Being obsessed by bread is something a lot of people fall into. Being obsessed by baguettes makes people do crazy things.
Near us there’s an object of that obsession–a wood-burning brick oven brought over brick-by-brick (along with two French masons) and reconstructed in Hudson.
Recently my former business partner put me in touch with another infatuated baker, this time building his version of a better mouse trap—The Baguette Baking Box.
The Baguette Box is an elegant, easy solution to ensuring a steady stream of great bread is always available. You mix up the dough, let it rise, shape it and bake it in the box. Et voilà, perfect baguettes.
Dean Anderson, the entrepreneur behind the box, invited me to his home to demonstrate the box in action. He wants people to be able to make baguettes without a lot of effort and he’s worked for the past 18 months on perfecting his box and the easy no-knead recipe.
He had some dough that he had started the night before and as we were chatting, he formed it into a couple of loaves and baked them. It wasn’t long before we had fresh, hot, delicious bread.
Dean sent me home with a prototype box so we could see how it worked in the hands of two non-bakers. Frank mixed up the first batch of dough and we left it to rise overnight. When we went to get the box and pre-heat it, we noticed that it was missing the lid. Dean assured us that the dough would be fine in the refrigerator for a few days and sent us the missing lid.
Somehow it ended up being about 2 weeks before we finally got around to baking our first loaves. Despite the dough sitting around for a couple of weeks, and Frank mistakenly adding a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon (which he then endeavored to remove from the flour), we had very edible baguettes.
I mixed up another batch of dough and baked a second batch the next day. These were really good! Great crust, not too dense inside (the issue with the first ones) and definitely not as salty. It was super easy to do, just requires a little advanced planning (it’s about 10 hours from start to finish).
My third batch was the best (so far). Dean had emailed me a recipe for a slightly bigger loaf and I got to work. It’s so easy, you can just break into bread making at the drop of a hat (or in this case email). I liked the bigger loaves and the baguettes had great crust and perfect interiors (and I ate half of one in about 2 minutes).
And, not that we’re that obsessed, but the minute Frank got his hands on the box, his reaction was “now we can move to Peillon.” There was a gorgeous house there that we drooled over, but according to the description the nearest bakery was 15km away–almost inconceivable in France. No matter where we end up, the Baguette Baking Box is definitely coming with us!