Is it me, or is the unsliced portion of that baguette upside-down? Anyway... Yesterday I made the first batch of baguettes with the new stand mixer. Which is a milestone of sorts, I guess, but the reason I consider this project significant enough to warrant a posting is the somewhat experimental nature of it. I altered the recipe a bit, which in baking is usually something of a gamble. The recipe I'd been using was that of the Acme Bread Company in Berkeley, a recipe which shows up in both Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking and Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Bread Bible. The Acme formula calls for two pre-ferments, pate fermentee and poolish, which are mixed a day ahead and added to the lean dough on the day of baking. While this method produces a good baguette, it also produces a very sticky dough which is difficult to work, for a novice like myself at any rate. At the suggestion of the The Pastry Pirate, I omitted the pate fermentee, which she tells me isn't necessarily a standard step in making baguettes anyway (and being as she's a pastry student at the CIA, I'm inclined to defer to her expertise in these matters).
Of course, getting rid of the pate fermentee meant that my proportions were off, so I added the equivalent amounts of water and flour, as well as a little extra yeast, to the lean dough. This wound up adding way too much water, so as I was kneading (or rather as my mixer was kneading), I added some extra flour until the dough seemed to have reached a reasonable consistency. It was still sticky, but not so much as before. The mixer, outfitted with the dough hook, performed its kneading duties flawlessly, and shaping the loaves was a breeze. And yes, PP, I used my baguette pan. Hey, I paid twenty bucks for the thing, it's gonna get used.
The baguettes turned out really well. The crumb was a little more dense than Acme's (which is good, actually, my preference is for fewer air bubbles since I use this type of bread mainly for bruschetta), and the crust was excellent, very crunchy.
Many thanks, Pirate! Baguettes... Good stuff.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Posted by Tommy at 3:03 PM