Bread for the Soul

Yesterday, I told you all about our plans for enjoying life in the here and now.

Well, I thought you'd be pleased to know that Mr. DD obviously took our conversation to heart, because he treated us to a first round of homemade bread - fresh from the oven baguettes for breakfast anyone?

Um, yes please!

For a first timer, he said it was actually easier than one would have thought.

Gather your ingredients: flour, water, salt, dry active yeast.

Check out this link to see the recipe he followed. 

Mix the dry ingredients first and then add in the water.  

As much as they say baking is a science, this seems to have a bit of wiggle room. 

The key was to create just the right amount of stickiness. 
 The dough should stick to the bottom of the mixer but not the sides, so adjust with water and flour as needed.

The dough was then placed in a well oiled bowl, covered with Cling Film and refrigerated overnight.  The long process of cold fermentation gives added flavor to the dough while also producing bread that lasts longer before going stale.

The dough did rise some over night, but the real rising took place Saturday morning. Once removed from the fridge, it sat at room temperature for 3 hours.

(Now we know why bakers get up so early in the morning!)

Place the dough on a floured surface, then pull and stretch to approximately a foot long and 8 inches wide.
No kneading or rolling pin necessary!

Then cut into even portions.

Form into baguettes and place on parchment paper, score across the top.

Preheat your oven to 500degrees F, including your pizza or bread stone.  If your oven doesn't go to 500 degrees, that's ok, but crank it up as high as it will go because super-high heat is critical to the magic.

Essential for the European style crusty bread - a tray of water in included in the oven and the sides of the oven are squirted with water. 
(or in our case, flicked with water as we didn't have a spare spray bottle handy)

The dough should be placed directly on the stone. 

20 minutes later ... and check out those results! 

Now that's a good breakfast. 

Not to mention afternoon snack and evening appetizer!

Thanks Mr. DD for the lovely treat - now keep up the good work!

***This post was co-written by Mr. DD and me*** 
(His first written appearance on Designing Domesticity!)
We hope it has inspired you to give homemade bread baking a try - we've got a lot more experimenting coming your way, so stay tuned.

Another quick shout out: the recipe shown above is the closest rendition to the methods learned from the famous bakers at Paul bakery in the UK.
(for those of you lucky enough to live near a Paul in Washington DC or in Florida, their bread is the best!).

Until next time,