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Basic Dough for French Baguettes and Focaccia Bread/from blogger/

Basic Dough for French Baguettes and Focaccia Bread
makes two french baguettes or two focaccia breads
(original recipe)

500g bread flour
10-15g fresh yeast
300-400ml warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Proof the yeast by mixing it with some warm water and a teaspoon of sugar. Let it stand for a few minutes until it becomes foamy.

Meanwhile, mix the flour and the salt in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Incorporate the yeast mixture to the flour. While mixing with an electric mixer (paddle attachments), gradually add warm water until you obtain a dough ball that detaches itself from the edges of the bowl. The dough will be quite sticky,but don't worry. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or a plastic bag and a clean kitchen cloth and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume (30-45 minutes). Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a minute or two, and then return it to the bowl. Cover with plastic and a cloth and let it rise again until it doubles in volume. Repeat this process 2-3 times. Although it seems that this process takes a lot of time, most of it is just rising time during which you can do other things around the house. It's important to let the dough rise as many times as possible because that ensures the softness and the quality of the bread.

After the dough has risen a few times, we can proceed to form french baguettes or a focaccia bread.

French baguettes

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a large baking pan with some olive oil.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Gently stretch each piece and roll it to form a loaf. Repeat the process until you get the shape of a french baguette. Transfer the baguettes to the baking pan. Make 3 diagonal slashes on each loaf with a sharp knife, cover with a cloth and let them rise for another 20-30 minutes before baking.

In the meantime we are going to create a steam in the oven that is going to help our baguettes have a nice thin but crunchy crust. Heat approximately two cups of water until it starts to boil. Transfer it to a smaller roasting pan and then put the pan into the preheated oven, onto the bottom rack. Take approximately 100ml of boiling water and pour it all over the hot oven to create additional steam. Then quickly put the baguettes onto the medium rack of your oven and bake for 30 or so minutes (until the baguettes are golden brown). Every 15 minutes during the baking time, sprinkle some more warm water into the oven to create additional steam.

If you're not sure when your bread is ready, tap it ace several times with your fingers. If you can hear a hollow sound coming out of it, the bread is ready. Also, baked bread should not be heavy when lifted.

Transfer the baked baguettes on a wire rack and let them cool before cutting and serving.

Focaccia Bread

For one focaccia bread you'll need:

100ml olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
pinch of salt
fresh basil, rosemary and thyme to your taste, finely chopped
150-200g cherry tomatoes
60g feta cheese, diced

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a large baking pan with olive oil.

Put he olive oil into a small bowl. Add garlic, fresh herbs and salt and mix well. Let it stand for 10 minutes so that the garlic and herbs incorporate into the oil. Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half if needed.

Transfer the dough onto the baking pan and stretch it with your hands so that it's 1-2cm thick. Pour the prepared olive oil over it and using only your fingertips, begin to press into the dough to distribute the oil and flatten the dough out. The dough will gradually spread out in the pan. Let it stand for another 15 minutes so that the oil incorporates into the dough. Arrange cherry tomatoes and feta cheese on the surface and bake the focaccia until it's golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

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