Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baguettes #10

After 10th practices, my baguettes finally start to look like the handsome musketeers.  I incorporated all the mixing and kneading techniques I learned at my class and TV food channels, and especially from incredible blogger bakers all around the world who kindly shared their baking adventures.
Baguette Recipe can be obtained from Recette: Baguette   **Unfortunately the following website is no longer in service.  It surprised me when the the following link took me to a blank site.  Whatever the reason maybe, I feel the loss of another good recipe.

It is worth an investment to get the baking stone.  I was lucky to have this Baking Stone, 14x15 inches by FoxRun for $21.50 from DOMUS.

I found out recently that Louiserecettes blog site is no long active.   Luckily I had typed my copy in my recipe collection and saved the how to.  I hope louiserecettes won't mind.  It's a terrible shame if a good product recipe is lost forever just like great PONCHIK I came to love at Europe Deli in Sacramento after they sold their business.   I never had their recipe but the sheer joy of being able to buy such a comforting food close by is good thing.  The new baker who took over is using the same Pirashki dough, I am sure they are, and PONCHIK tastes diffferent.

Recette: Baguette from
Notes: Allow seven hours total time to make this recette. The recette calls for cake flour in additon to regular flour because flour in France is of lower protein than flour in the U.S. Cake flour is a "softer," lower protein flour, so this will help you achieve a more authentic loaf. To obtain that classic crisp crust, use a baking stone. The stone plus steam will give you the crust you want. This recipe produces three loaves.
1-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 C (2 ounces) very warm water ( 105 to 115º F)
3 C (13-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 C (4-1/2 ounces) cake flour (see note)   **Total of 18 oz - 1 lb 2 oz
2-1/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon, (10 1/2 ounces) cool water ( 75º F)
1. Combine the yeast and the warm water in a small bowl and stir with a fork to dissolve the yeast.  Let stand for 3 minutes.
2. Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl.
3. Pour the cool water and the yeast mixture over the flour, and mix with your fingers to form a shaggy mass.
4. Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 4 minutes. It should be supple and resilient, but not too smooth at this point.
Let the dough rest on the work surface for 20 minutes, covered with plastic wrap or a light towel.
5. Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes. Don't overknead it: The dough should be smooth, stretchy, and resilient.
6. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it in the bowl to coat with oil, and cover it with plastic wrap.
Preferment #1:
7. Let rise at room temperature (not more than 75 degrees F) for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until nearly doubled in volume.
8. Gently deflate the dough and fold it over itself in the bowl. Reshape it into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.
Ferment #2:
9. Let it rise for 1-1/4 hours or until it has nearly doubled again.
Ferment #3:
10. Gently deflate the dough again, reshape into a round, cover, and let rise for about 1 hour.
11. Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 equal pieces (about 10 ounces each).
12. Gently stretch one piece into a rectangle, leaving some large bubbles in the dough.
13. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up as if you were folding a business letter.
14. Now form the loaf into a log by rolling the dough over from left to right and sealing the seam with the heel of your palm.
15. Fold the dough over about 1/ 3 of the way each time, seal the length of the loaf, then repeat.  *For newbies like me, follow the illustrations in the Tartine Bread book by Chad Robertson.
You want to gently draw the skin tight over the surface of the baguette while leaving some air bubbles in the dough.
16. Seal the seam, being careful not to tear the skin of the dough or deflate its airy structure.
17. Set aside on the work surface to relax before elongating it, and repeat the shaping process with remaining pieces of dough.
18. Now elongate each baguette, starting with the first one you shaped, by rolling it back and forth on the work surface.
19. Begin with both hands over the center of the loaf and work them out to the ends until the loaf reaches the desired length. (Don't get carried away, or the baguettes won't fit in your oven!)
20. Place the finished loaves on a peel or upside down baking sheet lined with parchment paper and generously sprinkled with cornmeal or on a baguette pan.
Proofing #3:
21. Cover the loaves with a floured cloth and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes until the loaves are slightly plump but still not doubled in volume. The final rise is short, because you want the baguettes to be slightly under proofed; this will give them a better oven spring, resulting in loaves with a light, airy crumb and more flared cuts.
22. Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500º F. Place a baking stone in the oven to preheat, and place an empty water pan directly under the stone. Use a very sharp razor blade to make 3 to 5 slashes, depending on the length of your loaves, on the top of each baguette.
23. The blade should be held at a 30 degree angle to the loaf so that the cuts pop open in the oven. Be careful not to press down too hard, or you may deflate the loaves.
24. Using a plant sprayer, mist the loaves.
25. Gently slide the loaves onto the preheated stone, or place the baguette mold in the oven.
26. Pour 1 cup of very hot water into the water pan and quickly close the oven door.
27. After 1 minute, mist the loaves and oven walls 6 to 8 times and close the door. After 2 more minutes, spray the loaves and the oven walls again.
28. Bake for 12 minutes at 500'F, then lower the oven temperature to 400º F and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer until the loaves are golden brown and crisp.
Move them to a rack to cool.
Try it and see what happens.  If you have specific question with her method, please visit her site and ask.  - the site is no longer active the last time I checked - Feb, 2015.  
If you have question with my result, please let me know.

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