Bread is not food for me. Sadly, I am allergic to gluten. Happily though, my allergy is only in the stomach, not in my heart. In my heart gluten and I are in true, passionate, young love. I adore stretchy dough, and I – indeed – admire hearty, real, hand-made bread. It is not food. It is a statement. Bread is a statement about life, about love and above all, a statement of belonging to mankind. In my native Hungary, as well as in all other countries, many Christian religions prays to God regularly: “Give us this day our daily bread…” I pray to God as follows: Give me the knowledge and the love to give them their daily bread! And well, this is what I am intended to do…
Simple baguette – A prefect and foolproof way to start bread-making
- 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 280-300 ml warm water (100° to 110°) with a teaspoon of honey
- 375 g bread flour, divided (about 14 1/4 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cooking spray or oil
- 1 teaspoon cornmeal
Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Measure flour and add 350 gr flour to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; sprinkle evenly with salt. Knead until the salt is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).
Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in warm place (85°), 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If an indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide in half. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion on a floured surface into 12-inch rope, slightly tapered at ends. Place ropes on large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray, and cover; let rise 20 minutes or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 450°.
Uncover the dough. Cut 3 (1/4-inch-deep) diagonal slits across top of each loaf. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
Finally, all that’s left is: enjoy it!