The simple baguette is not just a medium for meat and cheese, but the foundation of meals around the globe. Sandwiches play a huge role in lunches worldwide, and varieties are plentiful.
The Cuban, a Miami favorite, consists of a grilled submarine layered with ham, roast pork, cheese and pickles. The Beef on Weck, a specialty of Buffalo, N.Y. taverns, features slices of rare roast beef and fresh horseradish piled high on “kimmelweck,” a hard crusted roll enrobed in pretzel salt and caraway. Indigenous to New Orleans, as well as being a crusty Sicilian bread, the Muffuletta is filled with provolone, Genoa salami and Cappicola ham, topped with a bountiful olive salad.
Other classics include the Philly cheese steak, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese and the list goes on.
| Divide the dough into 150-g pieces, and flatten into disks. You have two options for adding the fillings. 1) Place the fillings flat onto the dough covering most of the surface. 2) Roll the fillings together, and lay them in the center of the disk. Then, for both methods, shape into a baguette. |
| Place the shaped loaves on a couche, and allow them to proof for one to two hours at ambient room temperature. Score, and bake until golden brown. |
The baguette stuffed with ham, cheese, and butter, featured in the article, is perhaps France’s most famous sandwich. Other famous stuffed sandwiches include stromboli, a baked, stuffed pizza bread, with roots in Philadelphia; the calzone; fougasse; panini; saucisson (sausage) en brioche and even the “hot pocket.”
The concept of the stuffed baguette is by no means a new one, but it can quickly enhance lunchtime sales for bakeries or cafés. A variety of options are available, including pizza; spinach and cheese; turkey and Brie with mustard; ham and cheese; roasted pulled chicken or lamb. Of course, the fillings can change as well as the bread. The objective remains to create additional sales based on bakery products while adding minimal labor.
The stuffed baguette also is a great option for party platters. Carefully package them with parchment or cellophane, and place them in the refrigerated case. These sandwiches can be quickly reheated. A variety of stuffed baguettes provide a new option for Super Bowl parties or any informal festivity. These sandwiches can be eaten cold, warm or hot. Simply sell the platter or individual sandwiches with condiments and chips.
The stuffed baguette is a sure lunchtime favorite that can not only transform itself into a party feast, but also boost revenue and customers’ appreciation for well-made sandwiches.
Chef Pierre Zimmerman, master baker and world baking champion, created this method for stuffed baguettes. Zimmerman has a bakery located in Alsace, France and will be teaching Viennoiserie and Holiday Specialties at the French Pastry School on August 1-3. Visit
| Chef John Kraus, pastry chef and instructor at The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago teaches his students the art of pastry that includes advanced bread techniques. In 2005 and 2006, Chef Kraus was named one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in the United States by a national pastry magazine. For more information on The French Pastry School, visit www.frenchpastryschool.com. |
French bread (Yields 14 baguettes)
Water (cool), 620 g
Bread flour, 1 kg
Sea salt, 24 g
Dry yeast, 7.5 g
Fermented dough*, 400 g
Ascorbic acid, 5 g
Total appr. wt.: 2.057 kg
Method: In a 20-quart mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the bread flour, sea salt, yeast, fermented dough and ascorbic acid. Add the water to the dry ingredients slowly to ensure you do not add too much. All of the water may not be needed. Mix in first speed for five minutes. Then, mix in second speed for two minutes. Let the dough rise in the proofer for one hour. Scale the dough into 14 150-g pieces. Add the filling, and shape the dough into loaves. Allow the dough to proof again for 1 to 11⁄2 hours on linen cloths dusted with bread flour. Transfer the loaves to a baking peel. Score the dough’s surface with a razor sharp blade, so the steam that builds up inside during baking will not erupt in an uncontrolled manner. Inject steam before placing the loaves in the oven. Bake in a deck oven at 470°F (243ºC) for 15 minutes, vent closed, and 10 minutes, vent open.
* Fermented dough is the water, flour, salt, and yeast in the above listed proportions. Allow it to rise in the proofer for one hour, and punch it down. Then, allow it to rise overnight in the cooler.