The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

peter reinhart

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The 100% Whole Wheat Bread from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice has been one of my favorite breads for years. I love it for it's delicious honey-wheat flavor. However, it often comes out with a dense, cake-like crumb. In April, I tried making this bread using a more intensive mix, as demonstrated by txfarmer. (See Light and fluffy 100% Whole Wheat Bread) I did, indeed, achieve a less dense, more open crumb. But I felt there was some loss of flavor due to oxidation of carotenoids. 

It is difficult to make a 100% whole wheat bread with a light, airy crumb. The pieces of bran in the flour act like little knives, cutting the gluten strands that give bread crumb its “structure.” I had heard of flour mills that grind the bran to a finer consistency after it has been separated during the normal milling process and then add the fine-ground bran back in, along with the other wheat components that re-constitute “whole wheat” flour. The smaller bran particles do less damage to the developing gluten during mixing.

Central Milling makes such a flour, and brother Glenn recently got some for me at CM's Petaluma warehouse. Today, I used CM's “Organic Hi-Protein Fine” whole wheat flour to make the Whole Wheat Bread from BBA. I followed the formula and procedures in my April 2, 2011 blog entry with one exception: I only mixed the dough for 12 minutes at Speed 2.

 

The first difference in the bread was the wonderfulness of its aroma. I can't say it was different in quality, but it just filled the house as never before. When the bread was cool and sliced, the crumb structure was even more open than I got with intensive mixing. The bread is chewy like a good white loaf and not at all cakey or crumbly. The flavor is delicious. I can't really say it is better than the flavor I've gotten with either home-milled flour or KAF Organic Whole Wheat flour, but the combination of crumb structure, texture and flavor was remarkable.

 

I am now eager to try using this flour with other breads, for example the Tartine "Basic Country Bread." Stay tuned.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It's much nicer to live with my wife, along with San Joaquin Sourdough, than alone. And if there is any bread that makes her happier than San Joaquin Sourdough, it's the Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread from BBA. So I baked some today.

One of these days, I will try Glenn's variation with pecans and dried cranberries. See Another Spice-Fruit-Nut Bread

And, for those who are wondering, Glenn and I did not discuss what we were baking this weekend. It's just one of them synchronicity things.

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

100% Whole Wheat Bread from BBA

I've been admiring the whole wheat pan loaves txfarmer has shown us in recent weeks. Her use of intensive mixing to achieve a higher rise and airier crumb has particularly intrigued me. (See SD 100% WW sandwich loaf with bulgur (cracked wheat) - discovered a new favorite ingredient). When I read her blog, I decided to make the same bread. However, on further reflection, I changed my plan. I have a favorite 100% whole wheat bread – that in BBA – and I really don't like the combination of sourdough tang and whole wheat flavors. So, I decided to fiddle with Peter Reinhart's formula for 100% whole wheat bread using some of txfarmer's techniques to see if I could get a lighter-crumbed version of a bread I already know well and love. The crumb texture I have gotten with this bread is moist but rather dense and crumbly, following Reinhart's suggestions for mixing time. This is not at all unpleasant to eat, but is very different from the airier crumb txfarmer and khalid have shown.

Reinhart's formula calls for a soaker with a coarsely-ground grain and a whole wheat poolish. As usual, I used bulgur for the soaker, and I used fresh-milled whole wheat flour for the poolish. The flour in the final dough was KAF Organic Whole Wheat. The procedures described are those I used. They deviate from both Peter Reinhart's and txfarmer's in significant ways.

 

Soaker

Baker's %

Wt (oz)

Medium bulgur

100

4.25

Water

141

6

The day before baking, measure the bulgur into a 3 cup bowl. Pour the water over it and cover tightly. Leave at room temperature until used.

 

Whole Wheat Poolish

Baker's %

Wt (oz)

Whole wheat flour

100

6.75

Instant yeast

0.41

0.028 (¼ tsp)

Water

88.9

6

The day before baking, mix the poolish ingredients. Cover the bowl tightly. Allow to ferment until bubbles start to form (2-4 hours), then refrigerate.

