Monday, June 29, 2015

My First Attempt at French Baguettes

For my first attempt to make the delicious baguettes we had in Paris, I turned to Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book for BREADS (Simon & Schuster, 1987). I used the instructions for the stand mixer. The only thing I changed in the recipe was to cut it in half since the recipe made 4 baguettes and if they were to come out like those in Paris we could certainly eat four but certainly did not need four.

The bread was good but not what we had in Paris. The crust was crunchy leading to a soft center but the center was doughier - not as light and airy.It also had a much stronger yeast taste than what we remembered. It was still better than what is available at the supermarket but not what I was hoping for. Back to the drawing board.

Pain Ordinaire Careme ( A Daily Loaf) page 253
3 cups bread or unbleached flour ( I used Better for Bread)
1 package dry yeast
1 1/4 cups hot water (120-130F)
1 tsp each salt and water

Measure 2 cups of the flour into the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the flat beater and add the yeast and water. "The batter will be smooth and pull away from the sides as the gluten develops. It may also try to climb up the beaters and into the motor. If it does, push it down with a rubber scraper. Mix for 10 minutes. When about finished dissolve the salt in the water and add to the blender. Blend for 30 seconds more."
Exchange the flat beater for the dough hook and "add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough has formed under the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. If it is sticky and clings, add sprinkles of flour. Knead for 10 minutes."

First Rising - 2 hours
"Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough will ore than [triple] in volume".

Second rising - 1 1/2 hours
"Turn back the plastic wrap and turn the dough onto the work surface to knead briefly, about 3 minutes. return the dough to the bowl and recover with wax paper. Allow to rise to more than triple its volume, about 1 1/2 hours."

Shaping - 10 minutes
"The dough will be light and puffy. Turn it onto the floured work surface and punch it down.... Divide into as many pieces as you wish loaves .... Allow pieces of dough to rest for 5 minutes before shaping." .....
For baguettes roll and lengthen each dough piece under your palms to 16" to 20", and 3" to 4" in diameter. Place in a pan".

Third Rising - 1 hour
"Cover the loaves with a cloth .... to allow air to reach the loaves to form a light crust. Leave at room temperature until the dough has risen to more than double its size, about 1 hour."

"Before preheating the oven to 450[F] ... 20 minutes before baking, place a broiler pan on the floor of the oven or bottom rack so it will be there later. Five minutes before baking, pour 1 cup hot water into the hot pan. Becare of the burst of steam - it can burn."

Baking 450F - 25-30 minutes
"Place on the middle shelf of the oven.
The loaves are done when golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Turn one loaf over and if the bottom crust sounds hard and hollow when tapped, the loaf is done."

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