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Edthebread's picture

King Arthur bread courses - feedback needed

January 6, 2010 - 7:38am -- Edthebread
Forums: 

Hi Everyone


I am thinking of attending some of the King Arthur bread classes, and I'd like some feedback from those of you who may have attended them previously.  I'm a fairly experienced home baker who cooks both sourdough and yeast breads, mainly with a high percentage of whole grains, so I am looking for a class to advance my skills rather than a beginners class.


The two classes I'm considering are:

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

Hi All,


I just wanted to share with you my final bakes of 2009.  I was unable to post them earlier as I went to Japan for Christmas and New Years...  This was a year of much improvement for me, perfecting my version of baguettes, getting the hang of sourdough, refrigerated bulk fermentation, baking very large loaves, making pizza dough, and kneading large quantities (7-8kg) of dough by hand successfully.


Wishing all of you much baking success in 2010.  Now I'm off to do my first bake of the 2010.


Cheers,


Tim











GabrielLeung1's picture
GabrielLeung1

November 10, 2009 was an auspicious day. It was the second baguette day, and a day I thought would be as interesting and full of questions as I could be hoping for as early in the program as we were. I had my concerns of course, as the product we were finishing and baking was the direct baguette.


A stiff dough with no prefermentation or autolyse mixed in to make it more interesting, all the direct baguette had going for it was a long, cool, overnight proof, and all the hope I could knead into it. Since becoming a bread baker I had always used pre-fermentation and retarded yeast fermentation. More recently my whimsical bread baking techniques have wandered into such techniques as autolyse, flour scalding, and wild yeast fermentation, but today I was returning to my bread baking childhood and would be making an artisan bread without any tricks or mind bending biochemistry.



The crust was a golden yellow color! To say nothing of the crumb, a tight, cottony consistency. Nothing like what I was used to seeing in my own formulas, baguette or otherwise. Which is not to say that they weren't beautiful, there is no higher category of judgement then the grigne of the scores, yet upon seeing the crumb, I just had to shake my head.


But I think this was the definition of the intensive mix method, the dough was at 57% hydration, we used stand mixers to mix up the dough to a perfect window pane, fermented it, punched it down, shaped the baguettes, then let them proof overnight. Retarding the dough had promise, but I think in order to get that nice crumb structure the retarding must occur in the bulk fermentation, rather then afterwards. What the retarding did do was produce a mild, subtle flavor to the baguettes, which I appreciated. 


I look at my loaves, and I see potential. 

DonD's picture
DonD

Background: 


Having a number of high school friends living in Montreal, I have had the opportunity to visit this city quite a few times over the years. I have always enjoyed its cosmopolitan charm and the French influences that have permeated its history and culture especially in the area of gastronomy.


Recently, my wife and I drove to Montreal to visit a close friend. He and his wife always treated us to the best breakfast of baguettes and croissants with farm fresh butter and raw milk cheeses, the kind that came closest to what you would find in France. Being the avid baker that I am, I came up with the idea to do a tasting of the best baguettes that Montreal has to offer.


Setting:


We decided to taste a traditional baguette each from four of the most popular artisanal bakeries in Montreal. The tasting took place within three hours of the purchase and our tasting group consistted of six people.



From the top down, the baguettes were from Au Pain Dore, L'Amour du Pain, Le Fournil Ancestral and Premiere Moisson.


Results:


The results were unanimous and the rankings were as follows


1- Premiere Moisson



Good overall appearance. Nice golden brown crusy exterior. Smell of toasty wheat. Slight flaw with one undercooked side probably caused by the loaves being baked too close together. Creamy color and very soft open crumb with just the right amount of chewiness. Sweet tasting and a little tangy. Overall an outstanding baguette.


Probably the largest bakery in Montreal with multiple outlets throughout the city. The flour comes from Meunerie Milanaise, an organic mill in Quebec that also supplies to Daniel Leader's bakery in upstate New York.


2- L'Amour du Pain



The darkest of all the baguettes with a sweet caramely smell. The crust is a litlle bit hard but the crumb is creamy with huge irregular holes. The taste is sweet with a hint of acidity. A very good baguette.


This is a Retrodor baguette made with flour imported from the Meuneries Viron in France.


3- Au Pain Dore



A close second in appearance to the Premiere Moisson Baguette. The crust has a wheaty smell but is not as crackly. The crumb is nicely open with good balance of softness and chewiness. Overall, a good baguette.


This baguette is made from unbleached, untreated flour and is fermented for 6 hours.


4- Le Fournil Ancestral 



Good appearance but the lightest in color. The crust is on the soft side with no noticeable smell. The crumb is white, tight and cottony probably due to an intensive mix. Although called artisanal, this is a forgettable industrial type baguette.


Epilogue:


Following the tasting, I set out to find the flour from Meunerie Milanaise and was able to buy and bring back three 20 kilo bags of different grades of flour. I have been experimenting with the flours and will publish the results on future postings.


