Adventures in Everyday Entertaining
We are finding that one of our favorite meals, especially on a Friday night after a long week, is to have a fresh baguette with a variety of cheeses, olives, fruits, and nuts. Pair that with a bottle of wine and sitting out on the deck, well you’ve got perfection in simplicity!
This is a great and easy recipe for making it so you always can have a fresh baguette on hand. I have dreams about owning a true baguette pan (as well as a wider oven), but in the meantime, I just get the shape as good as I can get it. The recipe makes two loaves. I generally will make one for us immediately, and then put the other dough in a sealed container in the refrigerator. That way I can pull out the other dough later in the week and bake it. The second baguette is just as fresh, crispy, and delicious.
French Baguette — from Cooking Light Magazine
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add 2 3/4 cup flour to the yeast mixture, a cup at a time, stirring until a soft dough forms. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and spread out dough until you have a rectangle surface area. Sprinkle dough evenly with salt and knead until salt is incorporated.
Add enough of the remaining flour, a little bit at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to your hands. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil. Flip dough around in bowl to coat top with the oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place (about 85 degrees) for 1 hour, or until dough is double in size.
Punch dough down. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven t0 450 degrees.
Divide dough in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll each portion out on a floured surface into a 12 inch “rope” type loaf shape, slightly tapering the ends. Place each loaf on a large baking sheet, sprinkled with cornmeal. Lightly coat dough with olive oil and cover. Let rise 20 minutes, or doubled in size.
Uncover the dough and cut 3 diagonal slits across the top of each loaf, about 1/4 inch deep.
Bake for 20 minutes or until browned on bottom and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.