Thursday, September 9, 2010

BBA: French Bread

The fourteenth bread of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is french bread! 
I was very intimidated by this challenge. Me? Make french bread?! That yummy wonderful bread we love to smear brie and roasted garlic all over. It's a classic.

This was my first basic baguette ever and the first thing that stuck me was how much time it takes to make a baguette! It was 2 hours the first day to make the pâte fermentée and 5 hours the second day.

The pâte fermentée came together easily. It chilled and on day two I brought it out of the fridge to de-chill for an hour. I then mixed the bread dough. My dough tends to be a bit "rippy" but I did achieve a decent looking windowpane. The dough rested and then I shaped them into baguettes.
Shaping went well. I used the metal couche my mom gave me. I made 5 scoring marks on each. However, I wasn't thinking of the baking stone when I shaped them, I simply stretched the dough the length of the couche. This became a problem when I went to slide them into the oven. They were too long! Oh well. A little finagling and I got them on there.

Candy cane shaped baguettes anyone? What an idea for the holiday season!
We've pared down the house some and I didn't have my steam pan I've used in the past so instead I used a large round cake pan as my steam pan. It worked okay. This was the first time my husband has seen me hearth bake and as I kept opening the oven and spaying them with water he was quite impressed. It's always nice when you feel like you don't have a clue as to what you're doing and someone who is even more clueless is in awe of you.
The resulting bread was absolutely delicious! It had a wonderful crunchy crust and a soft middle. Reinhart says to wait 40 minutes before slicing. I was running late with dinner and this was the last thing out of the oven. I think I waited about 5 minutes.

An absolute redo bread for me!

6 comments:

  1. This looks amazing. Yes, candy canes at Christmas.

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  2. Great job!! This was one of my hubby's very favorites (until we got to the pain a l'ancienne, anyway!). I can't believe you're on 14 already - way to go! =)

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  3. I'm with Abby's husband--the pain a l'ancienne is fantastic--if you liked this, you will love it! (But I guess that's what won Reinhart the baking award--yes, I read the intro). I had to make the french bread twice because I had an emergency run to work on the weekend and it um, proofed 8 hours. But I agree it's delicious. At least you've been steaming the whole time--I didn't bother until recently: big mistake.

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  4. So funny you have candy cane baguettes! And I agree with the other commenters here: the Pain à l'ancienne is even better.

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  5. This shape could be good for the Christmas holidays! They look great, the inside is beautiful. I can almost taste it from that photo of it. I need to look into getting some of those metal pans...they would make life a whole lot easier when it comes to French bread. Hey, I am all caught up with reading your posts...and I enjoyed each and every one of them very much! Hugs.

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