Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

BBA Challenge #14: French Bread (Baguettes)

I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend. My new commrade. My new baking buddy.

Isn't she just beautiful? I haven't named her yet, so if you have any suggestions for names, please leave them in the comments.

If you're not familiar with who she is, she is a bigger, heftier, more powerful version of the KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer I have had for a long time. She is the Professional 620. I. Love. Her. And I have my birthday to thank for her.

The first chance I got to use her was for my French Bread Baguettes that I made way back over Labor Day weekend.

Mr. Reinhart's formula calls for 3 cups (16 ounces) of what is called pâte fermentée which is a pre-fermented dough. However, I had enough sourdough starter on hand that I had made a little thicker than normal that I was able to use it instead of making a separate pre-ferment.

I mixed all the flour (a mixture of bread flour and all purpose flour this time), salt, yeast and starter with my new baking buddy. She made pretty quick work of mixing and kneading the dough.

Look at the stretch I got from this dough.

I was impressed.

But one of the funnest things to me with the baguettes was shaping them. I had the time as the kids were staying with Nanny that day so I set my camera up on the tripod and took a ton of pictures. I’m going to limit my commentary and just let the pictures do the talking for me this time.

The one thing I did want to point out was that I do not have a “couche” per se for my loaves to proof in. I have an older flour sack dish towel that I got some dough on a while back and I have used it as a couche ever since. I sprayed it with oil and floured it and it has worked great.

And the finished product?

I was so stinkin’ proud of how these turned out. Just look at those holes. And the texture. And the crust.

I have succeeded at making baguettes. I feel like a real life baker now!

You want to know one of my favorite ways to enjoy this kind of bread?

Here, have a bite.

We changed our normal menu for the week to include a dish that would accommodate the soppin’ up properties of the baguette. I fixed this lamb chop dish that ends up with a nice sauce perfect for soppin’.

Overall Impressions:

This was really not as hard as I thought it would be. The high amount of pre-ferment I think aids in the gluten development and lends a really good sweet flavor to the bread.

Would I make it again? Heck yeah.


Beckypdj said...

Those look so awesome and I am jealous. Can a person make a starter from scratch? I used to have one years ago, the kind you feed with potato flakes, but I quit making bread so much and let it die.

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

Becky - Thanks. Absolutely you can make a starter from scratch. I will do a post soon with some starter links and resources. Too much to put into a single comment. :)


Kay said...

I looove your bread making skills. I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but haven't really explored the whole bread thing with it. So I'll just drool over yours! : )

Pete Eatemall said...

Love the mixer. I have had mine for a while now...been thru three of them. I give away my smaller mixer to an up an coming baker each time! Never thought to name it! Your French bread looks amazing! Love all the pics! Happy baking!

Cindy said...

The beautiful open crumb on your baguettes is making me very jealous!! Great work. I especially love the shot where you write, "Have a bite". I would if I could.