Bread from Heaven and French Baguettes… Today on The Catholic Foodie Show we talk about the readings from yesterday’s Mass and what they could mean for me and you. We also talk French Baguettes with a recipe from my friend Craig Poirier.
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French Baguette Recipe
- ½ cup cool water
- 1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/16 teaspoon instant yeast
- All of the starter
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 3½ cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- For the starter: Mix the starter ingredients together till smooth, cover, and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight is good.
- To make the dough: Combine the starter, yeast, water, flour, and salt, and mix and knead them together – by hand, mixer, or bread machine – till you’ve made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface should still be a bit rough. Allow the dough to rise, covered with lightly greased plastic wrap, for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured work surface. Divide the dough into three pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel or edge of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15″ log.
- Place the logs in the folds of a floured couche or floured cotton dish towel, which you’ve set onto a sheet pan or pans. Or place them directly onto the pan (lightly greased or parchment-lined). Cover them with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they have become quite puffy, but haven’t doubled in size; this will take about 60 to 90 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F; if you’re using a baking stone, place it on the lowest shelf. Roll the risen baguettes from the couche onto the lightly greased or parchment-lined pan of your choice – or onto a peel if you’re baking directly on the stone.
- Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust. Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8″ vertical slashes in each baguette. Place the baguettes in the oven.
- Bake the baguettes for about 25 minutes, until they’re a deep, golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2″, and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.