I have mentioned many times that it is my aim to become a master baker, and practice makes perfect (I wouldn’t say these were perfect but I was pretty chuffed with them). I cooked a great joint of beef the other day and for days after have been thinking of what to do with the tasty leftovers. One thing that is almost as good as the roast dinner itself is a fantastic beef baguette, and once I had this in my head I had to also try my hand at making baguettes. It may seem like a lot of effort but it does give you a great sense of satisfaction, which is magnified by the satisfaction of the best beef baguette ever tasted (check out my next blog for that recipe)!
– 500g strong white bread flour
– 10g salt
– 10g instant yeast
– 370ml cool water
– Olive oil – for dusting
Makes 5-6 baguettes
Lightly oil a square container (the square shape helps shape the dough)
Pour the flour, salt and into a bowl and add ¾ of the water (don’t put the salt directly onto the yeast).
Mix with a wooden spoon and as the dough starts to come together slowly add the remaining water.
Turn out onto a floured worktop and kneed for 8-10 minutes until you have a glossy elastic dough
Tip the dough into the prepared tub, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size (for about an hour)
Line 2-3 baking trays with baking parchment
Coat a clean worktop with a little olive oil and carefully tip the dough onto it. Don’t knock the dough back but handle it gently to keep all the air inside
Divide the dough into 5-6 pieces and shape each piece into an oblong by flattening the dough out slightly and folding the sides into the middle
Roll each dough into a sausage (the top should be smooth and the bottom have a line running own the length of the middle)
Beginning in the middle, roll out each sausage gently, not forcing too hard, until the length of your baking tray.
Place 2 baguettes on each tray and put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to rise for about 1 hour until the dough has at least doubled and springs back to touch.
Meanwhile pre heat an oven to 220’C (200 fan) and put a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven to heat up.
When your baguettes have risen, brush them with flour and slash each one three times with a sharp knife.
Fill the roasting tin with hot water to create steam and bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until the baguettes are golden brown
Cool on a wire rack before serving