what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Baguettes the Daily Mail way

Words I’d never thought of putting together. But the Daily Mail newspaper kindly published a little booklet with some bread and other baked goods recipes adapted from How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. I don’t have the book so can’t comment on what the adaptations might be or whether the book is any good but the recipes in the booklet seem straightforward enough. They don’t appear to be available online (although I’m happy to be corrected). What is nice about them is that they generally make a 1lb loaf size, which if you are new to trying to make bread might be enough and not too scary or expensive in terms of time or resources. When I’m trying recipes I often half or third or quarter to get a small amount to prove the concept. So good on the Daily Mail for starting small.

I wanted to try the baguettes after criticising that Paul Hollywood for dousing his in olive oil. This recipe only has yeast, salt, water and flour. You make a poolish (love the word, but it is something that can be off-putting, all that new lingo – I prefer the term sponge). Now here’s a case when the recipe says ‘leave over night’ and then ‘next day’. I really hate it when they aren’t precise about timings. So do I make it last thing at night and get on with it when I wake up? Can I leave it until I get home from work? I decided to make the sponge this morning, giving it about 7 hours until I got home from work and the school run before I did the next stage.

So the sponge is a bit of flour, a tiny bit of yeast and some warm water. 1g of active or instant yeast (2g of fresh) 125ml warm water, 125g flour.

The recipe calls for plain flour, but I’ve gone with the strong white bread flour, for no other reason that they didn’t explain why it should be plain flour. I know there’s a difference between French flour and ours, which is I think because the French flour has lower protein but we’re going to have to go with it for today. I’ve used the French flour from Shipton Mill before, and really must get some more.  There’s a picture below of what it looked like when I added the other things. Then you add more water, yeast, flour and the salt. 155ml warm water, 1g of active or instant yeast (2g of fresh), 300g flour, 1 tsp salt (and I did go all the way as it isn’t far off the 1% salt we  be targeting).

The recipe uses the Dan Lepard approach of bringing it all together, leaving 10 mins, kneading briefly, and then doing all that another 3 times. Nice! I made a marmalade cake in the rests. Pictures below of the dough after the kneads.

Then it is left for an hour. Divided, folded, rested, rolled out, and left to rise. There’s lots of rising time because there’s only about half a teaspoon of (fresh) yeast in the whole thing, so the rising is made nice and slow.

Then baked really hot at 260C for about 10-15 minutes, in a steamed oven.

So, what do we have? Long, brown bread sticks, made without fat of any kind. Got a bit of oven spring out of them, but could have done with more. Could also have been a bit more crunchy, so also maybe proving a bit longer, but will do nicely for sandwiches tomorrow.

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6 thoughts on “Baguettes the Daily Mail way

  1. Baguettes are the bread I really struggle with – I have images of crunchy airy French sticks in my head and mine are falling some way short at the moment…. Does French flour make much of a difference? I’m not sure that I have any stockists near me so I may need to resort to mail order.

    • I don’t think I’m there yet either really with these two recipes. PH uses oil, which is not traditional. The DM gets you some long thin loaves that are good for what they are but not crispy and crunchy. I still haven’t got round to the Hairy Bikers who require the dough to rise for 24 hours, and then another 12 hours and they use dried yeast (not the fast-acting type). And they visited a french bakery to get their recipe. None of them use French flour. Millers claim it has a lower protein content, and Dan Lepard says that French flour absorbs less liquid and produces a richer golden crust. So the results ought to be different. Shipton Mill do French flour, as do Wessex Mill and they are different, so even using both of them will give different results! Breadlink also has a French flour and I’d bet that’s different too. Looking on Flour Bin just now, their French baguette flour comes with vitamin C already added. So it’s a case of finding a recipe you can live with and a flour that you like. It probably won’t be inedible whatever you do, it just may not reach the expectations you have. Did you ever go to France on a school day trip and come back with a lovely french baguette that was a hard as a stick by the time you got back and totally inedible? I did, along with some raspberry fromage frais back in the middle ages when such things weren’t available here. Doing PH pittas just now for a change.

  2. I’ve had a few holidays in France but the bread has usually been munched within 10 min of leaving the bakery so no danger of it going stale! I’ve tried Richard Bertinet’s recipe from Dough at the weekend which is his normal white dough just finished differently. It did have crunch on top but I’ve been proving and baking it in a silicon baguette tray which for some reason seems to impair the cooking of the base leaving them pale and decidedly non-crunchy. No idea why that should be. I’ve tried taking them out part way through but the dough has seeped into the holes so I can’t extract it without tearing! V frustrating! I’m currently looking at proving cloths and I hope that will help. The Hairy Bikers version looks like a good one to try (i’ve had a lot of success with their recipes) but I’d be tempted to use easy blend yeast. Hope the pittas work well. I’ve currently got a couple of sourdoughs on their final prove and I’m just hoping that they’re baked before bedtime….

  3. I think it may be finding its way into a charity bag soon. Thanks for the link – I think I need all the baguette help I can get! Sourdough is finally in the oven after 7 hours of proving. I think it could have done with a bit longer but it seems to have sprung up quite well. Fingers crossed. PS The pittas looked good. I’m not about the nigella seeds though. I’m clearly a traditionalist!

  4. I certainly like the look of these! So tough to make them fluffy in the middle. You’ll get there!

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