 

Final dough

Baker's %

Wt (oz)

Whole wheat flour

100

9

Salt

3.7

0.33

Instant yeast

1.2

0.11 (1 tsp)

Honey

16.7

1.5

Vegetable oil (optional)

5.6

0.5

Egg, slightly beaten

18.3

1.65 (1 large)

Seeds to garnish (optional)

 

2 T

Soaker

114

All of above

Poolish

142

All of above

 

Procedure

  1. Mix the soaker and poolish, as instructed above, the night before mixing the final dough.

  2. One hour before mixing, take the poolish out of the refrigerator to warm to room temperature.

  3. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.

  4. Using the paddle, mix at Speed 1until a ball forms on the paddle and the ingredients are well-mixed (1-2 minutes). Note that the dough should be quite tacky – neither dry nor sticky. Adjustments can be made by adding either water or flour during this step or during the next mixing step. (I added about 15-20 g additional water.)

  5. Let the dough rest, covered in the mixer bowl, for 20-40 minutes.

  6. Switch to the dough hook and mix at Speed 2 until a medium window pane can be made. (20-25 minutes) Note: Reinhart's instruction is to knead for 10-15 minutes, “less” if machine kneading.

  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl.

  8. Ferment for two hours or until the dough has doubled in volume, with a stretch and fold on the board at 60 minutes.

  9. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form them into pan loaves.

  10. Place the dough into lightly oiled medium loaf pans and place the pans in food-grade plastic bags or cover well with a towel or plasti-crap.

  11. Proof until the loaves have almost doubled and are peaking above the rims of the pans. (About 90 minutes)

  12. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle.

  13. Optionally, spray the loaves lightly with water and sprinkle on seeds or rolled oats.

  14. Optionally, score the loaves.

  15. Bake for 45-60 minutes. At 30 minutes, rotate the pans 180º, if necessary for even browning. The interior temperature should be at least 195ºF, and the crust should be firm on the top and on the sides of the loaves. If necessary, return the loaves to the oven and bake longer. (My loaves were done in 45 minutes.)

  16. Immediately transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  17. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

I noticed two significant differences in this dough, compared to my previous bakes of this bread. First, the dough was less sticky than usual. Second, the loaves achieved significantly greater volume during proofing. I attribute this to the more intensive mixing, but also the S&F which serves to further strengthen the dough but also equalized the dough temperature and redistribute the products of fermentation.

Once baked, the loaves felt much lighter than usual. When sliced, the reason was quite obvious. Rather than the cakey, somewhat crumbly crumb this bread has always had in the past, the crumb was airy and, in txfarmer's words, “shreddable.”

Crumb from a previous bake of the BBA 100% Whole Wheat Bread, made following Reinhart's mixing time instructions

Crumb of the 100% Whole Wheat Bread from BBA mixed as described above

"Shreddable"

The flavor of the bread is basically unchanged, but the mouth feel is entirely different - light and mildly chewy. I was amazed.

I'm looking forward to having toast for breakfast.

Thanks, txfarmer, for your inspiring and informative postings!

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 

I made some banana breads tonight. They were delicious – better than ever before with some tweaking the baking temperature. As I was tasting it, I got to thinking about the book from which I got the recipe.

Banana Bread from Crust & Crumb

Banana Bread crumb

Peter Reinhart's Crust & Crumb was one of the first two baking books I acquired when I started baking again after a 25 year lapse. (The other was George Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker.) While my baking library now contains some two dozen books, C&C remains one of my favorites, and, as I look at it today, the reasons are clear. First, it contains a couple formulas I return to again and again – the best formula for San Francisco-style sourdough bread I know and the formula for Banana Bread.

