Feb 22, 2011

Using The Breadmaker to Make French Baguettes

Today, I'm going to show you how simple it is to make bread using a bread machine. This is the machine I have, a Chefmate. I've had it for years and it's done a good job making all kinds of loaves and doughs. The manual contains quite a few recipes!

Owner's Manual & Recipe Book

This is the recipe I chose for today.... French Bread. Now alot of people thing you can't make French Bread in a bread machine because the crust just can't come out right. But what is all you are using it for is to make the dough?

How They Are Supposed To Turn Out

So I used this recipe from the book to make a 1 pound loaf on the dough cycle today. To this recipe I also added 1 tsp. of Vital Wheat Gluten, 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar and about a Tbsp. of potato flakes. What a combo you say? All of these help to make the crumb more "holey" and light and a true French Bread has a really nice soft inside and a crispy, crunchy outside.

The Recipe

With the bread machine, all you have to do is measure in the ingredients, set the cycle you want and step back as the dough is mixed and kneaded. I usually check back with the machine after a couple of minutes just to make sure there is enough flour and water to make a nice dough ball. Once I know that is ok, I just wait until the timer goes off signaling the cycle is ready for the next step.

Using The Dough Cycle To Mix & Knead Dough

Although my machine is a little older, it still has a few options you can choose and this photo shows you the dough cycle. I would LOVE to get a machine that makes a loaf of bread in a more traditional loaf shape rather than this upright one, but until then, this one is my little workhorse.

My Machine's Dough Cycle

Here is the dough at the point where it comes out of the bread machine.

First Rise

After rising for about an hour, the dough needed to be divided into pieces and rolled, seam side up, into the traditional French Bread shape for another rise of about 30 minutes.

Dough Divided and Shaped

The loaves are then flipped over, seam side down, brushed with a little bit of Olive Oil, slashed 3 times on the top and put on an oiled pan for 15 min. This is the time I preheat my oven to about 500 degrees even though the recipe only calls for 4oo. I have a broiler pan on the bottom rack of the stove filled with lava rocks that goes in as the oven is preheating so it gets VERY hot too.

The Last Rise

Using the method of some artisan breads, I quickly open the oven, slide out the broiler pan of rocks, toss in about 1 cup of water, put the bread into the oven, and close the door to allow the steam to really build in the oven. I also turn the oven temperature down to the recommended 400 degrees and set the timer for 25 minutes.

Right Out Of The Oven

And, Voila! Beautiful little mini French Bread baguettes! You should have smelled my house! Wow, there really is nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread!

It was really hard to wait while the little loaves cooled. Since this was the first time using the dough cycle, I wanted to see the insides and see if I got the crumb I was going for.

Here they are after about 45 minutes of cooling. I absolutely LOVE the way they looked inside. The taste test proved they WERE as good as they looked. This bread was very easy to make and the results were phenomenal! My only regret is that I didn't make the 1 and a half size dough so I could have more to eat!! Next time.....

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