Have you ever had a mini white chocolate baguette?
It seems weird, right? Right. The funny thing is that this is the last thing I ever expected to be my favorite thing at La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC. The bakery is located in a strip mall that includes a nail salon and a liquor store.
Once you get inside you realize you are in a legit French bakery filled with pastry, croissants and loaves of artisanal breads. It’s almost impossible to make a rational decision when you are in the line, because EVERYTHING is compelling. In order to keep my budget in tact, I use the buddy system. A responsible person needs to ask me if I actually need a container of pimento cheese and the seasonal sugar cookie AND the homemade Jam made by someone named Dorothy.
My first four trips to La Farm, I was focused on the La Farm sourdough and the croissants. Who has time for a white chocolate baguette when there are croissants?!?!? White Chocolate + Baguette is an unlikely pairing that will change your life and ruin your Keto diet forever.
I took a group baking class with the Master Chef Lionel Vatinet and basically I lost my mind.
- I showed him pictures on my phone of:
- the awful croissants (the butter was too warm)
- the focaccia ( good bubbles!)
- I asked him to autograph (2!) cookbooks
- Took a picture with him, which I shared on Instagram immediately.
- Made suggestions to the marketing lady about all of the classes that I would attend.
I literally did not have a single ounce of shame. The poor marketing lady asked me if I was in marketing. When I told her I was a lawyer, y’all the look on her face was priceless!
The La Farm Cookbook was my real introduction to bread baking. I’ve tended to focus more on the sweet side of the baking spectrum, and realized that bread baking is technical and requires precision, but despite the rules, you are making edible art.
A couple of process notes:
- Scoring aka the slash marks. It seems straight forward, you slash the dough about 1/8 of inch deep with a razor blade or sharp knife. Sounds simple enough, but I didn’t have a razor blade or knife sharp enough at the time, and got the weirdly deep slashes you see above. I ordered a lame on Amazon thinking that would solve the problem, but learning to score properly takes practice and well shaped dough.
- Shaping. I didn’t want to be too rough with my dough and in the end the shape is decent, but not tight enough. Practice makes perfect.
- I recommend using a large pizza stone with a steel bowl to make these. At the time I only had a 7 1/2 Qt Oval Dutch oven so I made 2 baguettes at a time. It took forever.
**Please note that I am not in anyway affiliated with La Farm unless you count frequent trips for breakfast and brunch and bread.
Famous La Farm Mini White Chocolate Baguettes
- 16 ounces white bread flour
- 1 .5 tsp fine sea salt
- 1.5 tsp instant yeast
- 11.25 ounces warm water ((65 to 70 degrees F) )
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- kitchen aid mixer with dough hook and paddle attachments
- pizza stone
- large stainless steel bowl
- food thermometer
- bench scraper
- parchment paper
- lame/ razor blade/ very sharp knife
- In a stand mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and yeast. Do not let the yeast and the salt touch.
- Check the temperature of your water to make sure it’s 65 to 70 degrees.
- Using the paddle attachment on the stand mixer, turn the mixer on the stir setting to whisk the dry ingredients together.
Then slowly add in the water and mix until a dough begins to form. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the dough is fully incorporated.
Switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook and knead on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes.
- On a very lightly dusted work surface, flatten the dough into a rectangle and sprinkle the white chocolate evenly, then fold the dough over the chocolate pieces, like an envelope — lengthwise first, then fold the short side in– resulting in completely incorporated white chocolate chips.
- Form the dough into a ball by lifting the front and folding it over and pulling it across the counter top 4 or 5 times until a ball forms. It will be ready to proof when the the dough is no longer sticky to the touch.
- Lightly dust a large bowl with flour, place the dough ball in the bowl smooth side up and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot (75 to 85 degrees– like the inside of your microwave)
Let the dough rise for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size
- Using your bowl scraper, remove the dough from the large bowl and onto a clean lightly floured countertop. Let the dough relax for a minute, and then use a bench scraper to stretch the dough into a 12 x 4 inch rectangle. Cut the dough with the bench scraper into 8 pieces.
- Shape mini loaves into a batard shape — reference the video linked above. Place the mini loaves on to a baking sheet with parchment paper, 4 loaves per sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Then set the baking sheets in a warm (75 to 80 degrees F) draft free place for 1 hour.
- 30 minutes into the second rise, place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.
- Before baking, score the baguettes with a sharp razor blade; lame or knife, cutting the skin 1/4 inch into the dough. Slide 4 loaves on the parchment paper on to the pizza stone and cover with a large stainless steel bowl. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the bowl carefully, with oven mitts and the a large knife. Let the baguettes bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes
- Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 1 hour.