVE that. She always makes you feel welcome. Now back to the baguettes. I have had my fair share of them in my life and I have to tell you that these were amazingly good. The only thing is, next time I’ll shape them much thinner so they’ll also look more like baguettes, as mine looked a bit on the “chubby side”!
400 gms plain flour
4 gms dried yeast
280 gms water at room temperature
10 gms salt
1 tbsp semolina or Indian “atta flour” (for the crust)
Water to spray or brush
Start by preheating the oven to 100°C.
Put the yeast and flour in a mixer with a dough hook and mix them together.
Now pour in the water and knead until you get a smooth and elastic dough (this will take approximately 4 to 5 minutes). Add a little extra flour if required.
After the first couple of minutes you can add the salt. You can also knead the dough by hand, but keep in mind that it will take a little longer.
Now open the oven door for a few minutes so that it cools down a little and then set it to 40°C.
In the meantime, divide the dough in 2 pieces and place them in a bowl sprinkled with flour (I used 2 separate bowls). Cover and put them in the oven to rise for 15 minutes once the oven has reached 40°C.
Then put the dough pieces on the benchtop and flatten them with your hands into circular shapes.
Fold the top into a triangle and then roll the dough from the bottom up finishing at the apex of the triangle.
Make some diamond shaped patterns on the surface of the baguettes using a knife.
Place the baguettes on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover them with a teatowel and put them back in the oven to rise for another 15 minutes.
Then remove from the oven and turn the temperature up to 200°C. When the oven is hot, brush (or spray) the baguettes with a little water and sprinkle the top with some semolina (I used Indian atta).
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until you get a hollow sound when tapping the bread.
Slice it and enjoy with butter and jam or anything else you fancy!