Amy Scherber's Baguette - Tvfn Recipe
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup (2 ounces) very warm water
1 105 to 115 degrees f
3 cup (13 1/2 ounces)
1 unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 (see note)
2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon, (10
1 1/2ounces) cool water - 75
1 degrees f
Combine the yeast and the warm water in a small bowl and stir with a
fork to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes. Combine the
flours and salt in a large bowl. Pour the cool water and the yeast
mixture over the flour, and mix with your fingers to form a shaggy
mass. Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and and
resilient, but not too smooth at this point. Let the dough rest on
the work surface for 20 minutes, covered with plastic wrap or a light
towel. (This rest period is the autolyse.)
Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes. Don't overknead it: The dough
should be smooth, stretchy, and resilient. Place the dough in a
lightly oiled bowl, turn it in the bowl to coat with oil, and cover
it with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature ( 75 to 77 degrees
F) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until nearly doubled in volume.
Gently deflate the dough and fold it over itself in the bowl. Reshape
it into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 1/4
hours or until it has nearly doubled again. Gently deflate the dough
again, reshape into a round, cover, and let rise for about 1 hour.
Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface and divide it into
3 equal pieces (about 10 ounces each). Gently stretch one piece into
a rectangle, leaving some large bubbles in the dough. Fold the top
third down and the bottom third up as if you were folding a business
letter. Now form the loaf into a log by rolling the dough over from
left to right and sealing the seam with the heel of your palm. Fold
the dough over about 1/ 3 of the way each time, seal the length of
the loaf, then repeat. You want to gently draw the skin tight over
the surface of the baguette while leaving some air bubbles in the
dough. Seal the seam, being careful not to tear the skin of the dough
or deflate its airy structure. Set aside on the work surface to relax
before elongating it, and repeat the shaping process with remaining
pieces of dough.
Now elongate each baguette, starting with the first one you shaped, by
rolling it back and forth on the work surface. Begin with both hands
over the center of the loaf and work them out to the ends until the
loaf reaches the desired length. (Don't get carried away, or the
baguettes won't fit in your oven!) Place the finished loaves on a
peel or upside down baking sheet lined with parchment paper spring,
resulting in loaves with a light, airy crumb and more flared cuts.
Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Place a baking stone in the oven to preheat, and place an empty water
pan directly under the stone. Use a very sharp razor blade or lame to
make 3 to 5 slashes, depending on the length of your loaves, on the
top of each baguette. The cuts should run from one end of the loaf to
the other, rather than across it, and the blade should be held at a
30 degree angle to the loaf so that the cuts pop open in the oven. Be
careful not to press down too hard, or you may deflate the loaves.
Using a plant sprayer, mist the loaves.
Gently slide the loaves onto the preheated stone, or place the
baguette mold in the oven. Pour 1 cup of very hot water into the
water pan and quickly close the oven door. After 1 minute, mist the
loaves and oven walls 6 to 8 times and close the door. After 2 more
minutes, spray the loaves and the oven walls again.
Bake for 12 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F
and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer until the loaves are golden
brown and crisp. Move them to a rack to cool.
Enjoy your baguettes still slightly warm with some soft, ripe French
cheese and a glass of wine.
Yield: 3 - 14 inch loaves.
Note: If cake flour is not available, you can use the same amount of
unbleached all-purpose flour, but cake flour will give the baguette a
lighter texture. BAKERS' DOZEN AMY SCHERBER SHOW #BD1A55 Copyright,
1996, TV FOOD NETWORK, G.P., All Rights Reserved
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