I love baking bread. The process of taking some really basic ingredients, and with a little mixing and time it turns into delicious crusty bread. I was intimidated before I had made many loaves of bread; what if the loaves don't rise, what if it turns out gross, what if I mess up?! So many worries.
The more I've made bread the happier it makes me. The steps are normally pretty similar--mix, knead, rise, form, rise, cook, eat. The eating is the best part. And sure, some of my loaves fell like Pompeii, some of them didn't taste quite right, and I've killed the yeast in more than one. I've just kept at it, mostly because the reward is so great--who can say no to fresh bread.
When Dustin was gone last week I might have eaten two complete loaves of this baguette. For lunch and dinner. And breakfast. I would be ashamed if the bread wasn't so delicious and easy. Oh, who am I kidding, I wouldn't be ashamed.
Onto these baguettes. You really can have the baguettes done from start to finish in 4 hours! And they are really really good--crusty outside, chewy inside, with a delicious flavor. The recipe makes three baguette loaves--they are probably best on the day they're made, though I keep mine in a ziplock bag until they're gone. I also froze two of the dough balls and made them later; that worked out perfectly!
Quick Four Hour Baguettes
author: Happy Food Happy Home
makes 3 loaves
1 ½ cups water, at 115 degrees F
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
olive oil, to grease bowl
1 cup of ice cubes
- Whisk together water and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add flour to water and yeast, and mix with a fork until a shaggy dough forms.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for about 20 minutes to hydrate the flour.
- Add the salt and loosely fold together.
- Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough might be super sticky--just add flour a little bit at a time until the stickiness stops.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled--about 45 minutes.
- On a floured surface make an 8 by 6 inch rectangle. Fold the long edges of the dough to the middle, then fold the short edges. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled--about 1 hour.*
- Put a rimless baking sheet on the middle rack in an oven. Place a cast iron pan on the bottom rack.
- Form the baguette loaves. Cut the dough into 3 even pieces. Roll each piece into an even 14 inch long rope. Twist the ropes to help them maintain their shape in the oven.
- Place 1 loaf in the middle of a parchment lined baking sheet. Lift the parchment to create a ridge on either side of the middle loaf and place the other two loaves on either side.
- On either side of the loaves place a tightly rolled dish towel under the parchment paper. This will help the loaves rise up and not out.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until the loaves have doubled--about 50 minutes.
- Uncover the loaves, remove the towels, and flatten the parchment paper.
- Use scissors to slash each baguette in 4 spots. You could also use a super sharp knife or a bread lame.
- Slide the parchment paper and the loaves onto the baking sheet in the oven. Pull on the parchment paper as a guide.
- Put the ice cubes into the skillet and quickly shut the oven.
- Bake the baguettes until brown and crispy--about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Allow loaves to cool before cutting.
*After this rise you can separate the dough into three pieces and freeze them in zip top bags. To bake the bread, allow dough to thaw, then continue through the recipe.
Try these baguettes as a side for a delicious dinner, turn them into breakfast, or use them as sandwich bread. The baguettes are simple to make and great to eat. I have a feeling I'll be making baguettes from this recipe far into the future!
Do you love making bread or does it intimidate you? Have you ever eaten two loaves of bread in 1 week? Please tell me I'm not the only one...