French Bread

French Bread via http://underthebluegumtree.com

Before Christmas, the very wonderful Tandy of Lavender and Lime organised a Secret Santa gift swap between food bloggers.

I’m not usually one to gush but my Secret Santa gift was AWESOME. In my box of goodies I received a little packet of pistachio and sumac dukkah, some Madras style curry powder and a jar of pears preserved in red wine. All homemade!

To my Secret Santa, whoever he/she maybe, I apologise unreservedly. Unfortunately, a very slow South African postal service coupled with an impromptu trip back to the UK means I am only posting about this now. But the thought and care that went into the gift has certainly not gone unnoticed.

To sample the dukkah at its best, I decided to make a very simple French bread as an accompaniment. For some reason I always thought baguettes must be difficult to bake but this recipe is so unbelievably easy and yields a beautifully fluffy bread.

The recipe makes two baguettes. I ate one simply torn into pieces and dipped in olive oil and the wonderful homemade dukkah. The other I have stuffed with garlic butter and frozen for the weekend.

French Bread via http://underthebluegumtree.com

French Bread (adapted from Bread by Liz Herbert and the Women’s Institute)

  • 350g white bread flour
  • 115g plain white flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 300ml luke warm water

1.  Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water. Mix to a soft dough.

2.  Knead on an oiled surface for 10 minutes until smooth. Cover and leave until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

3.  Split the dough into two even pieces. On a floured surface, lightly roll one portion of the dough into a rectangle about 35 x 25cm. Working from the longest side, roll the dough up into a sausage shape and place, seam side down, on a lined baking sheet. Tuck the ends under to neaten. Using a sharp knife, make deep diagonal slashes in the loaf at 6cm intervals. Repeat with the remaining dough. Leave to rest, uncovered, for another hour.

4.  Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan and place a dish of boiling water on the bottom shelf. Dust the baguettes with flour and cook for 20 minutes until a deep golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.

9 comments

  1. What a lovely foodie secret santa! And amazing bread, I too assumed baguettes would be a little on the skilled side for me, but yours look perfect. Yet another bread recipe to bookmark, thanks!

  2. Sounds like a lovely secret santa! And your bread looks so amazing. I can’t believe it’s homemade. It looks like you can buy this at a fancy bakery. Now I really have to try making french bread at home. Thanks for sharing Claire! :)

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