I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving…the recipe that I am sharing today is very simple to put together, and comes handy especially during holiday season as everyone is busy shopping and cooking…this bread can be stored in the freezer and ready to serve in a blink.
Before I start, have you ever heard of “stretch and fold” technique method of bread dough?
Well, this is a very simple technique where you literally stretch and then fold the dough. This is a super easy and simple method to accomplish great results. So, instead of the traditional physical workout kneading the bread dough, in case you do not use a mixer, you only gently stretch the dough and fold it to the center during the initial proofing stage.
I used the no-knead method and try them in both way…the conventional way, leave the dough until ready to shape and by incorporating the “stretch and fold” technique during the first hour of the proofing.
As you can see by the pictures below, adding a simple “stretch and fold” the bread has a better structure because the dough develops nicer gluten strands, therefore more air and larger air pockets.
Better flavor? To me it was hard to tell, but I love the idea of more uneven air pockets. And it was definitely easier to shape since the dough was kind of “self contained” after the stretch and fold technique was applied.
Another great thing about this fresh baked bread…you can store in the freezer for later enjoyment…just wrap the baguette or rolls in freezer safe plastic bag, try to remove all the air. When ready to use, remove from the freezer, place bread in a defrost mode on you microwave for a few minutes then pop them into the oven at 375F for 5 minutes…you will not be able to differ the frozen ones from the freshly baked ones.
After this experiment, I sure will use this simple technique when baking no-knead bread. The ratio between water and flour used in this recipe was the same as used HERE, 80% hydration.
200g bread flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon yeast
Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl. The dough will be soft and very sticky. Cover the bowl and place in a warm place.
For the “regular method” you can read HERE, as for the “stretch and fold” method, during the first two hours “stretch and fold” every half hour.
How to “stretch and fold”: Using a wet hand, scrape a section of the dough (approximately ¼), lift and stretch it, then fold into the center of the bowl. Repeat 3 more times, ¼ at the time.
After 4 sessions of “stretch and fold” let the dough rest for 10 to 12 hours.
When ready to bake, gently remove the dough from the bowl over a floured surface and split the dough into approximately 2 portions.
Fold the dough over itself and roll as you push out until elongated in the form of baguette. Repeat with the other dough.
Place the baguettes on a cookie sheet on a floured parchment paper. Dust the top of the baguette with flour and gently cover the baguettes with a plastic film.
Leave to rest for approximately 1 to 1 ½ hour or until almost double from its original size.
Preheat oven to 550F (or as high as your oven will permit). Place a pan with water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Use a sharp scissor cut the bread making diagonal marks of approximately 45 degree, make sure to tuck in the tips.
When ready to place the baguettes in the oven spray the baguettes generously with water. Let it bake for 5 minutes and repeat the water spray. Another 5 minutes in the oven and spray again with water and turn the pan around so the baguettes bake evenly. Let it bake for another 5 minutes or until the crust turns brown.
For the “regular method” I made two baguettes as for the “stretch and fold” dough I made one baguette and 4 small rolls.
Now you can decide which method you like better…for more bread recipes please check HERE.