We are all friends here so I will be completely honest. This recipe scared me. I just had this idea that there was no way that I was going to be able to accomplish baking a batard or baguette. Especially not in Houston. Humid climates are not helpful in bread baking, so that was a major strike against me. But I beat the odds, I guess. You never know what you can do until you try, do you? Can you tell I did the happy dance all over the kitchen when they came out of the oven? And AGAIN when I tasted one? Ahhh. Delicious freshly baked bread. Is there ANYTHING more wonderful???
I am not going to go step by step through this recipe, because let me tell you, there were lots of steps. However, at the same time, it wasn't totally overwhelming. I mean, I was able to complete the last part while making dinner AND helping the clever girl with her homework (homework, in first grade!!) AND attempting to keep the clever boy from opening up my flour container and shaking it all over the floor handful by handful (his new totally favorite thing to do, ugh). And it turned out well! So, if my totally multi-tasking self could accomplish this bread, YOU CAN TOO!
A couple of things about this recipe:
- It calls for 0.6 ounces of fresh yeast. I have never found that in the grocery store and substituted 2.5 teaspoons of instant yeast instead. This amount was determined after checking many conversions online that mostly agreed.
- You can make this bread by hand, in which case you have to knead the dough for 10-15 minutes with your big muscley-muscles, or make it in your heavy-duty stand mixer. I opted to use the mixer. That was what I initially thought and then when I watched the video and saw that Danielle Forestier kneaded and turned the bread over 800 times, my inclination for the stand mixer was confirmed. There is no way my current multi-tasking brain would be able to manage 800 turns.
- There are specific times given for different steps for this recipe. I underlined each of them in my book so I wouldn't miss them.
- I found the video quite helpful for shaping the batards. Unfortunately, I started shaping the first one and then started watching the video, so the outside of that loaf got a bit dry. You can tell if you look closely at the sort of bumpier looking loaf that I tried to hide a bit in the basket above. However blemished this loaf was on the outside, it was still delicious. You can't judge a book by it's cover!
Oh, and the taste? Yum. The bread had a great crust on the outside and was soft and airy on the inside. The flavor was great, like most baguettes I have eaten out. Are you up for a challenge? Give this recipe a try. The recipe and video give great explanations, and I believe you will find success! The IDEA of this bread is scarier than the reality. You can find the recipe on pages 123-127 of Baking with Julia, or here.
Truly, the feeling of accomplishment and success is worth the work of this recipe! Yeah, me! Now it's your turn!