Saigon Baguette

The key to the special flavor of these loaves is in combining rice flour with wheat flour for the dough.  As is traditional, these baguettes should be slit across the top three times on the diagonal or once lengthwise with a clean, sharp razor blade.  (This is what makes the 'open eye' design on each loaf.)  Although similar in color and texture, Saigon baguette is shorter and wider than its French counterpart.

Makes 2 loaves 



1. Place the yeast, 1 cup lukewarm water, and sugar in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook. Sift together the all-purpose flour, rice flour, and salt in a separate bowl.

2. Starting the mixer at the lowest speed, add the butter to the yeast, then gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until well combined, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and continue beating the dough until it is smooth and comes away from the sides of the mixing bowl easily. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise (double in volume), 45 minutes to 1 hour.

3. Punch down the dough and knead it for 2 minutes. Separate into 2 portions and shape each into an 8-inch long baguette. (The dough may be sticky and hard to handle at this point. Do not overwork it, just gently shape it.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise a second time, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, place a baking stone on a rack set in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F. [Preheat for a good 30 minutes! Andrea]

4. With a sharp knife blade or a clean razor blade, make 1 slit lengthwise or three diagonal slits along the top of each baguette. With the help of a wooden pastry paddle, carefully slide 2 baguettes onto the baking stone and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. To test for doneness, tap the underside of the loaf. If it sounds hollow and the exterior is crisp, then it is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before handling.

Recipe provided by Susan


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