Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Using the no-knead bread recipe to make baguettes

Recently I've been experimenting with the no-knead bread recipe. I've started substituting a cup of whole-wheat flour, meaning I've been using two cups of bread flour and one cup of the whole wheat. (One of the reasons homemade whole-wheat bread often turns out hard and dry is because of the lack of gluten in the flour. The bread flour contains enough extra gluten to balance out the whole wheat.) Pretty soon I'm going to increase that to half and half and see what happens. White flour, as we all know, is little better than sugar when it hits your bloodstream. I'd also like to start experimenting with rye flour, flaxseed, that sort of thing, to maybe one day produce a loaf of no-white-flour-at-all bread.

But one thing at a time. The addition of a cup of whole wheat flour didn't change the texture or the flavor of the final bread at all. The color darkened a bit (to beige rather than white), but so far this seems like a great way to sneakily introduce whole wheat. The dynamics of the recipe didn't change either.

So I decided to experiment yet further and see if I could produce a baguette. My husband-to-be is a big fan of baguettes (aren't we all?) but at $3 a pop locally, I knew I could make a healthier cheaper one.

So far, I haven't produced anything worthy of a French boulangerie, but I wasn't really expecting to, either. My best results have been to recreate the original recipe right up until the point when it's ready to go in the oven. Then I divide the risen dough into half (use a knife or a bench cutter) and quickly shape two vaguely oval loaves on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. They're more like Italian bread than baguettes, but they're softer than the round peasant loaf the original recipe produces and they seem to be more versatile. I can make several at a time and leave them on the kitchen table during the week for breakfasts, snacking, garlic bread, sandwiches, whatever. And even with the addition of whole wheat flour (which I can't buy in bulk), the cost per two loaves is about a quarter.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sweetie! Saw your experiment with baguettes! When you bake them if you want the hard crust outside and soft inside, spray water on the baking sheets several times during the bake time. Should turn out just like those hard crusty French baquettes! Try it...you'll like it! Hugs! Dianna/MO Mom