This Salted Caramel Baguette recipe, from famous pastry chef, Chrisophe Adam of L’Eclair de Genie fame, is something a little different. In fact, it’s so genius that I’m jealous that I didn’t think of it first!  It starts with a dark caramel which is turned into caramel water and then used to make the bread dough. The result is a chewy, crusty bread with faint toffee/salted caramel flavour  that’s not sweet. It is ridiculously moreish. On cold days, I love to bake bread! This is one of my favourites and so is this. Baking bread not only fills the house with the most wonderful smell, but being in front of the warm oven gives me that snuggly feeling. There is nothing more satisfactory than pulling your own bread out the oven. Nothing except devouring said fresh, handmade loaf with ridiculous amounts of butter, that is. I urge you to give this salted caramel baguette a try – it may seem daunting, but with a little practice, you’ll hopefully find bread-baking as therapeutic as I do!

SALTED CARAMEL BAGUETTE

Makes 2 loaves

 

Caramel water:

100g white sugar

400ml water

 

Salted Caramel Baguette Dough:

300ml caramel water, cooled

5g active dry yeast

350g strong bread flour

1 tsp fine salt

 

Salted butter, to serve

 

Start by making the caramel water; place the sugar in a small saucepan with enough water to wet the sugar and give it the consistency of wet sand. Place the saucepan over medium heat and allow the sugar to caramelize to 160 degrees celcius (if you don’t have a sugar thermometer, it should start smoking slightly and be quite dark). Carefully pour in the rest of the water and allow it to dissolve. Set aside to cool completely.

To make the salted caramel baguette dough, place the cooled caramel water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (you could also do this by hand). Add the yeast and mix to dissolve completely. Add the flour and salt and mix until a sticky dough forms – it will be stickier than what feels comfortable but hang in there. Knead for 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth (it will still be sticky, that’s okay). Cover the bowl with a plastic bag or clingwrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Remove the dough from the bowl and knock it down by kneading it gently. Divide the dough into two balls. Using your palms, press each ball out into a rectangle about 10cm wide. Roll the rectangle up lengthwise, pressing the edges down with your palm each time, to form a sausage. Roll the sausage back and forth to form a baguette about 25cm long. Place on a floured baking sheet, cover again and allow to double in size. Preheat your oven to it’s highest setting, 250 degrees Celcius is ideal. Bake the baguette for 13-15 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool slightly then devour it with lashings of salted butter.

 

TIP If it’s a cold day, turn your oven into a prover by setting the temperature to 50 degrees celcius. Place an oven dish of water in the bottom to create humidity then allow your dough to rise inside.