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Rustic Country Baguettes

These baguettes are a variation on the Rustic Country Bread that I did a few weeks ago. That dough is not only delicious, but versatile. It works well in any shao, whether it is a large loaf, individual sized dinner rolls or baguettes. The one thing that changes is the baking time.

As I have mentioned before, though it is definitely worth rehashing, the best way to check if a yeasted bread is baked thoroughly is by using an internal read thermometer, or a meat thermometer, to take the temperature at the center of the bread. When the internal temperature reaches 200-210F, the bread is done. This will produce consistently cooked bread with not a whole lot of effort on your part. I mean, how hard is it to stick a thermometer through the bottom of a loaf?

I used part whole wheat flour in these baguettes, though you could certainly use all bread flour. The bread flour gives these baguettes a much better texture than all-purpose flour would. Adding a spray of water into the hot oven before baking will give these a great crust. To refresh the bread for serving, or the next day, simply place the loaf in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes.

Rustic Country Baguettes
Sponge:
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup water, warm (110F)
1 cup bread flour
Dough:
1 cup whole wheat flour
3-4 cups bread flour, approximately
1 1/3 cups water, warm (110F)
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp salt

Make the sponge:
Dissolve yeast in warm water and stir in flour. Let rest for at least one hour (or up to 5, as time permits).

Make the Dough:
In a large bowl, combine the sponge, 2 cups of flour, water, honey. Add salt and remaining flour, stirring in about 1/4 cup at a time until the dough comes together into a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic – about 5 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate. Divide the dough into three even pieces and shape into oblond baguettes, about 16-inches long. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled lightly with cornmeal or flour. Cover baguettes with a clean dish towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450F.
Slash the tops of the baguettes 4-5 times with a very sharp knife. Bake for about 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and an instant read thermometer (meat thermometer) inserted into the end of one of the loaves reads 200-210F.
Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Makes 3 baguettes.

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11 Comments
  • Alanna
    April 4, 2006

    Hi Nic – Never thought of using a thermometer but will definitely give it a try. Can a meat thermometer with an electronic tip be left stuck into the bread while it bakes? I would’ve thought the bread might deflate … thanks!!

  • Nic
    April 4, 2006

    Oh no, Alanna, don’t do that! It would definitely hurt the progress of the bread in the oven.
    Just when the bread is very close to being done, stick the thermometer into the bottom of the loaf, letting it go in a few inches. Don’t stick it into the top of the bread, either, as steam might slightly compromise the upper crust.

  • Anonymous
    April 4, 2006

    Nic,the bread looks so beautiful, it’s just the way I like them with the slits or cracks on the bread. I never have any luck making them. I even bought those bread machine and they don’t work either. I am just not a bread maker dude!! But I enjoy your photos very much..It’s the closes I can get to making bread ;o)

    john

  • Gustad
    April 4, 2006

    wow, they look nice and light.

  • J
    April 5, 2006

    hi nic, looks yummy! if you don’t mind, can i ask what the crumb is like? (judging from the recipe, i’m guessing its pretty chewy with lots of airy pockets?)

  • Nic
    April 5, 2006

    Hi J – I just added a photo of the crumb. I deleted it (much to my chagrin) when I originally wrote the post. It is chewy on the inside, with a lovely, crisp crust – especially when reheated in the oven. It has some air pockets, but it actually does not have the huge pockets that everyone so loves. Not that I’ll hold that against this baguette. They taste fantastic.

  • Melissa
    April 6, 2006

    I use a Thermometer!
    What lovely bread! Lovely crumb!
    You got it, Nic!

  • darlamay
    April 6, 2006

    those are lovely!

  • chanit
    April 7, 2006

    professional !
    I must bake it one day.. !
    Thank you nic 😉

  • Warren
    April 14, 2006

    I just made this bread – and it came out perfect! Thanks alot for the recipe!

  • Anonymous
    April 16, 2006

    I just tried your bread and made boule’s and did they come out GREAT. I knended them for about 10 minutes in my bread machine and did the rest by hand and boy did they rise out of this world. Great receipe. Daler.

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