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Thursday, April 15, 2010

BBA Challenge #21 - Pain à l’Ancienne

Simple math.  I cannot seem to do simple math. 

My scale doesn’t measure in straight ounces, but in pounds + ounces so I had to figure out the measurement of 27 ounces of flour in pounds + ounces.  I know that there are 16 ounces per pound and somehow when I added 16 + 16 my brain came up with 28.  So clearly 27 ounces is 1 pound & 15 ounces.

Except when it’s not.

Which is always.

Which is also why my husband helps our 3rd grader with her math homework and will continue to do so for the rest of her school years.

I realized my math error AFTER I had already mixed the salt into the flour, but not the yeast yet.  So I took the appropriate amount of flour out of the bowl and added back in a little bit of salt to account for what would have been taken out with the flour that I removed. 

But then, as I mixed, I ended up needing to add back in the flour I had taken out, so NOW the bread had too much salt.  Not much, but more than the formula calls for.

I almost gave up completely at this point.

But I pressed on.

I mixed the dough one evening and put it in the refrigerator. 


The next day, I took the dough out of the fridge at about 2:45 pm.  I didn’t have my camera the night before, but you can see from the black line on my bucket that it did not rise at all in the fridge.  Those air bubbles you see were a little bigger than the night before, but it clearly was no where near doubled.  So I just went about the rest of my day.

Finally, at 9:30 pm it was finally close to doubling in size.  That’s nearly 7 hours later, people.  SEVEN.

At that point my man and I were sitting down to watch a movie.  Julie & Julia as a matter of fact.  At 9:30 pm, I didn’t have the time or inclination to deal with shaping bread and staying up to bake it.  So, I decided it was best to just put the dough back in the fridge and deal with it the next day.


The next day, I turned it out on my working surface and finally read the rest of the formula. 

OH… it doesn’t need a time to proof?!?  Interesting.  So I COULD have dealt with it the night before.  Oh well. 


 100_7657 100_7658

It turns out such a nice, full of character, rustic looking bread. 




I love these big holes.


The batch made six smallish baguettes.  My man and I ate two that night with some pork chops that have a wonderful tomatoey sauce perfect for dipping good artisan bread in.  That left me with four.

It just so happened that I found out that day that one of my favorite authors and Bible teachers, Beth Moore, was going to be practically a stone’s throw away from my house the next day doing a book signing for her latest book So Long, Insecurity .  I looked at her schedule and noticed that she was barely going to have time to breathe with two signings in one day.  So, I wrapped up two of those baguettes and took them to her.  Maybe that makes me weird, but she seemed appreciative and was so gracious about it.  I wrote about it here.


This bread was so incredibly easy.  I love the long & slow fermentation and the fact that it doesn’t require a 2nd fermentation/proof cycle.  The taste left a little to be desired in my book.  It was okay, but not as flavorful as I thought the French Bread baguettes were.  I think next time I do it I will use some sourdough starter to see if that doesn’t take the flavor to the next level. 

You can find the rest of my Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge posts here.


pipedi said...

I recently read on the Cook's Illustrated bulletin board that salt can slow down yeast rise, so maybe that's why your dough decided to take its time. Your breads look beautiful, and I'm sure "Miss Beth" loved it. What a sweet gift. (I'm doing her new Breaking Free study right now and am really profiting from it. It's not easy, but it's good!)

Thanks for all of your posts. I don't comment much, but I really appreciate your blog and all the hard work and time you put into it!


Kay said...

Your breads always make me jealous of your wonderful baking skills.

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

Yes, Diane... you are correct about salt controlling the yeast growth. I agree that it may have played a factor in the slow rise. The refrigerator where I stored it overnight is in the garage and not opened on a regular basis thoughout the day, so the cold may have been a factor also. Whatever the reason, seven hours.... I just need to plan ahead for that next time. Ugh.

misterrios said...

I absolutely love the rustic look of your bread. And the holes and everything. It makes me want to make this recipe again right away. Too bad about the flavor, though. I've left the dough in the fridge three days and it usually develops super flavor.

I don't know if the doubling was necessary- I think I might have glossed over it when reading. Whenever I make it, I wake up at 6am, turn on the oven, take out the bread and leave it on the counter to warm up in the bowl. At 8am, I take it out shape it and put it in the oven. At this point it's still somewhat cold, but the oven spring is incredible. I have had some boules that took forever to cook on the inside because of the temperature difference, but when making baguette shapes, it's never been an issue.