Richard Bertinet’s mini baguettes
- September 2021
- Makes 18
- Hands-on time 1 hour, plus at least 8 hours proving, cooling time (for best results, start this recipe 1 day ahead)
Take your bread game to the next level by baking mini baguettes. Expert baker Richard Bertinet’s recipe makes 18 crisp and airy little baguettes.
Want to learn more about bread making? Richard Bertinet’s Baking Bread BBC Maestro course is available from 1 September 2021. All online courses cost £80 each. Find out more here
- 0.6g (0.1g saturated)
- 38.8g (0.2g sugars)
For the poolish (ferment)
- 125g strong white bread flour
- 5g fresh yeast
- 125g tepid water
For the dough
- 500g cool water
- 800g strong white bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting
- 5g fresh yeast
- 15g fine sea salt
- Semolina flour for dusting
You’ll also need
- Dough scraper
- Stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
- At least 4 large baking trays, dusted with semolina
- 3 or 4 clean tea towels
Useful to have
- Lame/scalpel or very sharp knife
- Water spray bottle
- Digital scales
- At least 3 hours before starting the bread, make the poolish. Put the flour in a mixing bowl and crumble in the yeast. Add the water and whisk into a paste. Run your scraper around the side of the bowl to tidy up. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rest at room temperature for 3-5 hours until risen and bubbly.
- For the dough, pour the cool water into the stand mixer bowl, add the poolish, add the 800g flour, then crumble in the yeast.
- With the mixer on the slowest speed, mix for 4 minutes until everything comes together.
- Increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes, then add the salt and mix until the dough looks smooth, elastic and is coming away from the bowl cleanly (see Know How).
- Use a scraper to run around the edge of the bowl to release the dough and turn it out onto your work surface (don’t flour the surface). To build strength in the dough, slide the scraper under the dough and ‘walk’ it across the worktop to stretch the top. Give it a quarter turn and repeat a few times until it becomes a smooth and taut ball.
- Put the dough in a clean bowl, smooth-side up, cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 2 hours (or overnight in the fridge, covered with a large freezer bag) until nearly doubled in volume, bubbly and full of life.
- Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Using the scraper, turn out the dough so the ‘bottom’ is upwards. Form into a ball by pulling the edges into the centre, pressing down with your thumb. Turn it over, so the smooth surface faces upwards, then tuck the dough underneath all round to give a supple, elastic ball.
- Pat the dough into a rough rectangle and dust with a little flour. Use your scraper to cut it lengthways into 3 strips, then into 18 x roughly 90g pieces.
- It takes a while to shape the dough into baguettes, so now’s the time to turn on the oven (about an hour before baking): heat the oven to 210°C fan/gas 8. Put 2 baking trays in the oven to heat up.
- Take a piece of dough, turn it over and, with the heel of your hand, flatten it into a rectangle with a long edge nearest to you. With your left hand, pick up the right-hand corner on the far side of the dough, then fold it over your thumb into the centre, pressing it down with the fingers of your other hand (reverse if you’re left-handed). Do this along the length of the dough – this creates tension. Turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat along the other side.
- Bring the 2 edges together and fold over your thumb again, pressing down with the fingers of your other hand to seal. Turn over (seam underneath), then gently roll each end into a point. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
- Put the mini baguettes seam-side down on floured baking trays (not too close as they’ll expand). Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 35-40 minutes until just under double the volume. If you press the tops lightly, they should just bounce back. Dust with flour.
- Hold the lame (see tips) at a 45-degree angle and make one long central cut, or three short ones, as fast and clean as you can – try not to drag the dough.
- Slide the baguettes onto the hot trays, then quickly mist the inside of the oven with water spray (don’t spray onto the dough – see tips). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Open the door slightly for the last few minutes to allow the steam to escape – the dry heat helps a crunchy crust to form.
- Cool on a wire rack. As the cooler air hits the baguettes, the crusts will crackle – that’s the sound of your baguettes singing!
Want to see a video of Richard walking the dough? Watch his handy video below.
Find fresh yeast at Ocado or farmdrop.co.uk, or get it from a bakery. Store fresh yeast in the fridge and use within 2-3 days, or divide into 10g portions and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrosted yeast will become liquid – add an extra couple of grams to counteract any sluggishness.
A poolish extends fermentation time and improves the flavour, texture and shelf life of bread.
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