March 21: National French Bread Day
We celebrated Highlander’s birthday while touring Paris, France, many years ago. Before heading out of our hotel to go sightseeing, we ate croissants, brioches and other breads for breakfast. But our favorite was the classic baguette, a long loaf of French bread with a crusty exterior, which was served with many meals at the cafes and restaurants throughout the day. It tasted so delicious, especially when smothered with creamy French butter!
We still like to buy baguettes and fresh artisan breads at the local grocery store’s gourmet bake shop. But for our blog, we decided to try the “dough only” cycle on our bread machine and bake baguettes in our own oven because Islander has an old form pan that she wanted to use (both our bread machine and the form pan were acquired in our newlywed year).
Whether starting from scratch or taking a shortcut with a bread machine, try baking a baguette for National French Bread Day.
(Adapted from Oster)
- ¾ cup water
- 1 teaspoon softened butter (or margarine)
- 2 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ teaspoons regular active dry/bread machine/quick-acting active dry yeast
In the container of the bread machine, place the water, butter or margarine, flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Set the machine to “French” and “dough only” cycles. Press start and wait until the cycle is complete.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into two or three balls. Place the balls in well-greased bowls or pans that are large enough for the dough to rise. Cover with a damp cloth or greased plastic wrap.
Put the dough in a warm, draft-free place, such as an oven. Let them rise until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours). Remove from the pans and roll out to form a long loaf shape. Sprinkle corn meal on a greased French bread form pan or baking sheet. Lay the dough on the pan/baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth or greased plastic wrap and return to the oven. Let them rise again until doubled in size (about another hour). Remove from the oven. Meanwhile, preheat it to 375 degrees F.
Brush a little milk on top. Cut diagonal slits on top of the dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly before slicing.
- We bought our baguette form pan from Wilton before the item was discontinued. However, Amazon.com sells a variety of French bread pans.
- Search our blog for other Franco-inspired food recipes.