In Clas Ohlsson ("the useful shop!"), which is like Ikea without the steroids, and which has replaced Woolies (also a useful shop) on the market place in Kingston, I purchased a baguette tray. Not sure why, as in all the years I have been baking my own bread, I have never before felt the need for specialist equipment, beyond some decent flour, Dove's Farm Quick Yeast, my trusty Kitchenaid mixer, and a good hot oven. However, I will own up now to a slightly fetishistic "thang" about kitchen kit: sometimes just have a few professional-looking accoutrements around me makes me feel better (the heavy-duty garlic press, the 'mezza luna' herb chopper (Nigella's is particularly fetching), the Global Japanese knives). In reality, I use very few pieces of equipment when I'm cooking, my essentials being: a good chopping board and knife, a heavy-duty deep frying pan, a Le Creuset lidded casserole (now very old), a garlic press and a lemon squeezer.

So, I bought the silly baguette pan and promised myself I would make baguettes, and the wretched thing sat on the worktop for a week, and my son kept asking "When are you going to make baguettes, mum?". In the end, last weekend I indulged in some "artisanal baking" and produced two lovely, crusty raisin and hazelnut baguettes, cooked to perfection in the baguette pan.

On reflection, I think the pan was quite successful. Its perforated design allows the hot air in the oven to circulate freely around the cooking loaf, which ensures an all-round crust. It also helped to create an authentic baguette shape, perhaps not as elegant as a golden stick one might purchase in any French boulangerie, but rather charmingly rustic and 'stumpy'. And tasty too.....

The term "artisanal" which seems to be applied to any bread which is not made by a mass-production system these days, amuses me, for even commercial "plastic" bread requires some attention by a human hand. Maybe "craftsman" ("-woman") bread would be more appropriate? "Handmade" is just daft: all bread is handmade, to one degree or another, even if that hand has just emptied the ingredients into a massive food mixer. In any event, I can claim to be the maker of "artisanal bread", and the lucky few, who come regularly to my dinner table, know how delicious it is.

By the way, I am not indulging in some kind of Teddington voodoo rite with those loaves.....


  1. Ah, so glad you made use of it! I must confess that I was a bit dubious when you purchased the item. May I please come and sample some of your delicious rustic stumpy?


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