Boy, oh, boy. The other night I set out to do an experiment and the results were impressive. There was a lot of hypothesizing, measuring, and recording, and then I threw science to the wind and decided to wing it. What exactly was this experiment? French bread. Well, gluten free french bread. I knew the dough I use for my flatbread and cinnamon rolls was awesome, so I put it to the test yet again. I’ve also used the dough to make calzones in the past, but think I forgot to post the recipe (I’ll get there).
What ended up happening was miraculous. Now, let me admit that this wasn’t super-duper crunchy on the outside with a super soft, fluffy inside, but it was the closest thing I’ve had to french bread yet. The fact that I was able to eat it straight out of my oven made it even better, mind you.
It was delicious with butter, or paired with the meatballs I made that night too (recipe to come). The crust reminded me of an odd texture of Dutch crunch bread and a baguette, and the inside was chewy and sopped up the marinara sauce I dipped it in wonderfully.
You will need:
Egg yolks, or an egg wash of your preference (I used the yolks from the eggs in the recipe since they get tossed anyway)
Baguette pan (I have one like this)
Here we go:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Make the dough. While the dough is mixing, tear off a rather large piece of parchment (I never measure, sorry). Drizzle it with a little olive oil so the dough doesn’t stick to it. Note: I always wear latex (or nitrile) gloves while working with this dough so it doesn’t stick to me.
When the dough is thoroughly mixed, turn it out onto the oiled parchment. Make sure to oil your hands/gloves as well. Flatten the dough into a rectangle about 9 x 15 inches or so. Again, I didn’t measure, and always regret it. Using the parchment, roll the dough onto itself as if you were making cinnamon rolls, and tuck the ends in on themselves a bit.
Once you’ve rolled up your dough, cut off about half of the parchment. Why? YOU MUST KEEP PARCHMENT BETWEEN THE DOUGH AND THE BAGUETTE PAN. All caps is annoying, but that point is very important. A con of gluten free baking is that the dough is often quite sticky or loose. The dough will seep right through the holes in the bottom of the pan and you won’t be able to remove it to eat.
Let rise for about 20 minutes. Mine began within the length of the pan and as you can see in the above photo, it was well on its way to pouring over. Half way through rising it occurred to me to slice the dough like you might a glutenous baguette. It isn’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, I’m sure, but it is delicious nonetheless. Worth it, I say.
When the baguette is just about pouring over uncontrollably, brush it with the egg yolks or egg wash. Bake for roughly 25 – 35 minutes. Again, I am horrible at really keeping track of measurements or time since I was making the rest of my meal at the same time. I believe my baguette baked for about 35 minutes, and I could smell it when it was just about done. And it smelled divine, let me tell you.
Boom. There you have it. I admit I ripped a huge piece off of the end and doused it in balsamic vinegar and devoured it promptly. You can see the soft inside and crunchy outside when it is nicely sliced.
If any of you out there try this recipe and have any feedback, I’m dying to hear it! Enjoy!