I love baking bread. There’s just something about the smell of fresh bread in the air that wraps me in a warm blanket of fragrant comfort. A house that smells like baking bread is simply a place that I want to be.
For years my husband made our sandwich bread. Then for a while we’ve been on the diet bread because it has less carbs and less calories. While it’s fine for sandwiches it isn’t very good on its own and we like something a little heartier.
Whenever we tire of diet bread I like to make homemade bread. Since I’m off in the summer I have more time to make bread. I’ve been experimenting with different types of bread and realized I’ve never made a French baguette!
This is surprising because I often buy baguettes. Sure, they are pretty cheap at the store and they are actually pretty decent but I wanted to make my own. I found the recipe to be very basic and made like so many other breads are. Mix, knead, let rise, shape, let rise again, and then bake.
One thing about this loaf is that when it’s put in the oven you also put in ice water or very cold water to produce a steam that actually gives the outside of the bread a delicious crust on it. I was afraid to use the ice water because I feared I’d hit my glass oven window and shatter it so I just used cold water instead.
I found that the water made a difference and the crust was crispy while the inside was soft and delicious. The baguettes were so good I could have eaten an entire one by myself. My husband and I liked to eat them with butter or jam throughout the day. I also had fun using these to make crostini topped with all sorts of fun toppings.
So if you haven’t tried making a French baguette make sure this is on your to do list. Also make sure you use the cold water technique to get the right crust!
- 2 T. honey
- 2 package yeast
- ½ c. warm water
- 4 c. flour
- 2 t. salt
- Combine the honey, yeast, and water in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Place the flour in a large bowl. Add 1 cup of warm water and mix. Add the honey mixture and mix until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
- Place in a bowl coated with oil. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled.
- Punch the dough down and divide in half. Shape it into 2 baguettes by rolling each piece of dough then folding it like a package until it measures 14 inches in length. Make the ends pointed.
- Score the tops of the loaves, making 3 deep diagonal slits ½-inch deep, Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a metal bowl in the oven to heat up.
- When the oven is preheated open the oven and place the bread in. Immediately throw cold water in the metal bowl and shut the oven door. This will help make a crispy crust on the bread.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.