This month’s Food ‘n Flix pick resulted in honeymoon nostalgia and these baguettes and French Kiss sandwiches. French Kiss is a lighthearted comedy from 1995, starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. The basic plot of the movie is woman (Meg Ryan) loses boyfriend to another woman, goes to Paris to track him down, meets a jewel thief (Kevin Kline) along the way, and then falls in love with the jewel thief. It’s a cute romantic comedy – the kind of thing that my husband plays video games through and mixes up with another cute romantic comedy (namely Runaway Bride) which we watched a few weeks after.
And maybe it’s because I’m equally a cynic, what I mostly thought about the movie after I finished watching it was – oh those simpler times in the 90s when a woman could safely run off with a man she barely knows after losing her passport and money to his family’s vineyard without fear of being murdered. Just saying. Still – what a vineyard!
My one challenge with watching movies for Food ‘n Flix is this – I watch them as a food blogger, which means I want them to slow down and focus on the food! It’s Paris – it’s France – show me beautiful food! There was beautiful food in this movie, just not enough of it that was up close and personal. So my inspiration ended up being less of something in the actual movie and more of Paris itself. What better way to celebrate Paris than with baguettes and French Kiss sandwiches?
A big part of my inspiration also came from all the memories that watching this movie brought up of Clay and my honeymoon nine years ago. We did a two week Europe trip – starting in Paris, taking a train to Amsterdam, and then flying to Rome and then home. My one regret, particularly from the Paris part of the trip, was that I was still a hard-core vegetarian, and even though I was drooling over every baguette with ham and cheese that Clay ate, I stuck to the baguettes with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. No – I wasn’t suffering that much. But still, these baguettes and French Kiss sandwich are my attempt to recapture the days we spent in Paris and the glorious smells of the bakeries and the beautiful slow food that was everywhere around us.
The baguette recipe is adapted from a King Arthur recipe. I reduced the rise time without any negative impact on the taste of the baguette. I do use a starter, which I realize adds time and the need for advanced planning to make these, but I promise you, it’s worth it. The actual hands on time with these is minimal – 15 minutes at the most.
- ¼ teaspoon active yeast
- ½ cup warm water (around 115 degrees)
- 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
- 1 cup warm water (115 degrees)
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- All of the starter
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 ¼ cups flour
- 4 – 6 slices of Jamon Serrano (or prosciutto or thinly sliced ham)
- 8 thin slices of brie cheese
- Start the starter the night before. Combine all the ingredients for the starter in a medium bowl and stir. This should form a sticky dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight – about 14 hours will do it, though the starter is forgiving.
- To make the dough
- Combine the warm water, the yeast, and all of the starter. Mix until the starter is mostly incorporated. Add 3 cups of the flour and the salt. Combine to make a shaggy dough and then knead the dough for 6 minutes on a floured surface. Add a bit of the remaining flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to you. Shape the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, punch the dough down (deflate it). Cover it again and let rise for 1 hour.
- After the second rise, deflate the dough again and cut it into four even sections. (You can also divide it into two sections or six sections – depending on how many baguettes you want to make). Roll the sections of dough into rectangles and fold them into baguette shapes, placing the seam-side down.
- Place the shaped baguettes on a lightly greased baking sheet.
- [The baguettes may spread a bit during the final rise– so if you want more classically shaped bread, you can place the baguettes on parchment paper or a clean dishtowel and pull up a bit of parchment paper or dishtowel between each baguette to help it keep its shape. If you do this, when it’s time to bake, you’ll need to gently roll the baguettes onto a greased baking sheet.]
- Cover the baguettes with plastic wrap and let rise for 50 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees 20 minutes before the end of the final rise. To get a nice crispy baguette, it helps to have a very hot oven.
- Once the baguettes have completed the final rise, transfer them to the baking sheet (if you need to) and then place them in the oven. If you have a spray bottle with water handy, gently spray the baguettes, being careful not to spray your oven’s element. Bake for 20 minutes or until the baguettes are a golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Turn the oven off, crack open the oven door, and let the baguettes sit in the oven for 10 minutes after they are done. This helps get an even crispier texture on the outside.
- Let the baguettes cool for at least 30 minutes. When they are cool, to assemble a sandwich, slice the baguette in half and place the brie and jamon on the baguette. Enjoy!
This post is also linked to to #CookBlogShare at the Easy Peasy Foodie’s site. Check out all the great recipes!