This book was my introduction to so many basic concepts, including the orderly steps in bread baking, from mis en place to tasting, and the function of each in achieving “a loaf of bread that is rhapsodically beautiful and exceptionally delicious.” Reinhart's amalgamation of science, art, craft and philosophy, all expressed in beautiful and lucid prose, captured me. He emphasized the rigorous application of knowledge and technique but also the ultimate importance of “feel” for the dough, acquired through disciplined and reflective practice. That is the path he defined to become a “bread revolutionary.”

Crust & Crumb was published in 1998. Reinhart's introductory chapter is titled “The Bread Revolution.” It is of particular interest now, given our recent discussion of that topic. Reinhart's perspective is of special interest because of the role he has played in this phenomenon. He reviews the recent history of bread baking in America and the influences of various people and events and also delves into his personal history, albeit briefly. He concludes the book with a chapter on The Bread Baker's Guild of America and how it nurtured the young bakers who ultimately put the USA on the world bread map through victories in the Coupe du Monde, notably the second place finish in 1996 which included Craig Ponsford's winning first place in the bread division.

I love this book. Many newer books have advanced “the bread revolution” since Crust & Crumb was published, but it continues to have an unique place in my bread baking library, and I think it remains a valuable resource to anyone striving to make great bread.

Happy baking!

David

 

em120392's picture
em120392

Hey guys! it's been a while! i've been posting a lot on my blog, but not much on here!

anyway, my brother and i made english muffins, which happened to be one of the most fun breads i've made so far. i hope you guys enjoy my post on them!

you can read all the posts on our blog, http://bakingacrosscountry.wordpress.com/ i've been interning at a bread bakery as well as a bagel shop! this project has definitely been the highlight of my high school career.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


My brother, Evan, came home from his trip to Antarctica and New Zealand a few days ago. We had a lot of family events that filled the entirety of the weekend, and we had no time to really even see each other. Even though I had school today, I took the morning off to bake bread and hang out with my brother before he flew back to California. English muffins were the next on deck-and I couldn't have asked for a more interesting bread to make with Evan.

English muffins, despite their name, are not like the typical muffins we are familiar with. Yeast-risen, English muffins are cooked atop a griddle, giving it its classic, flattened shape. Once browned on the outside, the muffins are baked fully in the oven. English muffins are usually eaten for breakfast, or for sandwiches. However, to retain the texture of the crumb, English muffins are split open with a fork, revealing the trademarked "nooks and crannies" inside.

English muffins are very similar to crumpets, which are yeasted breads baked in a mould on a griddle. However, crumpets have their defining holes on the top of the bread, while English muffins have holes on the inside.

Cooking yeasted breads on a griddle was nothing new- it has been documented that in 10th century Wales breads were made like this. In the 19th century England, yeasted griddle-breads were sold door to door by a muffin man. He would come around every day, and deliver fresh breads.

English muffins were popularized by Samuel Bath Thomas, who marketed them in New York City in the late 1800s. English muffins gained their identifying trademark "nooks and crannies" in the mid-1920s.

The English muffins that I've unfortunately been exposed to are rubbery, store bought Thomas' ones. The only positives about these are that when their split with a fork, toasted, and buttered, they do not taste half bad. However, I'm sure English muffins have the potential to be a delicious breakfast and sandwich bread.

English muffins are enriched bread, with butter and milk. They are a direct bread, meaning they do not have a preferment or retardation. However, I believe that these would be great using a sourdough starter, adding a more complex flavor. Evan and I decided that we would make two batches because it only makes six at a time. If we doubled it, we would have enough to feed our bread-hungry brother, Will, and freeze some for future breakfasts.

Evan and I began mixing the dry ingredients- flour, sugar, salt and yeast- together. Since we didn't have any buttermilk, we clabbered milk with vinegar to make a buttermilk substitute. We added the "buttermilk" and butter to the dough, and kneaded it until it made a soft, tender dough.

