Twisted Baguettes à l’Ancienne

24 Jun

Baguettes have been on my to-do list for a long time, but the traditional shaping process has somewhat intimidated me. However after seeing Yvonne’s beautiful, airy baguettes that she shaped by stretching and twisting the dough, I realized that it doesn’t have to be intimidating.

I made these for the girls’ weekend on Salt Spring to go along with our five kinds of goat cheese (I told you, we weren’t messing around). They are made from Peter Reinhart’s pain à l’ancienne bread dough – the same wonderful, flavourful, high hydration dough that I used for ciabatta, minus the olive oil – and as such, they were really good: lots of air holes and fermented flavour.

My oven was acting up (again!) when I made these, so they didn’t get as dark brown all over as I’d hoped, but I thought they looked really pretty with the flour-dusted twisted crust. I transported the baguettes to said girls’ weekend in a plastic bag so unfortunately the once-crisp crust had softened by the time we ate them, but regardless they were delicious. Non-twisted baguettes are still on my to-do list, but in the meantime, these will do fine :)

Twisted Baguettes à l’Ancienne

Inspired by Bitter Baker, dough from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday. Makes 4 baguettes.

Follow the recipe for this dough but omit the olive oil. Mix, fold, and ferment the dough in the fridge for up to 4 days as directed in the recipe.

When you are ready to bake, let the chilled, fermented dough sit at room temperature for about an hour. After that hour, preheat the oven to 550˚F (or its highest temperature) with a rack and baking stone (if you have one large enough) in the middle position and a metal roasting pan on a lower rack. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle them with flour (if you have a baking stone large enough to accommodate the baguettes, put the parchment paper on upside down baking sheets – this will allow you to easily slide the parchment paper directly onto the stone).

Generously flour your work surface and scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface, being careful not to deflate it. Gently stretch the dough into a square, then use a large knife to cut it into 4 equal pieces.

Stretch and fold each piece in thirds like a letter, then roll the pieces in flour and let them rest for about 10 minutes.

Stretch each piece of dough until it is as long as will fit on your baking sheet – do this by picking up the dough from one end and letting it hang and stretch under its own weight, allowing it to rest for a few minutes if it shrinks back.

When it is the correct length, twist the dough from each end and transfer it to the prepared baking sheets. If it comes untwisted, let it rest again to relax, then give it a few more twists.

The baguettes can be baked as soon as the oven comes up to temperature (they don’t need to proof but will be fine sitting out while the oven finishes preheating). Place them in the 550˚F oven one baking sheet at a time (or slide the parchment paper directly onto the baking stone) and pour a mug of hit water into the roasting pan on the lower rack to create steam.

terribly blurry picture, sorry!

Reduce the oven temperature to 475˚F and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until dark brown all over. Repeat with the remaining baguettes, letting the oven temperature come back up to 550˚F first. Allow the baguettes to cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Submitted to YeastSpotting and Panissimo, a monthly showcase of bread created by Barbara and Sandra, hosted this month by Barbara.

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19 Responses to “Twisted Baguettes à l’Ancienne”

  1. fudgingood June 24, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    I am so excited at the thought of trying these. Thank you.

  2. Sibella at June 24, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Looks excellent Korena! Perfect crust and so airy inside! YUM!

  3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide June 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Those look just wonderful.

  4. jehanne@thecookingdoctor June 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    Baguette is also an intimidating territory for me, but I must say yours look professional! Love the twist :-)

    • Korena in the Kitchen June 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

      Thanks Jehanne! These were a good confidence booster – the real thing is coming in the near future, I can feel it ;)

  5. Joanne T Ferguson (@mickeydownunder) June 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    G’day! Light and airy as can be!
    Who now wants to try these? ME! :)
    Cheers! Joanne
    What’s On The List

  6. TheWhiteRamekins June 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    These airy crusty twisted buggettes look really awesome. Bravo!

  7. sandra June 26, 2013 at 2:51 am #

    Korena, are so beautiful!!!!!

  8. Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories June 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    I love these loaves! So gorgeous!

  9. mookielovesbread June 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Very nice crumb…even though your oven was acting up they look great.

  10. Yvonne @ bitter baker July 4, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    This is like my number 1 favorite bread recipe EVER!! Yours truly look amazing! And you’re right, baguettes don’t feel so intimidating anymore :) But I too will probably shy away from non-twisted baguettes for a little while longer… :)

  11. Karin Anderson (Karin's Bäckerei) July 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    I bake my version of BBA’s Pain a l’Ancienne every week, but I really like the idea of twisting the breads. Very nice!

  12. Bread & Companatico July 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    FINALLY: I finally find the time to seat still and contemplate your baguettes without (hopefully) interruptions. They are gorgeous and I am so happy you posted this recipe. I am not so much into baguettes (I am more for bread you can slice) but love them once in a while. these look just like my favorite ones here in Stockholm, and now you make me discover that the process is pretty simple actually. may try making them soon…

    • Korena in the Kitchen July 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      I like bread you can slice too! But sometimes you just need something small to smear good cheese on :)

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