Turkey Meatball Sub on Homemade Baguette

I began this process just after lunch. The bread takes about 4 hours to make, but most of that is rising and baking time. It was well worth the reward. My baguette still needs work - this was my first ever attempt, but lately I've been pretty good with bread and pizza dough. The turkey meatballs were phenomenal. I adapted the recipe from the January 2011 Food Network Magazine cover recipe and cooked them in my own adaptation of marinara from Giada's Family Dinners .

The baguette recipe is from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads . It starts with the whisking of two egg whites until they are stiff. I wasn't quite sure what it meant by this - I know there are soft and medium peaks - stiff peaks? Sure, why not. It's pretty cool that egg whites, after having the hell whisked out of them, can take this form.

The egg whites go into a separate bowl, and in the mixing bowl goes 2 1/2 C bread flour (I used AP and I think bread flour may have worked better), a package of yeast, a T of sugar and a tsp of salt. I ran the dry goods under the mixer for a few turns just to mix up the dry ingredients a bit, not sure if that's necessary.

In goes 1 C of hot water (120) and 2 T of butter.

Mix it up for a good two minutes.

After everything's been properly incorporated, add the egg whites.

It'll take another couple of minutes of mixing for the egg whites to fold into the mixture. The dough sort of resists the egg white at first.

This looks about right.

After the egg whites have mixed in, keep adding small amounts of flour until the mix begins to turn into a more doughy mass and then switch the mixing beater to the dough hook. I usually go by when the added flour doesn't quickly absorb into the dough mass, the dough mass begins cleaning the sides of the mixing bowl, and the dough mass is only slightly sticky to the touch.

Keep adding flour until the dough is just slightly tacky. It shouldn't stick to your hands or fingers if you touch it and pull your hand back. Knead with the dough hook for about 10 minutes.

Let this rise for about an hour or more. It needs to double in size.

After the first rise, prepare your baking sheet. Normally I wouldn't photograph this, but I felt it's important to note I used pam and coarse ground corn meal to prep my baking sheet. This stuff will break your teeth, so if you don't have the fine ground corn meal I wouldn't bother at all.

The dough will be shaped before the second rising. Your Play-doh skills from long ago (or recently if you have kids) will be called upon to make 2 15" baguettes.

I wasn't especially fond of the results of this part of the recipe either. A mixture of 1/3 C warm water, 1 tsp corn starch and 1/2 tsp salt are mixed together and brushed onto the loaves. The loaves are then sprinkled with sesame or poppy seeds. I had to dig my plain sesame seeds out from the back of the cupboard only for me to discover they had expired in 2006. All I had were roasted sesame seeds, which I would have rather done without.

These need to proof and double in size again for about another hour.

In the meantime, I got a jump on my meatballs because the longer they cook in the sauce the better they are. Into the bowl goes 1 lb ground turkey, 2 cloves minced garlic, about 1 T of dry or 1/4 C of fresh basil, 1/2 C fresh parsley, 1/4 C part-skim ricotta cheese, about 3 T Parmesan cheese, an egg white, salt and pepper, and of course bread crumbs as needed ( I think I used no more than 1/2 C).

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine. I like using ground turkey as a ground beef substitute. It's easier on my tummy.

As with meatloaf I like to just get in there and mix with my hand. Trying to use a wooden spoon or whisk for this is just lame. Besides, you gotta get in there to roll the meatballs anyway, and trying to use a utensil is going to result in over-mixing and either mushy or tough meatballs.

Food Network magazine, in the spaghetti and turkey meatballs recipe where I derive this from, says to add the raw turkey meatballs directly into the simmering spaghetti sauce. To me, this raises a huge red flag. The idea of adding raw meat to cooked food for the sake of cooking the meat just doesn't bode well to me. I won't even add onions to browning ground beef until the ground beef is cooked enough. I worry about contamination issues.

I like this method better anyway - I put a nice sear on the meatballs before cooking them in the sauce. It cooks therm through a bit and adds a nice flavor and texture in the end.

Happy meatballs in some marinara I had simmering.

 I let these cooking on low heat, covered, while the bread is finishing its proof and baking.

The bread baked for 35 minutes at 350. During the preheat I put a small pan on the bottom shelf and added a cup of hot water to it before adding the bread. This adds steam to the oven during the baking process.

So far so good, looks pretty nice inside. Nice weight (not a brick).

The bread turned out pretty well for a first crack. The bread had a nice texture inside but it tasted merely like a plain white bread, and the outer crust wasn't crusty enough for a baguette. The sesame seeds and corn meal bits were a big turn off as well. I won't use those again on my next attempt. I think next time I'll use the bread flour as the recipe indicates, and I'll let it bake a little longer as well.

The sandwich was a joy to eat despite the occasional hard bit of corn meal. The meatballs were so tender and delicious and the sauce was just perfect. The coolest thing is I have another entire loaf of bread and leftover meatballs in the fridge for lunch tomorrow.


  1. I just love homemade bread. I bet having it makes that sandwich twice as good.

  2. @ Lisa

    Indeed! I'm still learning the basics, but one of my New Year's resolutions is to make at least a loaf of something a week and blog about it. Stay tuned! :)

    Thanks for the comment. :)