Monday, February 18, 2013

Dragon Tail Baguette

Baguettes are long thin loaves of bread popular in France, and other French-speaking countries. Baguettes are common in Europe. Usually, they are made of white bread having a hard crust on the outside but soft white bread on the inside. French traditions say that bread may only contain the following four things: flour, water, yeast and salt. Anything containing more than those things must not be called bread.

It is common to dip the bread into olive oil when it is eaten. The baguette is thought as to have come from France, but it actually came from Vienna. In the middle of the nineteenth century, steam ovens had just been brought into use. This allowed loaves to be made with a crispy crust and the white center similar to today's baguettes. Outside France, the baguette is also called a 'French stick'. It is a loaf of bread, up to a meter long but only about four to five centimeters in diameter. The baguette is a symbol of France. Baguettes are eaten as a sandwich cut in half. They are also eaten for breakfast (usually with jam or chocolate spread).
(Source- Wikipedia)

I am making a dragon tail baguette which is an extension to the original french bread. Simple styling gives a different and fascinating look to your bread basket.

Serve:  6-8
Preparation time:             3 hours


All purpose flour:                       800 grams (gluten content = 11.5%)
Active dry yeast:                        7 grams
Warm Water:                             520 grams (32 degree Celsius)
Salt:                                           16 grams


1) Mix the water and yeast using a whisk.
2) Pour it in the bottom of a large bowl and add all the flour.
3) Using you hand, bring all the dough together and set it aside for 10 minutes.
4) Bring out the dough on a floured surface and stretch using your palm. Fold it to half and turn around 90 degrees. Repeat the process for 5- 6 times until the dough is elastic but not sticky.
5) Put it in a clean bowl, cover it up with a cling film and let it rise at a warm place for about 1 hour of it doubles in size.
6) After an hour take the dough out and punch it down a little. Divide it in 4 equal parts.
7) Take one part and stretch the dough to make a small rectangle. Fold the upper 1/3 to the middle. Fold the rest to the end of rectangle and close the ends using your finger.
8) Repeat the process for rest of the 3 pieces. Cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes.
9) Elongate the dough to get the desired length. Flatten it up from the seam side and repeat step 7.

10) Let it stand for another 45 minutes to rise.
11) Using a sharp kitchen scissors make a cut 2/3 deep in the baguette and pull the top to tuck in the front (as shown in pictures)

 12) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 260ÂșC. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking. Cover the baguette with the aluminium foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil, steam will be created inside the tray which will help in getting a nice crust outside.
13) Reduce the temperature to 215ÂșC. Bake for another 20-25 minutes until it become golden brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves for another 5 minutes, with the door ajar, to let the loaves dry for a crisp crust. Cool on a wire rack