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FRENCH BAGUETTES are THE best fresh out of the oven...
the mere aroma is almost unbearable you've just got to
dig in. This recipe contains no fat of any kind and only
a little sugar, so the result is a very lean bread. Although
best when freshly baked (served within an hour of baking),
I've also taken the liberty of including a few quickie tips
you can use to enjoy it longer. You may want to save this
one for a rainy day because there are quite a few steps
involved but well worth the effort!

1. To freshen it up, sprinkle with a little water and reheat
in the oven.

2. Freeze the bread as soon as it has completely cooled and
reheat by letting it stand at room temperature for about 15
minutes, then warm in a 350 degree oven.

Enjoy!
Marzee

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RECIPE: FRENCH BAGUETTES

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INGREDIENTS:

1 package active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 to 6 cups unbleached flour
Oil, for greasing

DIRECTIONS:
In a large bowl or electric mixer, sprinkle yeast over 1/4
cup of warm water. Add sugar and let stand until yeast is
soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in remaining 1 3/4 cups water
and salt. Add 4 cups of the flour. Mix to blend, then beat
at medium speed until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).
Gradually beat in about 1 more cup of flour to make a soft
dough. Turn dough out onto a boar or pastry cloth floured
with some of the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup flour. Knead until
dough is springy and small bubbles form just under the
surface (10-15 minutes), adding just enough flour to prevent
dough from being sticky. Turn dough into a greased bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and a towel let rise in a warm
place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).

Punch down dough; knead dough lightly into a ball on a
floured surface. Cover with inverted bowl and let rest
for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Shape
each into a slender oval loaf 16 to 18 inches long by
rolling the ball of dough under palms of hands to elongate
it. Place well apart on a large, greased baking sheet. Let
ride until puffy but not quite doubled (20 to 25 minutes).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With a razor blade or very
sharp knife make 3 diagonal slashes, about 1/2 inch deep,
down center of each loaf. Before baking use an atomizer
or spray bottle filled with cold water to spray with a
very light mist of moisture. Place in oven, then spray
twice more at 3 minute intervals. Bake until bread is well
browned (25 to 30 minutes total). Slide onto wire racks
to cool.

Yield: Makes 3 loaves
Categories: Breads


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SPECIAL BREAD FINISHING TIPS:

Even though the natural brown surface is highly desired for
these loaves, you can enhance it even further by brushing the
crust with a glaze or sprinkling it with seeds, spices, or
even herbs. For shine, brush with an egg wash. for a soft
crust, brush with milk, buttermilk, cream, melted butter or
margarine. For a sweet glaze, brush with honey or a sugar
syrup. Some suggested toppings include; sesame seeds, poppy
seeds, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, or finely chopped
onion or garlic.

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