Saturday, July 22, 2006


Saturday, July 22, 2006
I said earlier that there were four breads in the cookbook that really caused me trepidation: bagels, sourdough, the baguette, and croissants. I've done sourdough, and now I've done baguettes. More accurately, I've made my first baguette. The disadvantage of my "All 82 breads" project, with no repeats, is clear to me now--it leaves me no chance to perfect a particular bread. (Jim tells me that can be next year's project).
I'm not totally happy with the looks of this baguette. It's too flat and unbeautiful. I'm very happy with the taste, though.
To tell the truth, I was a little irritated when I realized that I was going to have to bake a baguette. As Rose says in her introduction, they're very difficult to make in a home oven and you can get a good baguette in any good bakery. But she says that people who didn't live five minutes away from a good bakery were pleading with her to show them how to make baguettes at home. I suspect some exageration here--I seriously doubt that hordes of people were at her door, begging her for baguette instructions.
However, I bought a baguette pan, as well as the specified King Arthur artisan flour, and I even got myself in a good frame of mind. The dough required many steps (Make a poolish! Make a pate fermentee!) and a lot of tending, but it was kind of fun. Everything went swimmingly, but when I took it out of the refrigerator for its last rise, it didn't want to rise any more; nor did it rise much in the oven, giving me a loaf that was the proper length and width, but only about an inch high. And it wasn't the lovely golden brown that I was expecting--more of a cafe au lait brown.
Still....if you've never tasted a baguette 10 minutes out of the oven, you are a lucky person because you have a great pleasure waiting to be experienced for the first time.

No comments: