About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Friday, 19 August 2011

French bread

I've been making bread using the no knead method about twice a week since before Christmas, so it's pretty much routine now. Having got the hang of that, I thought I might get adventurous and try making French bread, which is one of the few foods that Ian really loves. I thought it must be difficult and/or require fancy ingredients to get such delicious loaves, so I was quite surprised when I looked up recipes to find that they were very similar to the one I was already using. In fact, I learnt that French law requires bread sold there to have only four ingredients; flour, salt, yeast and water.

So what makes it so special then? As far as I can gather from these excellent instructions, it's how you handle the dough, and how you cook it.

Handling: when forming the baguettes, fold the dough lengthwise and pinch the edges together several times to form a backbone.

Cooking: turn the oven up as high as it will go and put a shallow pan of water in the bottom to create steam. This should be taken out roughly half way through cooking to allow a crunchy crust to form.

This morning, partly because I'd forgotten to make dough before I went to bed last night, and partly prompted by Mrs Green's recent post on the same subject, I decided to make a couple of baguettes.


This was my second or third attempt at making them, and they came out very well, if I do say so myself! I forgot to take the water out of the oven (that is, I remembered, but ten minutes too late, by which time the bread was cooked) so the crusts are a little soft, but the bread is as delicious as it looks - yummy!


  1. I can't tell from the photo in your old post about the no-knead method whether the flour is wholemeal or refined. I'd guess refined as I can't imagine you'd ever get "value" wholemeal. So my question is, have you ever tried this with wholemeal please, and if so does it work?

  2. Hi cj,
    No, you're right, we can't get value wholemeal. I do buy the cheapest I can get, though, and yes, this method does work with wholemeal, though it never rises quite as much as the white bread.


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