Adam and I have been baking our own bread with the help of our bread maker for about 3 1/2 years, but we’ve rarely had the guts to try a loaf without it. Sure, we will take the dough out sometimes to shape challah or hamburger buns, but we still rely on the bread maker to do the tough parts.
It definitely does have its limitations though. It never gets the bread quite bakery-like, and baguettes are a prime example. We wanted that crisp, air bubble filled stick of bread goodness. And thanks to King Arthur Flour’s website, we did just that! They give very helpful step-by-step instructions.
The process is a long one – but not very complicated. We started the night before by making a simple flour-water-yeast starter, and once it got bubbly (after about 14 hours), mixed in some more flour, water, salt, and yeast. My fear of kneading dough resulted in me using our stand mixer, which did a great job. After a few more hours of rising, shaping, and rising again, it was ready to go into the oven. Their blog really lays it out for you in detail – so definitely check it out.
The result? A wonderfully crisp baguette that would have been fine without any butter or oil. We dipped it in a delicious garlicky sauce from a chicken dish (post here). The only change at all is I would lesson the baking time a smidge. The bottom got a wee bit too dark. Oh, and oddly enough the baguette pans we bought ended up with a less crispy crust than the plain cookie sheet one. I guess we won’t use those again.
Regardless – definitely definitely definitely something we will make again!