I never make baguettes. Well, very rarely anyway and I'm not entirely sure why. There are so many breads to make that every now and again one slips off the radar, lost and forgotten for a bit and then POW. Baguettes pop into my head one day like a long lost relative walking back into my life, and we have to be together in that moment, no question.
That’s what happened today! At Bake with Jack castle we’re just easing into a new routine. My wife has a new job on Sunday and Monday nights, and I’m at home Monday and Tuesday with the kids while she catches up on some shut eye. So now my head is scrambled for a bit until I get used to switching up my week, we’re just figuring it out.
Today, the kids and I had baguettes for lunch, and I must admit, I'm so chuffed with how they came out. Check out those holes! Excuse me while I blow my own trumpet, but the first baguettes I have made in donkeys and they look like this? I’m gonna!
Everyone has their own idea of the perfect baguette, and I get asked all the time “how do I make the perfect, French baguette??” Answer is... who knows? A French baguette in one person’s heart and mind will differ greatly from the next, as will the techniques used to get there. A French baker will make it his own way, which may well be very different to the French baker across the road, or the French baker across the country!
These are daddy day baguettes, made by me, as best as I can with the time I had on daddy day between popping out to do our weekly shop together and shifting laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. They proved up at a time when I needed them to, so they fitted in with everything else.
Learn all you can about bread making, and then create the baguette of your dreams. Crusty if you like it, chewy if you like that instead, big holes, small holes, however you see it being just right. Learn the principles, not the recipe. The preferments, the benefits of elongated resting, the principles of shaping, stone baking, and using steam! Then, take the dough and the matter into your own hands. Make your baguette your way, around everything else that goes on in your life.
That's why I share my tips each week in videos and articles just like this one. I could give you a recipe (and every once in a while, I do) but the real skill is already in you, you just need an education in dough. How it works, what it loves and what it doesn’t. What you can get away with and what you really can’t. Your baguette will be as unique as you are on the day that you made it just like these ones were.
That’s the perfect baguette.