Italian Style Baguettes

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Today’s recipe is for Italian Style Baguettes. Baguettes are actually a French bread. But this version uses an Italian bread recipe, so the texture is different from the true French version. However, the shape is, roughly, the same. The taste and texture are great too.

This particular recipe is easier than the French version as the dough is not so wet. Although in the video, I use my Ankarsrum Assistent mixer, any stand mixer will do a good job. The recipe can also be done entirely by hand, though that is more work. I also use a specially shaped tray to hold my dough. However, you can be bake free-form, if you wish. The dough may spread more than in a mould. But there is also an easy way of creating a similar mould. I will explain that later.

Ingredients

First, let’s consider the ingredients. The list is not long. We simply need bread flour, water, yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil.

Italian Style Baguettes

Process for Italian Style Baguettes

The process is quite simple too. It does take time, though, since the dough has to proof. Simply put the water, sugar, yeast, and oil into a stand mixer(or a large bowl) and mix them together. Add in about 450 grams of flour and then the salt as well. Mix the flour into the water until it is combined and shaggy.

Then gradually add the remaining flour, mixing all the while. When the dough comes cleanly away from knead it until it is smooth and stretchy. You may not need all of the flour, or you may need a little more. It is important that the finished dough is just slightly tacky.

Once the dough is smooth and stretchy, form it into a tight ball. Place it in a lightly greased bowl and cover it. Leave it to rise, in a warm place, until it has doubled in size.

To shape the dough, divide it into 3 equal portions. Spread each portion into a rectangle about 11 inches(28cm) wide and 8 inches(20 cm) deep. Roll up the dough into a log, about 11 inches long. Squeeze the seam together and gently roll the log to make it longer, about 13 inches will be good. Transfer the shaped dough into a baguette tray.

Options for baking

If you don’t have a such a tray you can simply place the dough onto parchment-lined baking trays. However, a better alternative is to take some parchment paper that is larger than the baking tray. Then roll up a couple of tea/kitchen towels and place them on the baking tray. Leave a gap large enough to take the shaped dough. Lay the parchment paper over the towels and then drop the dough onto it to fill the gap. The towels will help to hold the shape of the dough as it bakes.

Then, leave the dough to rise again as you preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/425F. Once the oven is up to temperature slash the dough 5 times, on a diagonal. Spray, or lightly brush, water over the top of the dough. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow them to cool completely on a wire rack before eating.

Italian Style Baguettes

My Baguettes

I baked mine for 25 minutes. The internal temperature was 96C(about 205F) so they were ready to come out of the oven. I left them on a wire rack to cool. Then I cut one an used it to make a very simple sandwich, which was great for lunch. The baguette had a great texture and crust, just as I like.

Another very good recipe for bread is Light & Airy Sandwich Bread.

Italian Style Baguettes

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: BreadDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

Ingredients

  • 750g(5 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) bread flour

  • 480ml(2 cups) lukewarm water

  • 10g(3 tsp or, 1 1/2 packets) instant yeast

  • 12g(1 tbsp) caster sugar

  • 12g(2 tsp) salt

  • 45ml(3 tbsp) olive oil

Directions

  • Place the water, yeast, sugar and water into the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix together.
  • Add about 450g of the flour and then sprinkle over the salt.
  • Mix the flour into the wet mixture until a wet and shaggy dough forms.
  • Continue mixing as you add more flour, until the dough pulls cleanly away from the side of the bowl.
  • Stop adding flour when the dough feels just slightly tacky – you can add more later if needed.
  • Knead the dough for about 8 to 10 minutes, until it is soft and stretchy, and slightly tacky.
  • Form the dough into a tight ball and place it into a lightly oiled bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with a towel, or plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
  • Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces.
  • Only a lightly oiled surface press each piece out into a rectangle, about 11 inches(27cm) wide.
  • Roll it up tightly from the long side, and pinch the seam together.
  • Roll that out to make it about 13 inches(33 cm) long.
  • Place each shaped piece of dough into a baguette pan( see note below for other alternative).
  • Cover the pan with a clean towel and leave it to rise as you preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/425F.
  • With a sharp knife, or blade, cut 5 slits, diagonally, on the surface of each piece of dough.
  • Brush, or spray, a little water over the surface.
  • Place the pan into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the dough has risen well and coloured nicely on the top.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a baguette tray/pan you can simply line a baking tray with parchment paper and bake the dough free-form. Or you can make a substitute pan by placing rolled kitchen/tea towels on a tray with a gap between them. Then cover the towels with parchment paper and place the dough onto that so that it drops into the gap between the towels, that will create a support for the dough as it bakes.

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