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Egg-free French bread

Submitted by on Sunday, 21 December 2008 No Comment

Merry Christmas to me!

My lust for kitchen tools is no secret. Where it gets a little weird, though, is the depths of the strange desires.

A baguette pan long has been my wildest fantasy — I’m sure there’s some Freudian connection. I’ve craved the crunchy crust that’s hard to achieve with egg-free baking, because part of the secret is the egg wash that’s brushed on the top.

I’ve looked hopefully in store after store for years, willing to take the plunge if I saw one in stock. Mommy deserves toys too, right? I’ve always struck out, though.

I set parental controls on my own Internet surfing account to block me from splurging on the King Arthur Flour Web site, which is my personal hit of kitchen crack. Ay, but I can’t block Amazon. Not this time of year. So while shopping for the guys, I couldn’t stop my philandering fingers from searching for “baguette pan.” Surely a look wouldn’t hurt. I can touch without buying, can’t I?

I bought it.

Rationalization (and, to quote “The Big Chill,” rationalizations are more important than sex): I need it for Christmas lunch baking. No longer will I embarrass myself by serving soft-crusted French bread.

I’m taking it for a spin this morning with this recipe, which is from the book that came with my Welbilt bread machine. It is indeed well-built, too. Almost eight years and still going strong, though knowing my luck I’ll wake in the morning to an inoperable heap after saying that.

French bread

This is for a one-pound loaf. My machine holds two pounds, so I double it.

  • 1 c. water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c. bread flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast

Use dough cycle. When dough is finished, place on light floured surface and let rest for five minutes. The original instructions say to cut dough in half, but I leave it in one piece because I like thicker bread. Roll dough into long rope and place in the trough of a lightly-greased baguette pan or on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

If there’s no egg allergy, glaze baguette with an egg white. You can use water if you’re dealing with an egg allergy, and it will come close to the results but not as shiny. Slash five times diagonally with a very sharp knife. Let rise until double, 45 minutes to an hour. Glaze again with egg white or water, careful not to press at this stage so you don’t deflate the bread. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until deep brown.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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