We let the dough proof until doubled, for about two hours. The dough was so soft and supple; It was surprised that it would be used for English muffins. We scaled it into 3 ounce portions, and shaped them into balls. We sprinkled them with a really coarse cornmeal, and a finer one. Then, we let them proof for about 2 hours until they puffed up significantly.

We originally were going to use a cast-iron skillet, but the one we own is only about 8 inches in diameter. We settled on our electric-griddle which we use for pancakes. They cooked on the first side for about 5 minutes, or until they were very dark brown, but not burnt. Then, we flipped them, and baked them on the last side.

Once cooked on both sides on the griddle, we baked them in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until they were fully cooked.

They were on the big side, and a little thicker than the ones were used to. Evan and I split one open (with a fork!) and tried it. They tasted real, and delicious. Unlike store bought ones, they didn't taste chemically or rubbery, but were soft with a crunchy corn crust.

Next time (and I promise there will be a next time), I think I'll scale them into about 2.5 ounce balls rather than 3 ounce ones. It might have been Evan's presence in the kitchen, but English muffins were probably the most fun and most interesting bread I've baked so far.

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 

I am continuing my exploration of fresh-ground flour this week with another bake of Peter Reinhart's “100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread” from Whole Grain Baking. I baked this bread three weeks ago and found the flavor marvelous, but the crumb was somewhat dense and cakey. I had ground the flour from hard red Winter wheat at the second from the finest setting. I did like the chewiness from the coarser ground grains. So, looking for a lighter loaf overall but maintaining the chewiness, I modified the formula and procedures somewhat.

Reinhart's formula calls for half the flour in a soaker of flour, milk product and salt. For the liquid, I used ¾ non-fat Greek-style yoghurt and ¼ water. The rest of the flour is in a biga made with flour, water and instant yeast. The biga is mixed, kneaded and refrigerated overnight.

I ground the wheat for the biga at the finest setting of my KitchenAid Grain Mill. This resulted in flour that was still a bit coarser than KAF WW flour, for example. I ground the wheat for the soaker at a medium-coarse setting.

I thought that I could get a lighter crumb and higher rising loaf if I developed the gluten in the biga portion before adding the soaker to the mix. So, I added all the other ingredients (salt, yeast, honey and canola oil) to the biga in the mixer bowl. I mixed for a couple minutes with the paddle at Speed 1, then with the dough hook for 11 minutes at Speed 2. The dough was rather sticky, but it cleaned the sides of the bowl, almost cleaned the bottom and had window paning. I then added in the soaker, which was quite crumbly, and mixed with the dough hook until it was incorporated into the dough.

After a 5 minute rest, I briefly kneaded the dough on the board, incorporating another couple tablespoons of fine ground whole wheat in the process, then transferred the dough to an oiled batter pitcher for bulk fermentation. Fermentation, proofing and baking were according to Reinhart's instructions. Note that, three weeks ago, I baked this bread in a Le Creuset oval Dutch oven. Today, I baked on a baking stone and steamed the oven using the SFBI method I've described in earlier postings.

The crust was crunchy, especially from the coarser pieces of wheat. The crumb reminds me of a 100% rye with rye chops. It's not what I was aiming for, but it is interesting. The crumb has two distinct textures from the different grinds of grain - tender and chewy-crunchy. The flavor is delicious.

I'd count this a worthwhile learning experience, but it's still not my ideal crumb for this bread. 

The other bread that I baked today was my San Joaquin Sourdough. I fed the levain with a 50/50 mix of KAF Sir Galahad and fresh-ground whole wheat. The final dough had 5% fresh-ground rye.

San Joaquin Sourdough breads with Julia Drayton Camelias

San Joaquin Sourdough Crumb

David

 

em120392's picture
em120392

Hey guys! Here's my post about Casatiello, an enriched bread with cheese and meat. I'm doing the BBA Challenge for a project in my high school. My brother and I share a blog (he's going to start writing soon) where we document our journey through the Bread Baker's Apprentice. Here's the link: http://bakingacrosscountry.wordpress.com/

 

Casatiello, a Neapolitan Easter bread, is also known as Tortano in other parts of Italy. The word casatiello is derived from the Neapolitan word for "cheese." Casatiello is enriched bread, much like brioche, with the addition of cured meat and cheeses. Traditionally, Italians add salami and pecorino-romano and/or provolone cheeses.

