The Use It or Lose It Baguette Challenge

This week’s Reddit 52 weeks of baking challenge may be just to use it. But my current kitchen motto is “use it or lose it.” An uglyducklingbakery baguette challenge.

Although I am blessed with a kitchen that has an abundance of space, it has allowed me to accumulate too much stuff. There are items packed into corners that I bought years ago and have never used. I’m thinking of you, copper mixing bowls. Other tools, like my pasta machine, haven’t seen light of day in several years.

You know that recommendation to clean out your clothes if you haven’t worn them in a year or two? I’m on a kitchen mission.

First up: my mini brioche à tête molds. Owned for more than a decade. Never used.

unbaked brioche on a tray
baked brioche a tete

Then week 7 of the 52 Weeks of Baking came around. The week 7 “new tool” challenge was to use a new tool or to use an old tool in a new way. I had a lot to choose from.

And then I saw a re-post of Food52’s 4-hour baguette on Facebook. Flash to the stone baguette baker sitting unused in my pantry. Kismet.

unbaked baguettes rising in a ceramic baker
baked baguettes in a ceramic baker

The dough is straightforward with no poolish at the start. And so they were definitely worth the effort, given how little effort it was (It’s a low bar.). But, with coarse salt sprinkled on top, I might dare to say they were equivalent to the beloved baguettes at the Mazama Store. A baguette challenge win!

Still, next time I’ll probably make baguettes the more traditional way. I’ve got to get my baker seasoned, you know. Because otherwise it’s headed out of the kitchen.

I’ll encourage you to identify those items in your pantry that lie unused. Join me on my mission to use it or lose it. Do it all at once or one item a day for a month.

And things you might consider replacing:

  • Spices – Everyone should already know the recommendations to buy small quantities because they lose potency over time. Perhaps I could convince myself to toss the dried lemongrass that moved with me from North Carolina in 1997.
  • Baking powder has a shelf life of 6-12 months. Here’s how to tell if yours is still active
  • Baking soda supposedly has an indefinite shelf life, but it’s probably time to replace that box in the refrigerator, eh?
  • Tupperware. Where do all those mismatched pairs come from?
  • You should replace your silicone mats (e.g. silpat) once they get cracked. This I do. Who wants to eat fiberglass?
  • Did you know that Sodastream bottles have expiration dates? This is supposedly to prevent bottle failure from repeated pressurization. Choose to do with that information what you will.

I promise that next week (chocolate!) will be more fun. I nearly bought a tempering machine this week.

What’s next?,

If you make this baguette or get inspired to clean out your kitchen, please leave a comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram!

Check out other Ugly Duckling Bakery bread recipes like this Portuguese bread, this Russian rye sandwich bread, a pretzel loaf, or the famous purple cow milk bread.

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Previous challenges:
Week 1: New Year new recipe – blueberry galette
Week 2: seasonal – Smitten Kitchen’s grapefruit pound cake
Week 3: Great British Bake Off – Kate’s sticky toffee apple caramel cake
Week 4: Australia – sausage rolls
Week 5: bite sized – bite-sized cookies
Week 6: Chinese New Year – mushroom bao

p.s. mr. uglyducklingbakery has finally named the T. rex. His name is Sue.

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