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This recipe is inspired by a superb recipe for Rosemary Focaccia Sheet in Rose Levy Bernanbaum’s The Bread Bible (Scriber 2003) and is her wonderful adaptation of her neighbourhood Sullivan Bakery’s bread. My 'baking sister' Rose can generate more enthusiasm for a recipe than anyone I know, so I had to try this one (well, Rose actually said, 'try this one first'). It is indeed fabulous as a focaccio, which it was intended to be.

The core notion in these sort of breads is there is just a tad of yeast, a tad of effort,  and a whole lotta time. It makes for a very wet batter (almost pourable batter) that results in a great bread that frankly, I have been making daily for two weeks straight. I also included a touch of malt to this recipe but you can leave it out. This bread takes not much expertise but some practise.It will reward you with a crisp, crackly crust (call it a Passion for the Crust) and those huge, big, gaping holes we all wish for in a bread. This same dough does happen to make great focaccio, which in turn, will make superb paninis the next day. The focaccio approach is Rose Levy Beranbaum's original intention for this recipe (and do check it out ; her original recipe is incredibly thorough and detailed). I make this bread her way but there is a big demand for baguettes in these parts so......eventually it became a baguette recipe.
If you are making a baguette out of this dough, you might have to add a bit more flour. In all honesty, this is what I would call a learning recipe.I suggest, as a start, that you make two mini baguettes which are easier to manage. Note the two different methods – food processor or mixer. Plain old baguette pans - nothing fancy -without holes -can be had through places like hardware stores, Golda's Kitchen, Sweet Celebrations. If you cannot find one soon enough, make this bread first as a focaccio - it is fantastic. When you use the baguette pan, you will find you almost almost have to pour the batter in. IF it is so gloppy, it leaks out of the pan - it is a sign to use more flour next time (until you get the hang of it). All things said, I advise you make it first as a flatbread/focaccio and work your way to it as a baguette. If you want a more sedate (easier but not as interesting) baguette recipe, try MacIntosh Apple Monkey Bread in my recipe archives. Rose's The Bread Bible, which took the Gourmand Bread Book of the Year Award (BetterBaking.Com took The Best Dessert Book, World) is available through our affiliates www.Ecookbooks.com

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Est. 1997

 

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