Baking with Steam

As you will know if you follow the blog, we have spent the last few months completely transforming our kitchen. It’s been hard graft and taken a lot of work, but we are so incredibly happy with the results. And with a new kitchen comes new applications, and my new AEG oven hasn’t disappointed. Especially when I tried baking baguettes with the oven’s steam function for the first time!

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Last year you may remember I tried having a go at making Baguettes, thanks to the easy Paul Hollywood recipe which can be found here. One thing I learnt whilst making my baguettes is that you need a really wet dough, and then extra added moisture from a steam bath at the bottom of the oven when it comes to baking them.

I was gently reminded just as I was about to pop them in for baking, that our oven had this added steam function. I believe the oven we have works on a 20% steam function, but at the moment AEG are promoting combi ovens with 100% steam! Imagine that! The oven is easy to use by simply pushing a small button on the front which brings out a water container which needs to be filled. As the oven heats, so does the build up of steam and the results are a golden crust with the prefect amount of crunch.

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Baguettes can be a bit of a faff, but 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 above recipe will make approximately 4-5 smaller baguettes, which are prefect for individual sandwiches.

As a note, be careful when shaping as you don’t want to punch too much air out of the dough, as you want it to be as light as possible. You really do have to handle the dough with care, but don’t let this worry you when shaping. There is nothing worse than dense, hard bread, so shaping involves a very gentle roll with the palms of the hands and slowly forming it into the traditional long sausage shape, making sure any tucking of the dough is unseen at the bottom.

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These baguettes were incredibly light, and were timed brilliantly for lunch. 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. The bread defrosts in minutes, and makes the perfect pasta accompaniment, especially when its divided by slabs of garlic butter!

Have you tried making baguettes before?

Do you have a recipe you can share that worked really well for you?

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* Today’s post is not sponsored. This is just one keen baker wanting 5 minutes to take the floor and rave about her new oven! 

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