No stand mixer? No problem! Easy 15-minute hand kneading and no fail cold proofing process!
I've been baking bake non-stop and am so in-love with homemade fresh breads of all kinds! From sweet brioche to crispy chewy baguettes! However, I find that proofing bread can be a bit stressful and daunting because (1) sometimes I just forget to check how my bread is doing and it over proofs, (2) not sure if my bread rised properly and (3) not having enough time to make fresh bread properly.
I also know that some of you don't own an electric stand mixer that can handle a long kneading process or want to buy ingredients you'll only use once. So I designed and tested a back to basic's handmade cold process proofing baguette with 6 basic ingredients! This process makes it quick and easy for me to make bread without failing or at least without failing too badly! And the best part is, it only takes 20-minutes to prep the bread and then leave it to do it's own thing. Bread making is an art and does take time for your to build a relationship with it.
For this recipe, you'll need to plan a day in advance or at minimum the night before you want to have fresh bread. You can leave the bread to cold proof up to 48-hours or two days in other words. Before prepping the final shape, you'll need to let the bread sit at room temperature for a minimum of 30-minutes.
Ingredients (Makes 8 cute five inch baguettes)
3½ cups bread flour
1½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp INSTANT YEAST
1¼ cups water (may or may not use all)
2 tbsp butter melted or olive/veg oil
½ tbsp melted butter for brushing after baking
Olive/veg oil for greasing
Hot boiling water (after shaping for last proofing before baking)
Spray bottle with water
Add flour in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar and instant yeast to flour in separate sections without touching.
Mix dry mixture together throughly.
Make a well in the middle and add half the water. Combine and add the 2 tablespoons of butter.
Continue to add water in small increments after initial water addition.
If dough is overly wet from too much water added, add an additional tablespoon of flour.
Once most of the flour is moisten, begin to knead with your hands until mixing bowl is mostly clean.
Remove dough, add oil to hands and the surface of the dough.
Hand Kneading: Begin hand kneading for 15-minutes by pushing inwards towards the center, then pulling dough back into the center, rotate and repeat. IT IS CRUCIAL THAT THE DOUGH IS KNEADED CONTINUOUSLY FOR A FULL 15-MINUTES.
Machine Kneading: Set on stir to combine ingredients till dough is moisten. Increase to setting number 2 or 3 and knead for 5-minutes. Rest machine for 10-minutes and then knead dough for another 5-minutes.
Gluten is being developed to create the strong structure to maintain the shape of the bread and to create the chewy softness we all love about bread. Not enough gluten built will cause the bread to collapse and create a dense bread.
Oil mixing bowl and dough. Place dough inside bowl. Tightly seal mixing bowl with cling wrap. Place in refrigerator overnight until it's time to prepare for your meal.
Next day, remove dough from refrigerator and let it warm up for 30-minutes.
After it's warmed up for 30-minutes, remove from bowl and pull the dough downwards and pinch the bottom a few times. This will remove air and smooth out the dough again.
Divide dough into 8 equal pieces like a mini pizza. You can weigh each dough to make more consistent bread sizes. I don’t always do it because I’m okay with them being slightly different sizes. It gives it a rustic feeling!
Roll dough like a pizza slice. Doesn't have to be exact. It will be rolled up like an inverted croissant to create the banh mi shape. Start by rolling the pointy end towards the wide end. Pinch seams together. Place your hands on the rolled dough’s edge and begin to roll it back and forth to smooth the shape out. Applying more pressure to the ends and not the middle. To create the classic banh mi shape with the narrow tips and chubby middle. Place on a bread pan and continue making the other pieces.
Once all pieces are done, spray all pieces with water.
Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes to do the final rise. The oven is not on at this point. Place hot water in a pan on the lowest rack to help the dough rise.
Remove dough from the oven. Preheat the oven to 400° with the hot water bath.
While the oven is heating up, cut a slit across the length of the individual risen dough using a 45° angle with either a razor or super sharp knife. Spray opening with water so that that section stays moist and can rise in the cooking process. This will create that beautiful split on the banh mi.
Right before it’s time to bake, spray water onto the individual bread pieces and extra on the slits. Bake bread on a middle rack between 20-24 minutes.
After the first 5-minutes of baking spray with water again to allow the outside to stay wet and allow time for the inside to expand some more. If you have a dry and cooked exterior, the inside won’t be able to keep expanding and creating that fluffy texture. Be careful! The steamy air is super hot! Open the oven and let air escape before moving yourself closer to spray the bread.
After 5 more minutes of baking, remove the water tray. This is during the last 10-12 minutes of baking to allow bread to brown and crisp up.
Melt the ½ tablespoon of butter. Use a brush to apply butter to the tops of the banh mi.
Once the golden brown color appears, your bread is cooked and ready for the final butter brush application! Let bread cool slightly and enjoy with some condensed milk, dipped in stews or make a sandwich! Great with curries and stewed meats. Bon Appétit!
Baguette Pan: https://amzn.to/2ZWZ06u
Baking Tray: https://amzn.to/3gQ0ZiP
Wilton Small Rolling Pin https://amzn.to/33bs1gr
Spray Bottle: https://amzn.to/36Rt0lI
Multiple Spray Bottles: https://amzn.to/2U5Y9MS
Mixing Bowls: https://amzn.to/3j0LuFT