Sorry about the misleading headline. To be honest, this recipe is neither fast nor really Italian (it is an Italian blogger’s version of a French baguette). What I find amusing the Italian definition of “fast bread”. It takes about 3.5 hours in total to make. Yet trust me, I know from my limited baking experience that 3.5 hours really is quite little in the Italian world of baking!
One of the challenges of embracing your inner Italian baker in Finland is the climate. It is quite different for a focaccia to rise basking in the warm Ligurian sun under the loving eye of an Italian nonna than in a cold flat under the panicky eye of a Finnish blogger. Fortunately there is a handy substitute for the Ligurian sun: underfloor heating in the bathroom. However, as – despite the aid of the modern building technology – my attempts at focaccia alla genovese still bear more resemblance to cream crackers than bread, I chose to share this baguette instead.
This recipe certainly is “mediocre baker proof” as apart from time and a sufficiently warm place for the dough to rise, it doesn’t really require too much skill and effort to perfect. The end result is quite lovely: a soft and airy loaf with a crispy and thin crust. I have used different combinations of flour (00, Finnish wheat, whole-wheat…) at equal success. As all bread loaves like this, it is very much at its best on the day of baking.
Easy and Quick(ish) Baguette
Ingredients for 3 baguettes
500 g flour
400 ml lukewarm water
salt to your taste
1 tsp honey
12.5 g fresh baker’s yeast
(Durum) wheat flour for baking
Mix 1/3 of the water, the yeast and honey in a bowl. Put the flour in a larger bowl. Add the water mixture of yeast and honey, the remaining quantity of the water and the salt. Stir fast with a cooking fork. The ready dough should be sticky. Let the dough rise covered in a warm place for at least 2 hours (it is ready when it has doubled its volume).
Transfer the dough to a baking board sprinkled with the flour. Divide the dough into three parts and gently roll them in the flour while shaping them into loaves (at this phase, the added flour should remain on the surface of the loaves, not kneaded into them). Transfer the loaves onto a baking tray. Separate the loaves by adding parchment paper between them. Cover the loaves and let them rise for another 30 minutes. Bake the loaves in the oven at 200 Centigrades for 25-30 (until golden).