Without wanting to sound too much like Jamie Oliver (best ever, amaaaazing, beautiful etc.) these are our ever favourite homemade breads. But careful… they require a lot of patience and the dough is very liquid and thus not easy to deal with. It’s messy and the first time I did them, I was struggling a lot to get the dough off my hands let alone shaping it into something that looked like baguettes. The dough was flowing everywhere and I ended up throwing in more and more flour. The trick is to not really work his dough. You just mix everything, let it grow and only roughly shape breads. Don’t use too much flour and try not to work it in. Once you start you’ll see what I mean. The recipe sounds complicated at first, requires some time (the dough has to rest for a total of 5-6 hours) but the taste of these breads will make up for the work! Vai! In the kitchen!
What you need for 6-8 small baguettes (if you want bigger baguettes, I recommend to double amounts):
300 gr of plain flour
100 gr of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp instant yeast (we used fresh yeast in the same amount which worked fine)
3 dl of hot tap water
1 tsp of vinegar (the recipe recommends red wine vinegar, we used white balsamico as that was the only one available in the household)
enough flour to prevent this dough from sticking forever to your kitchen surface
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl but don’t work the dough. Only mix everything until the dough holds nicely together (for us the Kitchen Aid does the job). Cover the bowl with a dry towel and place it in a warm room to rest for 4 hours. Once the dough has doubled in size and you see little bubbles on the surface it’s ready for step two:
Spread enough (!) flour onto a clean towel that you place next to the countertop. Also put enough flour on the countertop. Use a dough scraper to put the dough onto the countertop and fold the pastry two to three times in the middle. Cover your hands with enough flour before doing that. Form the dough quickly in a round shape and try not to work more flour into it. Then quickly move it onto the towel and cover loosely with the edges. Let again rest for 1 – 2 hours and make sure the kitchen is nice and warm.
Then pre-heat the oven and trays to 240 degrees celsius. Cut the dough with a knife into pieces of the same size and pull the pieces into baguette-length and move onto the tray that you covered with non-stick paper. The dough will extend itself automatically once you move it to the tray as the dough is very soft. I had to fold some again in the middle and then gave them a little twist so the would look more or less like baguettes. Leave about 2 cm space between each bread and bake them for 15 – 20 mins. I baked them in two batches. Then let cool and remove excess flour with a brush. The breads can easily be frozen and warmed up on 200 degrees celsius. They taste like freshly baked.
Better hide them well if you live with someone who can eat a whole baguette alone every day. Our 5 baguettes didn’t even survive for a week!
Recipe Source: adapted from annabelle (Karin Messerli)
Recommended music while cooking this: Clueso – An und für sich
Update on these amazing breads: they work with any kind of flour and any kind of mixing ratio. Yesterday we did an all-white version that turned out to be amazing too. I also tried a darker flour the other day and that worked fine too. So does adding semolina flour, which is very common in Italy. My favourite version so far is a reverse mix of above (300 gr of whole wheat flour and 100 gr of plain flour). Best go for the double amount right away… they will disappear quickly!