Bread…my ultimate weakness. I love the smell of bread baking in the oven, it makes the whole house smell wonderful! Baguettes take a little preparation, but are fairly simple to make. With four basic ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast you can bake your own bread I’ve tried several different baguette recipes and this one is by far the best!
To make authentic french bread you need to make a poolish starter. A poolish starter is made from the same ingredients as the dough, but is allowed to develop for a period of time. You can develop a starter for as little as 6 hours and up to 24 hours. Using this starter will produce a bread that has a the wonderful smell of yeast. My daughter came into the kitchen and said whatever you are baking smells really good…this was just when the dough was rising.
Yeast breads are made without any fat. This produces a desired crust and crumb that will be slightly hard and crisp. Yeast fermentation causes the production of carbon dioxide. This provides for very effective leavening.
Salt plays an important factor in how the yeast will ferment. A small percent (1.2-2 %) salt will allow time for flavor and gluten development in the dough. Too much salt hinders the fermentation process and produces a firm and compact bread. To little salt will cause the fermentation to happen very quickly. This will produce a bread that is very coarse.
These baguettes are delicious! They are a moist, chewy, and have a beautiful open-holed texture. The are the perfect complement to any meal or delicious enjoyed with a little balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.