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First time baking French bread at home

Oh the crazy things Robyn Webb makes me do ;) I've roasted a whole chicken, made several dishes with anchovies, cooked paella and even tested vegan recipes. She pushes my culinary repertoire and gives me a chance to cross many "I've never done this" things off of my list.

A few weekends ago for Fabulous Food Finds I baked a French Baguette. From scratch! Without a machine. And you know what? It was a great success.You can find a full recipe with directions here.

The only ingredients you need are bread flour, yeast, sugar, water, oil, salt and fresh parsley.

You first combine flour, sugar, yeast and water in a bowl. Let it sit for a bit, then knead it into a ball with oil and herbs and salt. Robyn used parsley, but you can use whatever you like. I'm thinking of trying this recipe with garlic, red pepper flakes and olives next time!

After the ball sits covered (in order to rise), you flatten it out into a rectangular shape. Obviously I had a hard time doing it: mine looks more like an oval. You then fold the two long sides toward the center.

Next, roll the dough to a shape that resembles a baguette. Make a few cuts on the top with a sharp knife.

Let the unbaked baguette rise (covered for an hour). {Thank you to a reader, Jennifer, for pointing out that I left out this step originally!}
Brush the baguette with some water and bake in the oven. Trust me, your place will smell amazing!

Here is the final product! Mine turned out more like French bread than a baguette: next time I'll have to roll it into a thinner shape. But I was really pleased with the results. So were Jenna and Mary who got to try the bread when they came over for our whoppie pie baking date.

Have you baked bread lately? If so, which kind?


Unknown said...

Very impressive! I went to a bread class, and learned that a good baguette takes forevaaaaaaaa to master. It is a real skill. I really admire you for trying this, I don't think I would LOL. That being said, i am sure it tasted amazing. I like the idea of the olives.
I save my baking for when i have oodles of time to kill (like this weekend). Wish me luck!
*kisses* HH

Jennifer said...

Actually French bread does not have oil (or usually sugar depending on who you ask) in it...and I was wondering, is there a reason you only let it rise once? It still looks like a nice attempt though (trying is the important thing in my book) and I'm glad it turned out for you! I do like to add rosemary to my baguettes sometimes.

Olga @ MangoTomato said...

Thanks for your comment. I completely forgot to add a step of letting the dough rise for an hour after forming it into a baguette. Will edit my post!

The full recipe, to which I linked, had the correct instructions.

1000+1 said...

home made french baguette! you are my hero!!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Love, love, LOVE fresh baked bread and aside from freshly made pasta, I'm not sure if there is anything better. Good for you for giving this a go, looks great!

Delicious Dishings said...

It looks gorgeous! I keep vowing to make more fresh bread at home. It really is easy, but I need to set aside enough time for it.

sally said...

Impressive! I like the flecks of green from the fresh parsley.

Esi said...

Your baguette looks fab! I have that on my list of projects to try when I move.

Alicia said...

Wow - what a great looking baguette!! Kudos!

I actually been baking bread quite a bit lately. I'm pretty into the Artisan Bread in 5 mins a day method. I've still been using the same master recipe and just shaping it into loaves though - Can't wait to start getting more adventurous!

Leslie said...

I have not baked any fresh bread lately :( I suppose I should! Looks wonderful