Friday, September 22, 2006
Baguette by Paul Hollywood
I've been baking quite a bit lately. No matter how stressed I am, breadmaking always calms me down. It's really good for the soul. And when the results are so good, well, it's hard not to find the time. Anyway. This baguette is from Paul Hollywood's book "100 great breads". It's a soft baguette, and the inclusion of butter makes it tighter in crumb than those fluffy, hollowy french breads. I'd say that this is perfect as a sandwich bread, rather than eating with just butter or cheese - but that's just me. In a few days, I will post a baguette recipe that I like a lot more - the results are more chewy, crusty and in general, more baguette-y. However, this recipe is easy, and that's really important too. The dough is easy to handle, it's not sticky or runny, and it's very hard to mess this one up. (As indeed with many Hollywood breads. I very much recommend his book - it's been very reliable for me.)
Please note that you need to start this one day before you plan on eating. Don't worry, it'll just take a minute.
500 g white flour, preferrably extra strong
20 g fresh yeast
1 tbsp salt
50 g butter, softened
Mix 200 g of the flour with all the yeast, and enough water to make a thick batter. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and leave overnight.
Add the rest of the flour, the salt and the butter. Add enough water to make the dough smooth and elastic, but not sticky or wet. Leave to rise in the bowl for 1 hour.
Punch down the dough as to remove the air, and shape into a baguette form. Place on a baking sheet, and let rise for another hour.
Heat the oven to 220°C, and just before you put in the bread, make several diagonal slashes in it. Bake for about 30 minutes.