Bread week was one of the weeks I looked forward to when I was at the Pastry Academy. The sweet aroma of freshly-baked bread that fills the air never failed to tantalize my palate any time of the day.
Making this baguette was very exciting because we had to get the ingredients ready a day ahead - the bigga - and that was the first time I learned and used bigga. Perhaps this explains why this baguette is much lighter compared to the previous recipe. It has the irregular holes with a crispy crust. You should be able to break chunks off easily with your hands.
Bigga: 1 day ahead
Mix all three ingredients in a bowl. Cover with cling wrap tightly. Leave overnight.
500g bread flour
First, mix the flour with water. This is what is called 'autolyse'. Leave it in bowl tightly wrapped for 20 minutes. Then, dump everything in a mixer and knead on medium speed around 10 minutes. Proof the dough for 45 minutes.
Flatten the dough on a floured workspace. Stretch and fold from each side (4 stretches and fold altogether). Cover with cling wrap and leave to proof again for 45 minutes.
Next, divide the dough into approximately 370-390 gm each. Round each dough and again, cover with cling wrap. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
The next step is shapint the baguettes. Flatten the dough, and roll it (like rolling a swiss roll, but press as each roll is complete). Roll the ctlindrical dough with your hands to reach the diameter and length that you desire.
Spray with water and leave to proof for 30 minutes. Using a very sharp knife, make a few diagonal incisions on top of each loaf. Spray again generously and bake in a preheated 230C combi oven or 210C normal oven.
This recipe takes that 'extra' effort but rest-assured, the result is worth every drop of sweat that comes along in making it!