Metalsmith Dean Anderson from New York’s Hudson Valley handcrafts sleek, stainless-steel, oblong boxes with a handle that look unassuming but can bake two crispy baguettes with ease. He was first inspired to bake French bread by Julia Child’s recipe. “I spent many nights making baguettes, but it was never what I wanted,” he says. To produce crusty loaves you need steam, which Anderson said he could never safely achieve — until he discovered the popular no-knead bread method developed by Jim Lahey of New York’s Sullivan Street Bakery. The recipe calls for baking bread dough in a lidded pot to trap steam. “I was won over,” says Anderson. With Lahey’s technique in mind, he created the Baguette Baking Box, which successfully delivers two crispy, golden long cylindrical loaves. You lay shaped dough into the trays in the preheated box and include two ice cubes, baking with the cover on for 24 minutes and then off for 18 to 20 minutes longer. The water from the melting ice cubes turns to steam and expands the crumb and helps give that crisp crust. It took Anderson a year and tasting countless loaves before he perfected the ultimate design. Anderson says, “I had to change my diet, so I only ate bread.” But it was worth it for many reasons, he says. “The aroma in the house was wonderful.” The Baguette Baking Box is $249 and available at baguettebakingbox.com, where there are instructions and a video on how to use the box and recipes.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.