Thursday, October 21, 2010

Someone Loaves You - French Baguette!!

Wow!! Time sure does fly!! It has been eight days since my last post!! EIGHT WHOLE DAYS!!

This lag between posts can be attributed to a lot of things - my internet connection being on the fritz, having guests over a few days last week, and of course, last and NEVER the least, caring for my sweetheart now 3-month old son. But most of all, the internet connection issue. I mean, honestly, it is only then that I realized how reliant I am on the internet. For practically EVERYTHING. I use it for pretty much everything - I follow other peoples blogs, I check to see if someone has looked up MY blog, I read up about animal rights issues, I do research for the articles I write (oh, by the way, I write a 4-days-a-week column for a newspaper reviewing videogames - what fun! If you can get your paws on a copy of Bangalore Mirror, you should look it up sometime. If not, you can check it out here. :0)) , I chat with friends and family near and far, I Google senseless nonsense that really doesn't effect me in any way just to while away precious time,  yada yada, yada yada. I think you catch my drift!

My point is that the internet has now become an indispensable part of my life, in a way that I sometimes think may not be very healthy. Its almost like I use it in lieu of my brain every now and then, 'cause, really, its soooo much easier to get information out of!! The weirdest part is that I am sure a lot of you guys who are reading this will relate to it. So much of our lives has become 'virtual'. I even met my husband on the internet! I mean, I have 'friends' who I have never met, and interact only through this medium. Ok, alright. I think I have made my pointless point, and wasted enough of your time and mine!! :0) So, lets get on with the show!!

Like I have mentioned earlier (or have I?!), my husband and I like trying out baking bread every now and then. So, the other day, we craving garlic bread, and decided to make a whole wheat baguette at home. Of course, we knew it would look nothing like one, considering we have a rather modestly sized oven. So, we Googled up a recipe for a whole wheat baguette, and settled on this one.

The one thing we have noticed every time we make bread of any kind is that we seem to need to use more yeast than the recipe calls for. So, other than the fact that these loaves we slightly denser than we would have liked, they were pretty good.

And to go with it, I made a yummy little garlicky concoction we used to make when we were younger to spread on our store-bought slices of bread! :0)

Of course, you can choose to serve your baguette in several ways:
- warm with a knob of butter
- a slice to go with a warm bowl of soup
- doused scantily with garlic-infused olive oil (I love it this way)
- sliced and used to sandwich yummy fillings
- slathered with tapenade

If you are the type of person who has the patience and inclination to bake your own bread, do try this out!

Whole Wheat Baguette (or Loaves)

  1. 1 cup           All-purpose Flour (Maida)
  2. 3 cups         Whole Wheat Flour
  3. 1 packet      Dry Active Yeast
  4. 1-2 tsp.       Sugar
  5. 1-2 tsp.       Salt
  6. 2 cups         Warm Water (43C/110 F)
  7. 2 tsps.         Olive Oil for greasing
  1. Bring together the salt and flour in a bowl.
  2. In another vessel, mix the sugar in the warm water. Ensure it is not too hot, nor too cold, or the yeast will not react favorably.
  3. Add the yeast to this mix, and keep for a maximum of 5 minutes. If you keep it for too long, the yeast will be too tired to work on your dough.
  4. To this, add the flour & salt mixture, and knead well till the dough is elastic and smooth. This should take anywhere from 10-15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough into a large oiled bowl, turning the dough around to ensure the whole surface of the dough is covered with the oil. Cover with cling-film. Allow this to rise for about 2 hours, by which time it should have doubled or tripled in size.Af
  6. After this time, punch in the dough, and knead it for a few minutes again. Cover with cling film again, and let it rise once more for about 2 hours, after which time it should have once again doubled in size.
  7. Preheat the oven to 230C (450F).
  8. Knead the dough a last time, and divide into 3 portions (or as many as you like).
  9. Form each portion into a long baguette, place on a baking sheet, and leave sitting for about 20 minutes.
  10. In the oven, place a bowl of water, and place the baking sheet with the dough in the oven.
  11. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, till the tops are golden brown. 
  12. You can check for doneness by tapping the bottom of the baguettes. It should sound hollow.
  13. Cool till warm before slicing and serving.
  1. I have amended the amount of yeast in this recipe to a whole packet. Its the only way the loaves seem to turn out well.
  2. Shashank sprinkled these loaves with poppy seeds and sesame seeds. You can use any other topping of your choice, including vegan cheese, fresh or dried herbs, and many more. 
  3. As mentioned earlier, since we have a small sized oven, we opted to make ciabata-shaped loaves rather than the traditional long baguette ones.
  4. I should mention that since my husband does most of the kneading that is called for by any recipe, he did all the work here. :0)

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