Most Tuesdays, you’ll often find me mixing up a batch of French baguettes.
After an exhaustive search, I finally found a recipe that reasonably doubles the baguettes from my favorite bakery in Paris, France. In French, they are called “tradition baguettes,” which means that by law they are made with just four ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt.
This usually also means that they are made in-house at the bakery and have some sourdough in them as well. I prefer them to regular baguettes because they have so much more flavor.
Making this recipe takes time. It includes making a sourdough the night before, letting it rest for an hour after mixing only the flour and water the next morning, adding the other two ingredients to make the final dough and kneading it, letting the dough rise for another hour, cutting it and letting it rest for half an hour, then shaping and another two hours or so of proofing before the baguettes go into a very hot and steamy oven. I often start making the dough when I wake up and start baking the baguettes at lunchtime.
It is worth it for the result. Good food takes time.
During the two hour rise of the bread, I usually take a break to do yoga or take Sadie the pup to Fidler’s Pond. On this particular Tuesday, the sun is shining in a clear sky even though the air is chilly. Sometimes the wind can really blow across the pond when you walk around.
Still, we bundled up and hopped in the car for the five-minute drive to Fidler’s. I try to match Sadie’s excitement as she comes out to sniff and stretch her legs. I even run with her for a while. We stop at the revolving bench to wait for Jim. Sadie sits up and scans the water for ducks. I watch the gentle ripples in the deep blue pond and the waving grasses.
Out of the corner of my left eye, I see a dark blur suddenly rise up. Sadie has seen it too. He is Fidler’s sometime resident bald eagle. Jim sees it too. At first he notices us and rushes towards us and then abruptly walks away.
Sadie is just as mesmerized as we are. Perhaps she somehow knows that as an apex predator, the eagle belongs at the top of the food chain. For the next five minutes, we follow her flight as she dives or glides gently as if she’s spelling a message for us in the sky. Or looking for its next prey.
Finally, it perches on a tree with bare branches. We marvel at its size, its accurate flight, its wide wingspan. Slowly we follow our steps to the car.
Even though we both had our phones in our pockets, we were too engrossed to even think about taking a picture!
Back home, it’s time to set the oven temperature to 475°, cut out the design on top of the baguettes, slide them onto the pans, and bake.
As the specific aroma of baked baguettes fills the house, I feel lucky that I took that twenty-five minute break to go to the park. It reminds me that time taken is not wasted.
PS I’ll try to post the baguette recipe on my blog next week.
La Bonne Vie’s raquel shenk has been an artisan baker for 30 years. Born and raised in Belgium, she has lived in Goshen since 1973. She has been writing about food, travel, and the good life for about 10 years. From Her You can connect with her on her Facebook page, La Bonne Vie, or at her Goshen cheese shop, The Wedge.