Bread and Better

Bread and Better

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Cider Baguettes

I am not sure that this is the authentic baguette-making technique that the french have been using for generations, but it has always given me fantastic results, so I have stuck with it. I have worked out that adding steam creates the signature crusty-ness and makes the bake look and taste so much more professional. The cider adds a subtle sweetness and a gentle tang, which makes this bread a real grown-up treat. Serve with a selection of cold meats and cheeses or simply with a slathering of butter.

Makes around 10 small baguettes.

For the baguettes:
400g strong white flour
7g dried yeast
10g salt
250ml good quality cider

Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.
Add the salt and cider and mix together to form a dough (adding more cider if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with some clingfilm. Leave to rise in the fridge overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
When the dough has had its time in the fridge, leave it to come to room temperature (this could take a good hour).
When the dough is ready, cut it into 10 equal pieces.
Select the baking tray(s) you are going to use and roll each baguette the same size as its long edge, so that you have ten thin strands.
Liberally flour a tea-towel and line the baguettes on it, creating a ridge with the tea-towel between each one (see picture), so that they don't touch and they retain their shape.

Cover with another tea -towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C.
When the baguettes have rested, move them onto your selected baking tray.
Sprinkle each baguette with a little flour and create a couple of slashes in them with a sharp knife.
Place in the oven and spray some water onto the bottom of the oven floor (click here to see how), shut  the door quickly.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the baguettes have turned a lovely golden colour.
Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

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