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It took me forever to figure out how to make them well. Most recipes I tried tasted like regular old rolls, not chewy and bubbly on the inside and crusty on the outside, with some beautiful and delicious caramelization.
What’s maddening is how many recipes will tell you how to make the dough, and then “yada yada yada” the most difficult part – forming and rising the loaves!
I’ve tried so many different methods over the past year and finally cobbled together one that works for me every time, and I’m almost ready to share it with you. I’m editing the videos now, but I wanted to give you a heads up on what equipment you’ll need.
I make this dough with a stand mixer and a dough hook, but since this recipe requires very little kneading, it’s easy to do without a mixer.
You will absolutely need a baguette pan (or a slightly larger French loaf pan). This is non-negotiable. After trying so many different methods, this one turned out to be the least-stressful one with the best results, and very little mess. These pans cost about $15 and unless you’re having the Von Trapps and the Brady Bunch over for dinner at the same time, you only need one. If you have Amazon Prime, order these today and you’ll have them in time for baking early next week!!
You’ll also need parchment paper to line the pan. You can do it with a roll of parchment paper cut to size, but I like these pre-cut parchment sheets because they’re delivered flat and won’t curl up when you’re trying to put your dough on them.
You’ll need some kind of metal baking pan with high sides (not a baking sheet – too shallow) to steam your oven. You do NOT want to use a glass pan for this. Any old 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 or 13x9x2 or even a metal bread loaf pan will work. I have an old brownie pan that gets rusty easily because I used a metal knife in it too many times, so I don’t use it for baking anymore, I just use it for this.
A lame is not really necessary, but it makes scoring your bread a lot easier (and it’s cheap). In lieu of a lame you’ll need a very sharp knife.
There are very few ingredients involved, but if you don’t bake a lot you might be missing a couple of them.
You’ll need Bread Flour. I use the stuff from King Arthur Flour. You’ll also need Instant Yeast. (I’ve never tried doing this with regular yeast, but I promise I will and report back. However, instant yeast is a great thing to have. Keep it in the fridge in a sealed container and it will last for a very long time.)
Salt and olive oil (or olive oil spray) you probably have.
That’s it! Get those things, then check back on Monday for the dough recipe, and Tuesday for the rest of the instructions (the dough has to sit in the fridge for at least a day).
And stock up on some butter too. :-)