Saturday, 8 December 2012

A Bread a Day Week, Day One - Baguette

I bake bread most days. I've got so used to it that it it has become a bit run of the mill.  So for this week I'm going track my progress day by day. Today it's basic "French Bread"  Ingredients: flour, water, white flour and salt.  Any other ingredients and it's not French bread, as enshrined in French law.  BUT you can add a bit of dough from the previous day's dough.  Doing this lifts this bread to a new height.  Try it!

Tools of the trade:  Baguette tray, loaf tin and bread machine bread pan.  Here's the contents turned out:

.... and shaped

... then baked.

The crust is "Frenched" by spraying with water at intervals during baking at a high temperature.

Wonderful cotton wool texture with a crunchy crust.  Due to the lack of any fat this bread stales in one day. Hence the requirement to make this bread fresh each day.

For sticklers the ingredients are

400 ml Water
600g White Bread Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Yeast
Don't forget that old dough addition.


Knead ingredients for 10 to 15 mins (or use a bread machine)
Leave to rest in a warm place for 90mins
Punch down  (knead again for 5 mins)
Leave to rise for a half hour
Then preheat the oven to it's highest temperature
Spray/slather the loaf with water (and place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven too).
Slash with a sharp knife,  if you feel so inclined.
Bake - turning the oven down to gas mark 5 after 15 mins.
15 mins later remove and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy - you will!


  1. When in France I once used a stale baguette as a fly killer! It does go rock hard doesn't it?

  2. Is it easier to make bread using a machine Mal?? I used to make bread when the children were younger but haven't for a while now. I do love the smell of bread baking in the oven and kind of miss it. Are bread machines big? Pricey? I wonder if I invested in one whether I could get back into it. Also do you use dried or live yeast?? I have never tried making bread with the dried yeast before so don't know how it would turn out.

  3. I would recommend a machine for the initial knead and rise.

    Knowing reliably that you can arrive at this stage of the process at a predictable time (90 mins from the start) makes all the difference to me. Some of my non bread machine sourdough loaves can take so long to make that you can lose the enthusiasm for making them by the time they are ready to be baked! You decide what goes into a bread machine, and it delivers a reliable knead and rise ready for you to take full control of the shaping, final prove and baking. I find that enough for me to contend with.

    You need a good motor, not all the fancy programs. I think they cost about £80 maybe cheaper in the sales. When my last one wore out the family encouraged me to get a replacement straight away, either because they like my bread or because I was miserable and moany.

    I've only ever used dried yeast. I've honestly never seen the real stuff for sale in any shop I've been to!