guest blog: Erin Lake’s baguettes and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

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Greetings, friends! My dear friend, neighbor, and hostess extraordinaire, Erin Lake, has written a guest blog for Bungalow Kitchen! I’m so glad that she’s bringing us not one, but two amazing baking recipes, because let’s be honest–baking isn’t my (Eleta’s) forte.  Enjoy!

These recipes were taught and passed down to me by a wonderful Aunt who is known for her delicious baking confections and flair for off-the-chart meals.
As the weather starts crisping up, I tend to incorporate the bread into more meals and make the muffins as evening and breakfast treats.  (FYI, the muffins are delish with coffee!) These cozy items are a great complement to the season and are a crowd pleaser no matter what your culinary level may be.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Baguette Flutes
This recipe is a cool-weather staple.  It is a superb complement to soups, stews and wonderfully-soppy entrees as it soaks up juices and amps up a meal’s delish factor.  The baguette recipe is an old Danish recipe that my Aunt’s friend converted to American measurements.  She passed the recipe and her techniques down to me during one of her visits to Macon.
With just 7 ingredients, once you’ve learned the simple steps, making this recipe is a snap and the variations are endless.   And, you can multi-task while the bread is rising—I’ve been known to run errands or take the dog for a walk during this step.  In all, the total time for all the steps is about 2.5 hours.
1 T Dry-active yeast
2 c Very warm/hot water
½ c. Dry Oatmeal
1 T sugar
1 T salt
1 T olive oil
4 c. + 2 T unbleached, enriched flour
For this recipe, you’ll need a 3-slot baguette pan.  I have not been able to find one locally and purchased mine online.  You can find a great, affordable version here.

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In a large bowl, combine the yeast and 2 tablespoons of flour.  Slowly add the 2 cups of water and mix with your hand for about a minute to ensure the flour and yeast have completely dissolved.  It is worthwhile to note that while you could use a mixer for this recipe, I was taught, and have always found it beneficial to use my hand to mix all of the ingredients.  This technique ensures that ingredients fully dissolve and you can better better feel the needed consistency.
Once the yeast has dissolved in the water, add the oatmeal, sugar, salt, olive oil and last, the flour.  When mixing in the flour, I shape my hand like a paddle and stir as I add each cup.
Once everything is combined, form the dough into a ball and remove from the bowl.  I, spray the bowl with non-stick spray  before putting the dough back in—it makes the dough easier to remove once it’s risen.

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Cover the dough with a tea towel and place in a location that does not have an air draft.  Let rise for an hour.

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After an hour, your dough should look like this.

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Spray your 3-slot baguette pan and hands with non-stick spray.  I learned to spray my hands as it is easier to form the baguettes without the dough sticking to your hands.  Deflate the dough in the bowl and form into 3 equal-ish balls.  One by one, free-form each ball into a baguette shape while rubbing your hands together and flipping the dough while gravity forms the baguette shape.  This really is a very easy step, gravity really does the work—rubbing your hands together helps keep the piece in a uniform cylinder shape.  You’ll want the length of each baguette to be slightly less than the length of your pan.  This provides a buffer as the dough rises.  Lightly score just the top of each baguette with a sharp knife.  You’re not looking to cut deeply cut the baguette, just simply score it.
Lightly cover with a tea towel and let rise for another hour.
After an hour, your baguettes should be plump and you can smell the lovely yeast working.  Very lightly brush each flute with egg wash and place into a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 15 minutes.  (Note, if you have a convection oven as I do, for most recipes, I lower the temperature by about 25 degrees.)   After 15 minutes, lower the temp to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes.
It has been my experience that neighbors can smell the bread cooking—don’t be surprised if you get knocks on your door for a sample.
Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan.  The loaves may stick together slightly but they generally break apart easily.  When hosting a meal, I usually serve the bread on a cutting board and allow the guests to cut their own slices.  Enjoy!
*For a fun twist, try sprinkling the dough with chopped rosemary, poppy seed, course black pepper or parmesan cheese after you brush on the egg wash.  Once you’ve mastered the recipe, you can even braid the dough and make it a culinary and artistic treat.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
A fall staple.  Friends and neighbors alike request these as the calendar flips into September.  These muffins are delish and pair nicely with a cup of coffee.
1 16oz can of pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 ¼ c vegetable oil
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 c flour
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c chocolate chips

Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and mix well.  Fold in chocolate chips and nuts once all other ingredients are combined.  Pour into greased muffin pans or 2 loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees—muffins approximately 18 minutes and loaves need 60-70 minutes.  Enjoy!

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