Baguettes àla your Bread Machine

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If this bread was a perfume it would be named “Heaven from the oven”. An adaption of a recipe I found in Pizza, Focaccia, Flat, and Filled Breads From Your Bread Machine by Lora Brody, my version is a family favorite that I have made so many times I have it memorized.

You will need:
1 cup of warm water
3 cups of all-purpose or bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar – I use a little less
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons saf-instant yeast or 2 teaspoons dry yeast

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Saf-instant is my favorite yeast. I buy it by the pound and empty it into a stainless steel canister with a clamp top. I store the canister in the refrigerator.

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Place all the ingredients into your bread machine following the directions that came with your machine. I load my machine first to last with liquid, flour, the rest of the dry ingredients and then add the yeast into the center top of the pan – away from the water. Program your machine for basic or quick dough. Preheat, mix, knead, and a short rise takes 45 minutes in my Zojirushi bread machine.

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Remove the prepared dough from the bread machine and place it in a large bowl. I rise my dough in an old bread crock that I keep exclusively for bread. My beautiful old birds-egg blue bread crock was a gift from my sister-in-law Marilyn and I treat it with great respect. I never use soap to clean it. I just wipe it out, dry it carefully, and store it.

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Lightly spray the top of the dough with an oil spray and cover the crock with plastic wrap. Put the crock/bowl into an oven on the proof cycle for three hours. My oven ‘proof cycle’ keeps the dough about 75-80 degrees. If you don’t have a proof cycle on your range then keep the covered bowl in a warm place for three hours.

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You have probably heard the kitchen tale that says “the more often you bake bread in your kitchen the better your bread will be because yeast spores come to live in the air in your kitchen”. It’s true! I like to think that my bread crock has bread spores in it and helps my bread rise. Maybe? Maybe not?

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After three hours in the oven on the proof cycle the dough rises high. Sometimes it even rises to the top of the crock. Punch the dough down and let it rest 10-15 minutes on a board covered with a towel. baguettes 6

After ten minutes you can shape the dough into one large baguette or two smaller ones. I usually make two because I have a baguette pan that bakes two baguettes side-by-side. Bake your baguettes on a cookie sheet if you don’t have a baguette pan.

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Allow the baguettes to rest five to ten minutes then use scissors or a razor blade to snip/cut each loaf three times. Mist the loaves with water or brush them with water.

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While the baguettes are rising bring a kettle of water to a boil and place an oven proof pan on the bottom shelf of your oven. I use a metal bread pan. Place your loaf/loaves on the shelf over the pan and pour about 1/2 inch of boiling water into the pan. Set your oven to 400° and close the door. Bake the bread for 30 -35 minutes. Note: you do not preheat the oven. The steam from the boiling water will help crisp the baguettes.

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30 to 35 minutes later you have “heaven from the oven” crunchy baguettes

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Allow the bread to cool as long as you can stand it. Slice it.

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Butter it. Yum! Heaven from the oven.

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These baguettes are wonderful sliced and toasted for breakfast. Or . . for garlic bread – slice, toast, rub with a garlic clove, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper and Yum! All you need now is a bowl of homemade soup.

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin

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