Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Twisted Baguette

It makes me feel cosy. That aroma that comes out of the oven while baking bread is what I'm talking about. That odour evokes images of perfectly crunchy crust. Have you ever thought about this – one could actually smell the crust. By the aromatic molecules coming out of the oven one could say if the crust is crunchy or soggy, if the middle is well balanced or the bread magic didn't worked out. Well, this one has definitely made it.

Whenever you see a nice looking(and tasting) bread on this blog you should know it is Ivan involved. Maybe it's because it's simply in his blood, since he is a third generation baker, but whenever Ivan makes bread it's like the bread gets alive. Not in the monstrous way though. But if there were a bread spirit, it would have filled the air of our kitchen. Oh, wait, maybe there is, since the whole apartment smells of this gorgeous baguette.(There were three of them, but... you see... some people, I won't give names... were very hungry. Oups.) And just to keep the game going on – it's twisted. You'll find it also on Yeastspotting.

Twisted Baguette Recipe:

For the dough we used our regular bread dough recipe. Usually we use less yeast than it is normally needed, but we like prolonging the fermentation process. This gives the bread a more complex flavour profile.
The water content varies and depends on the flour. The ability of the flour to absorb water vary according to the producer, the wheat quality, the grinding mode and the climate where you live. Considering we live by the sea and it's humid here, you may need to add more water.

For the Dough:

  • 500 gr all purpose flour (sifted);
  • 280 – 300 ml lukewarm water;
  • 8 gr salt;
  • 1 Tbsp sugar;
  • 10 gr fresh yeast.

For finishing:

  • 1tsp all purpose flour – 5 gr;
  • 8 to 10 times more water (in comparison with the flour) – around 45 gr;
  • white sesame seeds;
  • blue poppy seeds.
Dissolve yeast in 100 ml of the water. Then mix in 100 gr of the flour. Cover and leave it to double, even triple in bulk.
In a big bowl mix together the rest of the flour, salt and sugar. Add the rest of the water and the pre-fermented dough and using a hand (or stand) mixer equipped with dough hook knead to form dough and then for 10 more minutes to develop the gluten. Our hand mixer gives up very quickly so it's needed some hard hand kneading. Cover the dough and leave it to get doubled in bulk. The time depends considering the room temperature.
Knock the dough back and divide it into 3 equal parts from which to form 3 long logs.
For finishing – make scalded flour – bring the water to a boil then pour it over the flour whisking vigorously to prevent lumps from forming. The mixture should have a custard like thickness.
Usually scalded flour is being used to add some gloss and nice golden colour to the crust during baking. But in our case, we are using it as a glue.
Brush with scalded flour a lengthwise strip on top of each log. Then sprinkle exuberantly the brushed strip with white sesame seeds or just top. Tap it with your hands to assure the seeds are glued to the dough.
Flip logs on the other side and repeat the procedure, this time using poppy seeds.
Carefully twist each log several times. Place the three twisted logs on a floured kitchen cloths, leaving some space between them. Cover them and left the rest for 10 – 20 minutes for the final proof.
Preheat the oven to 220ÂșC with your stone in or as in our case – a sheet pan. Provide a steam source in the oven by placing a bowl of water in it. Transfer baguettes on the sheet pan and place them in the hot oven. When a crust starts to form (after around 10 to 15 minutes) remove the steam source and bake baguettes until golden brown.

PS. You see those tiny red and yellow tomatoes on the background - they are from our balcony. And these are of the few that those nasty caterpillars left for us.


  1. it looks lovely... i've never managed to do a French bread successfully but your recipe looks quite straight forward... I really should give it a try!

  2. Dom, we use this recipe maybe twice a week and not just for making baguettes but for whole loaves too. Sometimes we add a little bit of olive oil for pizza or substitute milk for water when making buns. It's our favourite multifunctional recipe.

  3. Ivan is a perfectionist! I love the fact you can tell if bread is cooked by the aroma.

  4. he he, Sally, I like sniffing at it but I'm not sure it works every time. Every time when I say it's ready, Ivan says "5 more minutes".



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