Baking bread is one of my favorite things to do. There's something in the sweet simplicity that by mixing together a few basic ingredients you get a deliciously hearty food to use for a wide variety of meals.
This recipe from the book Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin has become one of my standbys. It is simple to make, has good flavor and has an assortment of uses.
From Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin
5.5 cups bread flour, plus 2.5 tbs. for sprinkling
1 envelope (2.25 tsps.) active dry yeast
2.5 tsps. salt
2 cups cool water
2 tbs. cornmeal
3 cups ice water
Mix 5.5 cups flour, yeast, salt and water in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the dough hook attachment mix for 2-3 minutes on low speed or until the dough becomes elastic.
Leave the dough in the bowl and cover. Let rise in warm place (approx. 70 degrees) until doubled in size or for roughly 4.5 hours.
After the dough has doubled, scrape the edges of the dough away from the bowl and into the center, gently releasing the air inside. Sprinkle your work space with 2 tablespoons of flour and remove the dough from the bowl, forming it into a ball. Shape it into a rectangle then divide into four equal strips using a dough cutter or sharp knife.
Roll each piece to about 18" in length. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat (I use a couche cloth and gently fold it to create four "wells" in which to place the bread) and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Cover, and allow the baguettes to rise in a warm place (at least 70 degrees) for one hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a small pan in the bottom to preheat. This will be used to create steam during baking.
Using a sharp knife or bread lame (I've also been known to use scissors) make four diagonal slashes in the top surface of each loaf.
Place the baking sheet with bread in the over, add 3 cups ice water to the preheated pan and quickly shut the door to create steam.
Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly brown with a good crust.
Remove and cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes before slicing.
Hey there! I'm Katie. This blog was launched in 2019 to help other families in their horse-ing, small farming, and homeschooling endeavors. Join us on this amazing journey!
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