Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Once again, start with the basic whole wheat bread recipe!

Have you noticed I keep using the same bread recipe but creating totally different types of baked ideas with the basic whole wheat bread. I love that I can make desserts, bagels, English Muffins, French Bread, garlic bread, pretzels, hamburger buns...and the list goes on. All can be easily done with your Bosch Universal Plus mixer making the basic whole wheat bread recipe! I love my Bosch mixer!

The difference for the baguette comes in the shape and the baking.

Step One: I knead the bread for 5 minutes; then, let it rest for 5 minutes; then knead bread dough for 3 minutes/rest 5 minutes. Repeat this step one more time. This is making the dough more chewy which is what a baguette is like. Then, form dough into long tube. You can accomplish this by rolling the dough making a 2" in diameter rope and make it as long as you would like your baguette to be. Normally, baguettes are long. I made mine to fit my French loaf pan.

Step Two: Spray the French loaf pan with Vegaline Cooking Spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place the rope dough on either side of the pan. You are not going to let it rise as you want a dense loaf. Slice the top of the loaf diagonally every 4". This is merely for looks.

Step Three: Bake 350 degrees with a pan of water on the bottom shelf. This will help the baguette become crispy. Bake till deep golden brown. You want the loaf to have a thick crust as this gives the baguette taste and look.

I thought this was interesting on the history of the lowly baguette!
The word "baguette" was not used to refer to a type of bread until 1920,[2] but what is now known as a baguette may have existed well before that. The word simply means "wand" or "baton", as in baguette magique (magic wand), baguettes chinoises (chopsticks), or baguette de direction (conductor's baton).

Though the baguette today is often considered one of the symbols of French culture viewed from abroad, the association of France with long loaves predates any mention of it. Long, if wide, loaves had been made since the time of Louis XIV, long thin ones since the mid-eighteenth century and by the nineteenth century some were far longer than the baguette: "... loaves of bread six feet long that look like crowbars!" (1862);[3] "Housemaids were hurrying homewards with their purchases for various Gallic breakfasts, and the long sticks of bread, a yard or two in length, carried under their arms, made an odd impression upon me." (1898)[4]

A less direct link can be made however with deck ovens, or steam ovens. Deck/steam ovens are a combination of a gas-fired traditional oven and a brick oven, a thick "deck" of stone or firebrick heated by natural gas instead of wood. The first steam oven was brought (in the early nineteenth century) to Paris by the Austrian officer August Zang, who also introduced the pain viennois (and the croissant) and whom some French sources thus credit with originating the baguette.[5]

Deck ovens use steam injection, through various methods, to create the proper baguette. The oven is typically heated to well over 205 °C (400 °F). The steam allows the crust to expand before setting, thus creating a lighter, airier loaf. It also melts the dextrose on the bread's surface, giving a slightly glazed effect.

An unsourced article in The Economist states that in October 1920 a law prevented bakers from working before 4 a.m., making it impossible to make the traditional, round loaf in time for customers' breakfasts. The slender baguette, the article claims, solved the problem, because it could be prepared and baked much more rapidly,[6] though France had already had long thin breads for over a century at that point.

The law in question appears to be one from March 1919, though some say it took effect in October 1920:
It is forbidden to employ workers at bread and pastry making between ten in the evening and four in the morning.[7]
The rest of the account remains to be verified, but the use of the word for a long thin bread does appear to be a twentieth century innovation.


  1. I'm really excited to see your recipe. I still add white flour in with my wheat to make French bread. Thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to giving it a try.