Sunday, August 10, 2014

4 hour Parisian Baguettes...

I tried this recipe some time ago and thought I'd give it a whirl again as Sunday night's dinner will be slow cooked lamb ragout with pasta. Crusty bread is a must! This is quite labour intensive so stick with me for the ride!


First, mix the ingredients to a shaggy dough, let it rest for 20 minutes in a warm place ...

Next, I dumped that into my Kenwood mixer and let it knead for 8 minutes - no sweat for me! Then it goes into a plastic container (mine is a 3 litre) to prove for 45 minutes. It said it wouldn't double in volume but ...

Yikes! It over doubled! Anyway, next job is to take it out of the container (gently keeping its shape)...

Pat it out to a 6 x 8 inch rectangle - be gentle ...

Now fold the top down to the middle...

Then bring the bottom up to the middle...

Now you've made some nice layers...

Now it goes back into the container with the lid on ...

My oven was just warm from making my cake so I snugged it in there to prove again for another 45 minutes...

I was a good girl and decided I should got for a quick walk while it was rising. I am so unfit, 15 minutes did the trick, but it was better than nothing!

When I got back, I set the oven going to 250C - hot! Three or four minutes went by then I suddenly thought ... THE DOUGH !! ... Its still in the oven in the container! I quickly retrieved it and no, it hadn't melted, TG!

Now, a lesson on kitchen cleaning... When you notice a spill in the bottom of your oven ( and in this case, it was oil/animal fat, I'm not sure!) - get in and clean that sucker up!! ... Because ....

After retieving the dough, 10 minutes later I start to smell something like hot, burning fat (der!) and go to the oven to see it full of white smoke! Aaagh! Instinctively, I opened the oven and let out a cloud of acrid smoke... Bloody hell, now the smoke alarms will go off!! So I am dashing around the kitchen and family room like a lunatic, madly waving a tea towel to dissipate the smoke, opening the front screen door, flapping, flapping!!

Anyhoo, the alarms didn't go off (thank goodness, they are deafening) and the smoke cleared. But then I had the conundrum of how to clean a 250C stinking hot oven of burnt on fat so that I could bake my precious baguettes which needed to go in very soon!

I carefully wiped it out with an old dish sponge soaked in water, there was much sizzling and lots of steam until it cooled down a bit! Then I got ruthless and took to the spillls with a knife, scraping it all off. Another good wipeover and we were good to go! Now, turn on oven to 250C ... I am using a pizza stone to cook the baguettes on so that goes in now to heat up. Always put the stone in a cold oven then start heating it otherwise it may crack.

Now the dough is ready to be formed. Divide it into 3 even pieces and it says to cover them with a damp towel and let them relax.... I wish I could relax!

Gently pat each piece into a rectangle about 5 x 7 inches...

Then fold it in half...

Do this for all three...

Roll each one carefully out to a 12 inch roll, making sure the fold is underneath. Don't they look perty?

Place the baguettes onto a tray with baking paper between them so they have room to expand. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

The oven should be hot, hot, hot! This method uses steam to achieve a good crust so I put a baking tray on the bottom shelf of the oven to heat up too.

Now quickly and oh so carefully take out the pizza stone and place the baguettes onto it. Score the baguettes with a very sharp knife or scalpel.

Do not do what I did next!

I opened the oven door, carefully picked up the HOT pizza stone, got it half way in the oven then the door decided to spring closed on me! One of my roly poly baguettes decided to roll off the pizza stone into the crack between oven and door and doubled over on itself! Shit, shit!

Juggling the pizza stone back onto the stove top, I man handled the squished baguette back on to the stone and reshaped it! Phew, looks okay now into the oven for this troublesome trio!

I quickly tossed in 2 cups of icecubes (yep, ice!) into the baking tray underneath. They start to sizzle and steam. Now turn the oven back to 230C.

Thirty minutes later, out they came. Crunchy, golden and ready to sop up my pasta sauce!

I actually think it would be easier to fly to Paris and buy a baguette next time!

Cheers - Joolz xx



  1. I think you're right that it would be easier to fly over and get the baguettes in Paris! I'm exhausted just reading all the steps.

    Hope you enjoy them!

  2. Aargh...don't you hate it when you start out on a seemingly straight-forward task only to have one small disaster after another? I have to admit that your recounting amused me...not at you but with you. :)

    ps: keyboard seems normal now...note to self: always try rebooting, it seems to cure a multitude of problems.

  3. Oh no, it sounds like you're seeing the "funny" side of it. I hope the baguettes tasted fantastic with your ragou pasta. Looking forward this recipes also!

  4. Hi Joolz! The bread looks fabulous! But wow, what a lot of steps! You are patient! I bet that was delicious with your yummy sounding dinner!!!
    See you soon.
    xo Kris

  5. I'm stressed just watching you make them. I see the reciepe is for 'easy' french rolls. Hate to see how they did it the hard way lol!!! It does look very good though so I'm sure it was worth all the steps.

    1. Yesterday, I sat and wrote out the steps in 'my language' and I think next time I make them it will go a lot smoother. They are definitely Saturday afternoon baguettes. And if you take away the fat smoking oven and dropping the baguette it really isn't too stressful! Lol!


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