It is not easy to create or bake the classic French stick, or loaf, at home mainly because the flour used is not available in the UK, but also because you need a good steam oven. This bread dough makes a lovely crispy long baguette that everyone will enjoy.
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 1 1/2tsp Easy bake or fast action yeast
- 3tsp salt
- 300ml hand hot water
Place the flour in a mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and just 1 tsp of salt. Add the water and stir until the mixture comes together. Then, using your hands, gather the dough into a ball.
Turn the duo out onto your work surface and knead it for 10 mins until smooth and elastic. If looked, you can do this in a food mixer with a dough hook for just 5 mins.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 30 mins.
Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knock it back, then cut in half. Roll each piece into an oblong about 40 cm long. Roll up the dough like a Swiss roll and place on a lightly floured baking tray. Make five diagonal slashes along the top of each loaf.
Mix 2 tsp salt with 1 tbsp warm water and brush over the loaves. Leave the bread in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size, this may take anything from 30 mins to 1 hour depending on the warmth of your room.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/400°F/Gas Mark 7. As soon as you are ready to bake the bread, place a baking tray of water in the base of the oven, then place the bread on a shelf above it to bake for 15 mins. Remove the tray of water and continue to bake the bread for a further 15-20 mins until golden brown and crisp.
This bread is best eaten on the day it is made.
If liked, serve this bread the next day, sliced and spread with garlic butter and warmed in the oven, wrapped in foil.