These beautiful baguettes are the perfect homemade addition for your next lunch or picnic.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Combine the chopped figs and verjuice in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir, and then microwave on high for a further 15 seconds. Cool completely, and then drain.
Place walnuts on a baking tray and roast for about 8-10 minutes until golden and crisp. Rub the walnuts in a clean tea towel to remove the bitter skins. Allow to cool, and then finely chop.
Combine the yeast, sugar and 200ml of lukewarm water in a small bowl, then stir to dissolve yeast and set aside for 5-10 minutes or until frothy.
Combine the flours, salt and oil in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, with the motor running on low; add the yeast mixture and 350-450ml of the extra warm water to make soft but not sloppy dough, and then continue to mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes until you have glossy elastic dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, spread the dough into a largish rectangle, scatter the chopped walnuts, drained figs and fennel seeds over, and knead into the dough. Dust a large mixing bowl with flour and return the dough. Place a piece of plastic film loosely over the surface of the dough. Prove until doubled in volume, about 30-45 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide evenly into six pieces. Shape into French baguettes approximately 35cm from tip to tip and dust with flour. Using a paring knife, quickly cut seven slashes down the top. Place baguettes among two baking trays and lightly cover with a couple of sheets of plastic wrap, prove for 15-25 minutes or until ready to bake.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C. Mist the oven with water and bake the baguettes for 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Turn out onto a wire rack. Present six baguettes.
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