August 10, 2011

Simple Crusty Baguette Buns (and How I Dreamed of Eating My First Tomato of the Season)

Each spring, when I plant tomatoes, I think about the first tomato that I will get to eat.

As the tomato plants grow, and flower, and then start growing small green fruits, I keep thinking about that first beautiful juicy red tomato.This year I pined for that first tomato especially long. Late freezes and spring floods made it so tomato plants got into the ground later than usual.

I actually had a dream about how I would eat that first tomato while I was waiting for it to actually happen.

This is what I dreamed......a lovely thick slice of tomato on a crusty baguette bun with mozzarella cheese and thinly sliced strips of fresh basil.

That's it. I didn't even need mayonnaise.

This sandwich was perfect, just as it was.

But this post isn't about that first tomato... it's about that Simple Crusty Baguette Bun.These buns are crusty and crunchy on the outside but light and airy on the inside... perfect for a rustic sandwich and great with soups or any time you want a crusty bread to go with something.

And they are seriously simple, which is nice for people (like me) who want to eat freshly baked bread, but (like me) don't want to go through all of the fuss that making bread usually demands.

In fact, any real bread makers out there please look away, because this recipe is probably an assault to all of you true bread-making souls who are good at the art of kneading and rising and proofing. This here is just my countrygirl shortcut. These buns take about 2 hours from the moment you think about making them until the moment you bite into one (and most of that time the buns are rising while you are doing something else).

First you combine some flour, yeast, and salt and whisk that mixture into some warm water.Then add more flour and stir it in as much as possible.Knead for five minutes and then let dough rest for fifteen minutes. Shape dough into balls and put them in the oven to rise for an hour.Then, no pre-heating, just turn the oven on and bake them. The next time you even touch the baking pan these buns are ready to eat!


3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon fast-acting yeast
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 more cup of bread flour
a bit more flour to sprinkle on counter for kneading
olive oil or vegetable oil for greasing baking pans

If possible, use non-metallic bowls and utensils. Combine 1/2 cup bread flour, yeast, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk these dry ingredients together. Pour 3/4 cup warm water into a larger bowl. Add dry ingredients to water and whisk to combine. (Optional: you may want to add some dried herbs at this time.) When mixture is smooth add 1 more cup of bread flour. Stir this together with a spoon as much as possible. When ingredients are mostly combined place dough on counter top sprinkled with flour and knead for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and pliable. Let dough rest for 15 minutes. After dough has rested drizzle a bit of oil onto baking pan and spread oil onto baking pan with your fingers. With oily hands, pinch off pieces of dough and form into 6 to 8 round balls. Place dough balls several inches apart on baking pan. Place baking pan on middle or top rack of oven and turn oven light on. Let dough rise in oven for an hour (or less... if they rise too long they start to get wide and flat instead of puffy). After dough balls have risen leave them right there in the oven. Place a small metal bowl or baking pan with a handful of ice in it on the bottom rack of the oven and turn oven on to 400 degrees. Bake until buns are golden on top, about 25 minutes (although I expect baking time may vary oven to oven). Buns will be crusty and crunchy on the outside but light and airy on the inside. Beware: they are addictive.


Candy C. said...

Okay, those do sound seriously simple and look oh so good! Thanks for sharing! :)

homegrown countrygirl said...

Thanks, Candy C.!

MARARIA said...

I love that kind of sandwiches, fresh tomato and mozzarella and basil.did I tell you that the basil I planted is beautiful? now it´s full of little white flowers, (seeds for nex spring)

homegrown countrygirl said...

MARARIA, I like to save the "albahaca" seeds from those pretty flowers, too!