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For over 30 years, I have been making Rosemary & Cracked Pepper Italian Baguettes and everyone loves it! The good news is that you do not have to be a bread maker to make it, especially if you have a food processor. These bagettes are so great to take to an appetizer party or to enjoy on your sunny Sayulita deck with a glass of wine, and some yummy cheese. A thick smear of butter or homemade tapenade (recipe below) on a slice is a delicious way to enhance flavors!
So here we go ... Looks yummy, doesn't it?
*3 cups unbleached white flour - I have never seen unbleached flour in Mexico, so I use all purpose regular white flour.
*2 cups + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. Our Terrenal shop in Sayulita has great organic flours, or alternatively La Abejita (Little Bee in English), has very good flours.
-I like to blend these 2 flours together & then separate into 3 cups & 2 & 1/2 cups
*1 cup warm water**
*1 & 1/2 Tbsp. traditional yeast or 1 Tbsp instant yeast - either works great
* 2 tsp. sugar - to feed the yeast
**if water is too hot, it will kill the yeast. It should feel warm like a baby's bath.
- Proof traditional yeast by combining 1 cup warm water ** & 2 tsp sugar with the traditional yeast
-Stir until dissolved and milky - about 1 minute
-Cover lightly and let sit until bubbly and beginning to rise - about 10 minutes. If it is hot in the kitchen, it will take less time. Watch it carefully, as you do not want to let it over rise.
* if using instant dry yeast, omit the proofing step above and add dry yeast to flour mixture below.
-While yeast is proofing, add the following ingredients into your Food Processor. If you do not have a food processor, place ingredients above in good sized bowl.
* 3 cups of flour from blended mix
*1 Tbsp butter
* 1/2 Tbsp. salted butter or 3/4 T unsalted butter. I love the unsalted butter in Mexico. It is cultured and tastes like European butter.
*1 tsp. sugar if using traditional yeast; 1 Tbsp if instant
*1 & 1/2 T good quality dried rosemary
* 1/2 T cracked pepper. You do not want fine pepper, you want black bits.
-When yeast is proofed and with processor running add:
- 3/4 cup same temperature warm water. Remember like a baby's bath water.
-Then add remaining 2 & 1/2 cups of flour. Add 1/2 cup at a time until dough comes together into a ball and is not sticky. This is the part that is a little tricky. There may be some flour remaining, or not, depending on humidity and house temperature. You may even need to add a bit of extra flour until dough is just dry enough to knead up.
-Process for a least 30 seconds or longer.
-If using a bowl and hand method, add above ingredients in the same order and when a ball, knead by flattening ball a bit, picking up the side closest to you and pushing it to the center firmly. Rotate dough a bit and continue this pushing side closest to you to center and rotating for approximately 10 minutes.
-On a floured board or counter, turn dough out; round up and let rest lightly covered for 10-20 minutes. Again, do not let it over rise if room is very warm.
- Now cut dough into 4 even pieces, lightly coating cut edges with flour so they will not stick together or to the board
- Form each into a bit of a rectangular log and then roll 1 or 2 swipes in each direction until you get a rectangle approximately 7"x 4"
-Quickly, tightly roll up, pinching dough lightly so it attaches to itself as you roll into bagette shape
-Sprinkle parchment lined baking sheet with organic cornmeal. You can find a very good one at Terrenal.
- Place each rolled baguette side by side on baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each roll
-With a sharp knife, make 3 diagonal slices into top of each baguette; sprinkle top and sides with whole wheat flour; lightly cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours
* Check size of pan before you place baguettes on baking sheet to be sure that it will fit into the fridge.
-If it will not fit in your fridge, let rise in the coolest area of your house. It may take anywhere from 1/2 - 2 hours to rise. Remember that it always depends on room temperature as to how fast it rises, the slower the better, the longer the rise, the more that flavors are developed.
* Preheat oven to 425 degrees
* Let baguettes sit uncovered out of fridge for 10 minutes and resprinkle a bit of whole wheat on sides and tops, if needed
* Bake 20 minutes until nice crust has formed and bottoms are browned
* Remove from baking sheet to cooling rack
-Slice on the diagonal and serve with a generous amount of butter or tapenade
- Finely chop approximately 1/2 cup kalamata olives and 1/2 cup green olives with a pimento inside. Most tiendas in Sayulita sell them.
- Add a generous head of creamy roasted garlic* mashed into olives
- Add in some nice fresh chopped parsley...found at Lydias or Don Rodolphos here in Sayulita
- Drizzle in a good quality olive oil and voila, yummy tapenade!
*Take a tiny slice off top of garlic head, place in small ramekin, drizzle with olive oil, cover with foil and bake @ 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour. Test with fork to be sure that cloves are nicely softened and you can squeeze all out as a paste.
Coming up next El Sayulero: Cheesecake with fruit inside, topped with nuts or chocolate. Stay tuned!