Don


 

RobynNZ's picture

THANK YOU ALL

October 27, 2009 - 7:00pm -- RobynNZ

 


I had the most delicious lunch today, salad all picked from my spring garden accompanied by the first baguettes I've ever made. I wanted to come here and say thank you to everyone, for all the points and tips that helped me gain the confidence to even try. Actually it was watching Steven Sullivan ACME baking with Julia Child in the video Marc linked to the other day, working with his dough, which made me finally decide I could at least give it a go. 

turosdolci's picture

Statistics on the baguette consumption in France question

October 23, 2009 - 1:40am -- turosdolci

Does anyone know how to get recent statistics about the consumption of baguettes in France over the last 10 years


or so. I have tried contacting the The Association of Bakers in France in both English and French as well as other sources and never get an answer. There has been deep reduction in comsumption of the baguette and it has had a very negative effect on the bakers who prepare it from scratch ("a La Masion") a classification defined by the French government. I have been wanting to write an article "Save The Baguetts" but can only find old figures. 

Obsessive Ingredient Weigher's picture
Obsessive Ingre...

Below are some detailed crust and crumb photos of Gosselin's "baguette tradition"/"baguette ancienne" from Paris + a report on the experience! I managed to get to all 3 of his shops...


On my first day in the city, I went to the 125 Rue Saint Honore location by the Louvre. Nice shop. Moderate size. Lots of pastries. I was the only one in there at 10AM as the staff was milling around. The cashier was very pleasant. As I left the shop, I broke off a piece of the "baguette ancienne" (btw - this is the only one of the three locations that calls it "ancienne" instead of "tradition") and was sorely disappointed. Much like many of the lower quality baguettes in Paris, it tasted overwhelmingly of hard water and/or raw flour. Fortunately, I purchased two baguettes, so I later tore into the other one...but only to find the same thing...horrible flavor. Somehow I was not discouraged, and I knew I had two more shops to go...


The next morning I visited the 28 Rue Caumartin location. It's on a sleepy street. Relatively small shop. Again, I was the only person in the boulangerie, but the cashier was hurried and not entirely pleasant with me. And, yes, I speak French, so she wasn't just being surly to the "American tourist". Upon leaving the shop, I dug into the baguette and was hit with the same disgusting flavor from the baguettes the day before. I now had major doubts about the quality of Gosselin's famous baguettes. How could they be so beloved and yet be so bad? But I still hadn't been to the flagship store, so I decided to give Gosselin one last try...


Saturday morning I wandered down the Boulevard Saint Germain. Gorgeous street. And despite my underwhelming experiences from the days before, I was excited. The numbers on the building counted down until there I was at 258 Boulevard Saint Germain...




With a shop this pretty, the baguette had to be good, right? I scooted around to the other side of the building and snapped a cliched shot of an old Parisian man shuffling out, baguette in-hand...




I walked inside, ready to give Gosselin his last chance...




There it was, above the register on the right, the "baguette tradition"...




I walked down the Boulevard and took a shot of the virgin loaf. The crust was dark and very well-caramelized. The scent was not too pronounced: very slightly sweet with a hint of nuttiness. This was surprising to me, as my "pain a l'ancienne" loaves have a very distinct pistachio scent...




I sat on a bench, ripped off a piece and gave a taste. Delicious! I don't know who makes the bread at the other two shops, as all three are supposed to have the same source, but this was a world apart...




I walked along thoroughly enjoying my baguette until I reached the banks of the Seine, where I had to take a few more photos. In the few minutes between my first bite and the river, I was blown away. The top crust tasted subtly but clearly of roasted marshmallows. The bottom crust was more blunt, although delicious. And, odd as it may seem, the closest thing I can compare it to are the crispy, slightly charred edges and nooks of a Thomas' English Muffin. Not the most sophisticated flavor in the world, but there it was. The crumb, as you can see, was cream-colored and tasted just like it looked, creamy and smooth...




Just look at that grigne and the gorgeous colors...




The baguettes definitely have an irregular shape, nothing neat and perfectly uniform about them...




I was so happy with my experience on Saturday, that I went back to the shop on Monday morning, got another baguette and sat in the Tuileries Gardens by the Louvre to snap a few more shots on a park bench.




The baguettes have a beautiful oven spring...




Admittedly, this second loaf wasn't quite the religious experience that the one from Saturday morning had been. It definitely hadn't spent as much time in the oven, so there wasn't a tremendous amount of character to the flavor. Visually, excellent crust and excellent crumb, but I'd only go so far as to describe the flavor as "solid".


Clearly, the key is to get a "baguette tradition" only from the Saint Germain flagship store, and make sure it has a deep amber crust. It's guaranteed to knock your socks off.


I sampled many other baguettes while in Paris. Most ranged from terrible to boring. One from the Le Moulin de la Vierge was adequate and certainly worth going for if you're near the Eiffel Tower and need a baguette fix. And I have to say I was quite impressed with the one I had at Gerard Mulot. While it didn't soar to the heights of my Saturday Gosselin experience, it was excellent and absolutely one to check out.


I'd love to hear your thoughts, whether you've experienced Gosselin's work first-hand or love making these loaves yourself. I thought having some close-up photos would be a great thing to share, as I know how many of us love to work on Gosselin's/Reinhart's "pain a l'ancienne" and how much detailed imagery can help us out with our experiments. Bon appetit!

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