I have to admit, I have a bit of a thing for Paul Hollywood, I mean what woman doesn’t! And he is such a talented baker, his cook books are amazing and he has beautifully easy recipes to help even the most novice baker. Whatever your ability, Paul Hollywood has a recipe for you! So when I decided I wanted to make Baguettes, I went straight to the man himself (unfortunately not literally!)
This easy Paul Hollywood Baguette recipe is a great start to anyone who hasn’t tried making them before (like myself) or someone who wants to build a bit more confidence in the art of bread baking, in particular, baguettes!
Forming the loaves takes a bit of practice but I’m confident that the more you practice, the better shape you will get. I mean take a look at these, they are definitely not even with one end much wider than the other, but who cares when they taste this good!
I know I have a long way to go still – I’d love to be able to perfect that crunch on the outside and soft middle. I mean don’t get me wrong, these tasted great and I had Luke’s approval straight away when I made him the sandwich of all sandwiches! But there is definitely an art to bread making and I’m determined to master it!
One thing I learnt whilst making my baguettes is that you need a really wet dough, and then extra added moisture from an almost steam bath at the bottom of the oven when it comes to baking them. You also have to be really careful when shaping as you don’t want to punch to much air out of the dough so to keep it light. You really do have to handle with care, which made me slightly scared when it came to the shaping. There is nothing worse then dense, hard bread, so shaping involved a very gentle roll with the palms of the hands and slowly forming it into a long sausage shape, making sure any tucking of the dough is unseen at the bottom.
Although it may seem that baguettes are a bit of a faff, they are totally worth it in the end. To me, there is nothing better then a fresh baguette straight out the oven, cut into small pieces and smothered in butter. I literally spent a lot of Saturday afternoon slowly making my way through half a baguette, I just love it! These baguettes are purposely large, but I believe the recipe above will make approximately 4-5 smaller baguettes, which are prefect for individual sandwiches.
I will definitely be making these again and work the recipe to suit me and my baking style. The more the practice, the better you’ll become and for me, I hope to certainly improve the shape! They also freeze really well, you can just defrost and reheat in either the oven or the microwave to get back that soft doughy centre, and crunchy top. I actually did this the other evening for dinner – once defrosted I sliced half a baguette into small pieces and in-between each piece added a small slice of garlic butter which made the perfect garlic bread baguette. There are so many uses, and the bread defrosted in minutes. It was a perfect accompaniment for the homemade Bacon Carbonara.
I think I’ll give my second round of baguette making a miss this weekend, I mean there is such a thing as too much bread! So this will be going on the saved list of things to bake again. I’ll let you know how I get on!
Have you tried making baguettes before?
Do you have a recipe you can share that worked really well for you?