Over the years, bread and I have grown close together. So close that i decided to invest in a bread machine. I haven’t stopped baking bread in this wonderful contraption since. My fresh baked baguette came out wonderfully in this machine. Prior to this, my bread was never good enough to eat and my standards for bread are pretty high haha. The dough would never rise correctly, bread would taste and smell “doughy” no matter how many different recipes i would try. So I applause those of you that still bake bread by hand. The baguette was so good that i could literally eat it all in once sitting. However not good for the waistline though haha. You see bread is one those “dangerous friends” that your mother warned you about. Bread is the friend that is oh so fun and tasty to be around..but in moderation. But once you spend too much time with “that friend” you will notice your decision making skills and will power goes out the window. Bread loves to encourage you to make bad decisions like to eat more and more..and more and yet you can never say no. And since you have already had more than your limit for the day..one more wont hurt. But once you say no, you will feel bad for turning down this friend that you will come up with reasons and and excuses to spend more time with this friend. Soon you will spend too much time with your friend, maybe a week and suddenly your pants are a little too tight. Maybe its not a bad idea to listen to your mother after all.
1 C lukewarm water
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 C bread flour
1 tsp bread machine yeast, dry active yeast, instant yeast
Glaze: 1 egg white + 1 tsp water whisked together well.
Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in order listed. Start the dough cycle. I used the French/Italian bread cycle on my breadmaker. After about 5-10 minutes, lift the lid and check on the dough. It is absolutely ok to open the lid during mixing and kneading. Add more flour 1 tbsp at a time until dough turns into a ball that sticks to the sides, then pulls away. Or if the dough is too dry, then add more water until the dough sticks to the sides, then pulls away.
When the dough cycle is complete, turn dough out onto lightly floured board. Roll into oval shape slightly longer than you want your final loaf to be. Starting from long side, roll into a cylinder shape. Pinch the seams together. Turn over so the seam is hidden. Cover with plastic wrap or tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place. I always use my oven and turn on the oven light, it keeps the oven warm.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Make glaze and brush over loaf. Using a sharp knife or a razor blade, cut diagonal slashes about 2 inches apart and 1/2 inch deep across the top of loaf.
Prepare a hot water bath and place it on the rack below the baguette. The steam gives the crust a crispier crust. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes. Bake for another 5-10 minutes if you want it more golden. Remove from rack and eat immediately.