& now "The Baguette"
Updated: Apr 6
Gluten free and Vegan Baguette
I've been working on this recipe for some time, trying to replicate a traditional baguette. According to the experts a baguette should have a chewy interior riddled with holes, and a crisp, golden-brown crust. Another expert (Eric Kayser, see note below*) said, "you need to smell the baguette. You put it in front of your nose . . . and you see if you can find 200 different flavors . . . more than wine." Further to that a regular baguette is "supposed" to weigh approximately 250 grams and is 65 cm long when baked. Finally there is a proper way to score the bread, apparently many of us get it wrong. Whew talk about a tall order! I spent way too much time trying to match those exact specifications. In the end I decided to go with this recipe not because I've nailed it exactly as the experts prescribe (it is after all a gluten free and vegan baguette), but because it's an excellent start and the recipe turns out a good loaf every time I make it.
This baguette is crisp or crusty as it should be, creating steam in the oven as the recipe states is the key to that lovely crunch. The flavor of the bread and texture of the crumb is great too! The "holes" in the crumb are evenly distributed but not large as in a traditional baguette. It is possible to create large holes by increasing the hydration and perhaps by employing a sourdough method. However increasing the hydration means that the dough will be more difficult to handle and shape, prone to collapsing thereby creating a dense laof.
My recipe calls for resting the dough, which definitely improves the texture and flavour of the finished loaf. Though I suggested 2 1/2 tsp of yeast you could use less, that way the bread will take longer to rise, which will allow it to develop even more flavour. This principle of resting the dough (and a long fermentation time) is actually used by traditional French and artisan bakers when making their baguettes. It is not uncommon for this process to take days!
All I can say now is give it a go. The experts are correct when they say it takes patience, dedication, and practice to master the art of making a baguette.
*Find Eric Kayser's quote here
Gluten free and Vegan Baguette Recipe
¾ cup almond flour
¾ cup brown rice flour
¾ cup oat flour
¼ cup tapioca starch
1 tbsp psyllium husk powder
1¼ tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp sea salt
2 tsp brown sugar
2½ tsp instant yeast
2 tsp baking powder
1¼ cup warm water (105-115°F)
2 tbsp coconut oil
½ tbsp vinegar
brown rice flour to dress the baguettes
Notes You can sub the flour, starches and xanthan gum with an equivalent amount of a GF bread flour mix i.e. 2½ cups
Directions In a bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients, use only 1/2 tsp of the yeast and none of the baking powder. Set aside
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients (except the vinegar), kneading or mixing until thoroughly combined. The dough should be slightly sticky but holding together and fairly easy to work with. Add more water if needed
Cover the bowl with cling wrap or other and set aside in a cool place to rest for about an hour. Resting the dough improves the texture of the finished loaf. Allowing the dough to slow rise overnight in the refrigerator is also an option
At the end of the rest period add the rest of the yeast (2 tsp), the baking powder and mix or knead well. Add the vinegar and mix or knead again. The dough should be fairly easy to handle and not wet as regular gluten free bread dough. In fact it should feel very similar to regular bread dough If you have a baguette pan or tray prepare it now. You can also make “sleeves” with foil and parchment paper. The “sleeves” and the tray that it is resting on should be perforated for better results
Prepare a lightly floured surface to shape the dough
Divide the dough in half, keep one piece covered while you work. Roll or knead the dough until it is somewhat smooth then elongate into a torpedo like shape. Place the baguette on the baking tray, cover with lightly greased cling wrap and set aside. Since my dough rises fairly quickly, I do not cover it. I have found that allowing the top of the bread to form a skin is better for scoring. Repeat these steps for the remainder of the dough. Working with lightly oiled or flour dusted hands helps
Allow to rise for 30 - 45 minutes or more until it is just less than double in size. Since the dough has less water than traditional gf bread dough, I find that I am able to let it proof for a little longer (my kitchen is fairly warm at all times so my proofing times are generally far less than 1 hour).
Toward the end of the rise preheat oven to 425°F. Fill a baking dish or tray with water and place it on the bottom shelf of the oven to heat up. Alternately you could add a dish or tray of boiling water at the same time you are placing the baguettes in the oven. In whatever way you can try to create steam which will produce the crunchy exterior of a traditional baguette.
Lightly dust the top of the loaves with flour (I use brown rice flour). Using a sharp knife or lame make diagonal slashes along the length of the baguette. When the oven is ready, bake the baguettes for 20 minutes at 425°F. Remember, try to create steam to facilitate a crunchy crust, spritzing water just before you close the oven door also works as does creating a foil tent over the loaves
After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 250°F. With a makeshift baking sleeve, take the baguette out of the baking dish to bake on the parchment paper for another 5-10 minutes. Bread is done when it makes a hollow sound once tapped and when the crust is firm on all sides
Place the loaves onto a rack and allow to cool
If you are not using the entire loaf right away, wrap the rest of the loaf tightly to maintain freshness for as long as possible and keep refrigerated. However, bread is best sliced, wrapped and stored in the freezer if it will not be use within three days.