Baguettes are fabulous breads; perfect for dunking into hot soup, to encase various sandwich fillings or just eaten warm slathered with top quality butter.
I decided to make my own as it’s neigh on impossible to buy good quality ones locally, they’re all so light and lacking in substance, not at all like the ones served in France. However, due to the size constraints of my domestic oven I ended up making flutes, simply a shorter and slightly fatter version of the true baguette.
The recipe I used, albeit on a much scaled down version is a Dan Lepard recipe I found online. Dan Lepard has written many fabulous books on the subject of baking with yeast and I have yet to find a recipe of his that fails. He also has a great Twitter account and Facebook Page.
Baguettes call for the use of type 55 flour which has a protein content of 10.7% making it slightly softer than typical UK or US bread flour. It is possible to recreate a similar texture by using 2/3 bread flour to 1/3 plain flour instead if you cannot get type 55 flour, I would however recommend you buy it if you can.
This slightly softer nature of the flour gives for a lovely soft centred baguette even though the crust remains firm and crunchy but slightly chewy, perfect for squashing around your filling or soaking up a soup or sauce.
Baguettes or flutes, depending on which you decide to make are for days when you have all the time in the world to potter around the house, never far from your kitchen timer because there are several stages to the creation of these delights, every step more than worth the time and effort though.
Whether it’s seeing the starter grow and bubble or forming the dough into the beautiful rolls or the smell that permeates the house on baking, you couldn’t fail to love the process and result of taking the time out to bake rather than buy these glorious, golden goodies. Trust me with that first bite you’ll fall in love.