Wednesday, 19 February 2014

French Baguettes

Hey guys! I remember that when I used to live in the States, we used to go the Sears and Natick malls, and sometimes Palacades mall. I remember our favorite places- Macy's, Claire's, Hot Topic (my two sisters' favorite), and, my all-time favorite... the food court.

I used to love the huge variety, like those flavored popcorn stands, soft pretzels, PF Chang's, S'barro-a pizza place declared delicious, Panda Express, with its amazing orange chicken, anything from Subway and McDonalds to The Cheesecake Factory and The Melting Pot. You name it, they'll have it. My family and I used to go to one of the three malls every weekend.

Of course, since we moved to Pakistan, I miss them, and try to recreate it. I've taught myself pizza like S'barro, Alfredo like the Cheesecake Factory, homemade popcorn, orange chicken, and, most importantly, soft pretzels. But, as I recently discovered, the Mall of Lahore have some products worth copying.

I know, I know, I can't copy their peppermint tea or cat treats, but what I can copy is their baguettes! Soft from the inside, crunchy from the outside... one word- PERFECT.

Light and airy, perfect with hummus, butter, cream cheese, or to make sandwiches, paninis, garlic bread, and even for breakfast!

You give me a reason not to make these because they are DELICIOUS!

French Baguettes

1 tbsp dried yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (about 115 degrees F)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 tsp baking soda

Mix together all the ingredients exept the flour and baking soda. Let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.
In a separate bowl, sift 2 cups of the flour and the baking soda. Form a 'well' in the center and add the yeast-y mixture, stir, add the remaining flour and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth (like the dough in the first picture). Place in a large bowl- make sure it's greased -and cover in plastic wrap. Let sit for 1 hour till doubled in size (second picture).

Remove from bowl, punch down a few times, and form into a long log-ish shape.
Place onto a huge sheet pan sprayed with baking spray or greased with butter or oil; DO NOT use foil!
Cover, let sit for 30 minutes, to become ginormous.
Preheat you oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F).
Shove the bread into the oven Brush your bread with milk and THEN shove into the preheated oven, remove when bread is hollow when tapped and golden.
Last step, DEVOUR.

Zoya ❦

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