Today is World Bread Day! I love bread, so I certainly think that such a grand day deserves its own blogging event. So, apparently, did Kochtopf who is hosting a round-up of breads from around the world.
These are among the best baguettes I've tasted. My friend Anna gave me the recipe - she's a great baker.
Be aware that the dough for these is *very* soft, almost batter-like. Shaping the baguettes is indeed a challenge, but don't let that stop you. They're chewy with a crunchy crust, and while not fast nor easy to make, completely worth it.
600 ml water
750 g flour with extra protein
25 g fresh yeast
2 tsp salt
extra flour for the shaping
Mix the water and most of the flour and work with a machine for ten minutes, adding flour as you go. I use my Kitchen-Aid. Sprinkle over the yeast, and work for three more minutes. Add the salt, and work for three minutes again.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (NOT a towel - it will stick. Trust me on this.) and leave to rise for four hours.
Prepare a large surface with lots of flour, and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the dough onto the flour, it will be very soft. Don't knead it at all. With generously floured hands, gently form two lengths and place on the baking sheet, twisting gently as you go so that they'll end up with a twisted shape. Dust with more flour, and leave to rise, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 275°C, with the vent closed (if your oven permits). Put a large pan of water near the bottom of the oven, so that you'll get steam.
Bake the breads for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 200°C, and open the vent. Bake for 30 more minutes.
Remove, and let cool uncovered on a rack.