French-Style Baguettes

I grew up overseas. Anyone who can say that, hates this:

Not “wonder” bread specifically, just bagged bread. When you grow up overseas, you are so very, very spoiled by the fresh, homemade foods that are afforded you- for good prices! Fresh fruit for sale on the side of the street, ice cold bottled Coca-Cola, and the aroma of fresh baking bread at all hours of the day wafting from the small roadside bakeries. Oh.my.word. My mouth is watering…

Anyway, needless to say, I am a sucker for a recipe that promises to give me back even a taste of what that life was like…so when I saw this recipe for fresh, crusty European style baguettes in 30 minutes, start to finish (with only 5 ordinary ingredients,) I knew I had to at least try it out.

So glad I did! The recipe was actually quite similar to the baguettes I remember. The outside was not as crisp, but I think I took mine out a minute or two too soon, so that probably accounts for at least some of the difference. It truly only took me 45 minutes from opening the yeast packet, to buttering my bread…and that was only because I had to wait for my husband to bring me some ice!

Ice?

Yeah, weird, I know… but it’s pretty cool. After putting these loaves into the oven, you pour several cups of ice down into the bottom of the stove. The steam evidently helps to create a soft loaf inside, while still allowing for a crisp exterior. I don’t know, I’m not a scientist. 🙂

But it sure did taste good!

Try it out! Let me know what you think!

Quick & Crusty French Baguettes

2 cups very warm water

1 packet yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

3-4 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar.  Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven for ten minutes.  Stir in the salt and add the flour a half-cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft but not sticky.  Knead the dough until elastic.

Cut the dough into four even pieces.  Roll each of them into four long, thin ropes.  Twist together two of the ropes to form one loaf.  Twist the other two ropes together to form a second loaf.  Transfer both onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

You can now bake the loaf right away (if you’re in a hurry) or allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.

Now for the SECRET: Fill a large bowl with 3-4 cups of ice.  Open your hot oven and place the baking sheet with the baguettes inside, then toss the ice cubes on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door.  Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes.  Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.

(Picture and recipe from Babble.com)

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One comment on “French-Style Baguettes

  1. Merri Holmes says:

    Oh Yum!!! Trying it this weekend! I can smell the bread too! 🙂

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