I have to admit that there are bouts of laziness that will overtake me and prevent me from doing things that I know I should be doing. One of those things includes making fresh bread using my essentially free KitchenAid stand mixer. All I have to do is dump things into a bowl and pull a little switch but instead, I keep putting off what is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. That would be making fresh baguettes. My goal is to be able to make baguettes that they use in making Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, but I have a feeling that will take multiple bags of bread flour and much experimentation. Good thing it doesn’t involve too many ingredients though. My friend Eric is currently making about 240 macarons after a recent bout of wanting to make macarons. Now THAT is an incredibly expensive endeavor…
So I found this recipe online and decided to follow it. It’s fairly simple and after applying a comment to it, the bread came out fairly decent. I have to admit though, I need to practice shaping the dough. Also, there are a few mistakes that I made that will make for a good laugh. For one, I misread the packet of yeast and (I swear) it read initially as “1/8 teaspoon” per packet. However, the recipe called for at least 1 teaspoon (I believe it was 1 1/4 tsp)! So I somewhat panicked because I thought I had to get 8 packets of yeast. However (and luckily I re-checked) after opening the second packet, I found that one packet was 1 teaspoon already! In the end, I had to double the batch of dough and made four loaves instead of two.
Mistake number two (ie. laugh numero dos): yeast apparently is a Florida breed because my dough literally exploded in the oven. This was PRE-baking mind you. My house is so cold because it is fairly tall and so the heat takes forever to circulate. The last time I tried to make my smoked Gouda Guinness bread, it didn’t rise nearly enough and the bread was super dense. So this time, I took advice from a few online commenters and quickly “pre-heated” my oven to a very low 85-ish-90-ish temperature and stuck the bowl in there for the dough to rise.
The first time was fantastic! However, the second time was a disaster. For one, when they say leave your loaves at least 3 inches apart to rise a second time, they seriously mean 3 inches at the bare minimum. I should have figured that the extra yeast would mean epic disaster for the day. Not to mention, I had to leave the house for about three hours. So instead of letting it rise a second for an hour, the yeast had an extra two hours to explode into pure joy of expansive happiness. Needless to say, when I returned, all loaves and melded into each other into a doughy “goo” that was actually hanging over the edge of the pan. *sigh*
*Baker’s Disclaimer: I am a science oriented person by nature and so yes, yes I like to play and fidget and modify and tinker with things. Despite my mathematical self saying “FOLLOW THE RECIPE!”, my experimental self can’t help but go “meh”. Let’s just end this disclaimer with an Anne of Green Gables “reap what you sow” note*
When I finally just said to hell with it and just shaped to bake the loaves, I have to admit, the smells were fantastic. The bread, not so much. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. I honestly don’t know why the hell my loaves are so much denser than I would like (so if you have any advice, please leave a comment). Next time, I plan to do their egg-white-only wash with a water bath to get that “crispy” crust the banh mi sandwiches have.
Baguette Recipe (modified)
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons standard baking yeast
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- Place 1 cup water, bread flour, sugar, and yeast into Kitchenaid Mixer for 5-7 minutes. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Sprinkle salt evenly and mix for another 5 minutes or until salt is evenly incorporated.
- When the cycle has completed, place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place (85deg F) for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
- Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 16×12 inch rectangle. Cut dough in half, creating two 8×12 inch rectangles. Roll up each half of dough tightly, beginning at 12 inch side, pounding out any air bubbles as you go. Roll gently back and forth to taper end. Place 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches, or make one lengthwise slash on each loaf. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves. For crispier crust, just use egg white and a water steamer bath at the bottom of the oven.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
What did I use the bread for? Two loaves went to my parents, and the mini baby one I turned into dinner…
Hope you have better success with the recipe than I did. Maybe next time I will follow it to a tee and not have such disastrous results. It tasted great though!