I know everything I need to know about Tim Cleland. And that is that he and his wife Lisa are geniuses, geniuses who make pretzel baguettes.
I found this all out within about two minutes of meeting him. I was at the Sandwich Winter Farmers' Market, shopping around, wandering from stand to stand with my bags and cash and microphone in hand. I stopped to talk to Tim, and he started telling me about his wife's business, a bread delivery service called Honey I'm Home, and I confess I had totally tuned him out by the time he was about thirty seconds in. I was too busy staring at the loaf you see Alex breaking in to up above, a golden, salt-crusted baguette that looked moist and chewy and like it was in serious need of a side of golden mustard dip. I interrupted Tim. WHAT IS THAT? He said it was a pretzel baguette, inspired by one of his favorite sandwiches, which was, get this:
A pulled BBQ chicken breast
with cheddar cheese and fried onions
on a pretzel bun.
Enough said. Clearly, I needed to find out how to make this. So I asked Tim about his process. Basically, he makes a yeasted bread, lets it rise twice, and then boils it for two minutes on each side in a pot of boiling water spiked with baking soda. The baking soda is alkaline, which makes the water very basic, and a chemical reaction takes place which gives the bread a golden crust and a chewy texture.
Then I asked him for his recipe. And he and Lisa very graciously agreed to share it.
Tim and Lisa were nice enough to share their recipe with us. Tim recommends using the baguette to make his favorite sandwich: a toasted pretzel baguette with BBQ pulled chicken breast, cheddar cheese, and fried onions.
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 and 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup baking soda
kosher salt for sprinkling
coarse cornmeal for sprinkling
Combine the yeast, bread flour, organic sugar, salt, and warm water in an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix until the dough comes together; then knead with the dough hook for 6 minutes.
Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until the dough ball doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet and dust it with cornmeal.
Punch down the dough and on a lightly floured surface and flatten it into a rectangle. Fold the short sides in and shape it into two baguettes by tucking in the sides and gently rolling and coaxing the dough. (You can also make rolls. To do this, divide the dough into even pieces and flatten each into a disc. Create a gluten skin on the top of the rolls by gently folding the edges into the bottom center and working your fingers around the edges a few times.)
Score the baguettes (or rolls) with a razor and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let them rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. (An oval shaped pot works best for baguettes.) When the baguettes have risen, carefully pour the baking soda into the boiling water and gently place the baguette in the water. Boil for two minutes on each side.
Remove the baguettes from the water (a flat metal strainer or two slotted spoons work well here). Place the baguettes on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake the baguettes for 15-20 minutes, or until they turn a deep brown color. Place them on a cooling rack. Enjoy!
P.S. WINTER FARMERS' MARKETS!
It's that time of year...here are details on the ones near us:
Every other Sunday 10am to 2pm
(1/22, 2/5, 2/19, 3/4, 3/18)
349 Rt. 6a, East Sandwich
Saturdays 10am to 3pm
1/7 through 5/12
Waquoit Congregational Church, Rt. 28, Falmouth
Saturdays 10am to 2pm
1/7 through 3/17
Mahoney's Garden Center, 958 Rt. 28, East Falmouth
1/12, 2:30 to 6:30
future dates unsure (to read why, go over here)