Like many other breads, casatiello has religious significance. The rising dough represents the resurrection of Christ on Easter. The traditional circular shape represents Christ's crown, and the eggs on top signify His rebirth.

To incorporate the meat and cheese, Reinhart kneads in these additions. However, while researching other recipes, they call for the dough to be rolled out flat, sprinkled with meat and cheese, and rolled up like a sandwich loaf. The traditional casatiello is topped with raw eggs, covered with dough crosses. When baked, the eggs atop the casatiello are similar to hard-boiled eggs. Reinhart bakes his bread in tall mold, like a coffee can, lined with a paper bag. However, many traditional recipes call for the dough being shaped in ring and baked in a tube pan.

In comparison to many of Reinhart's recipes, this bread can be made in one day, rather than retarding overnight. However, he does use a sponge to add more flavor to his bread. I began by mixing flour and yeast, which I added warm milk to. I let this ferment for about an hour, until it collapsed when tapped the bowl.

Meanwhile, I shredded some provolone cheese, and diced some salami. I sautéed the salami for a few minutes, and it rendered some fat and became slightly crispy.


Next, I mixed flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of my Kitchen Aid. Next, I added eggs and the sponge to the flour mixture, and mixed until it became a ball. After resting a few minutes, (known as autolyse), I added ¾ cup of room temperature butter in 4 additions. The dough was sticky and soft, and I kneaded it for about 5 minutes until it became slightly tacky and smooth.

I sprinkled the meat over the dough, and tried to knead it in the mixer. However, the salami just whizzed around the bowl, so I decided to knead by hand. After the meat was incorporated, I added the cheese, which mixed in much easier than the meat. I let the mixed dough rest for about an hour and a half, for the first rise.

Since I didn't have coffee tins, and I didn't want to stray from Reinhart's recipe, I chose to bake the casatiello in two loaf pans. I shaped it like I would sandwich bread- I flattened it into a rectangle and rolled it into a tight cylinder. Remembering my mishap while shaping the brioche, I made sure to seal these loaves extra tight. After being shaped, I let the dough rise for the final time for about 90 minutes.

The loaves baked in a 350 degree oven until they were golden brown, and the insides reached about 190 degrees. Unlike the brioche, they were not glazed, but the top was speckled with dark bits of cheese.


When I cut into the loaf, I could see the bits of melted cheese, which made this cool, web-like structure in the bread. Maybe because I'm not a fan of cured meats is the reason that I didn't really find this bread to my liking. Although I liked the rich and soft texture of the bread, I didn't like the bits of salami. I probably should have cubed the meat finer, so it was more evenly distributed. I made this bread with my mentor, Mr. Esteban, in mind. He does not like sweet breads and casatiello is the epitome of the savory kind he would enjoy.

Esposito, Mary Ann. "Neapolitan Stuffed Easter Bread/Neopolitan Casatiello." Ciao Italia. PBS, 2011. Web. 18 Jan 2011. <http://www.ciaoitalia.com/>.

Reinhart, Peter. The Bread Baker's Apprentice. 1st ed. . New York, New York: Ten Speed Press, 2001.129-132. Print.

 

em120392's picture
em120392

Today, I made Peter Reinhart's Rich Man's Brioche from BBA. I've never made such a rich, buttey bread, but it was delicious. I could only eat one slice, but with raspberry jam, it made the best breakfast.

I posted this on the blog my brother and I share ( http://bakingacrosscountry.wordpress.com/ ) We're both trying to complete the Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge, and also, I'm completing a high school project about artisan breads.

Anyway, here's the post!

Nowadays, we know brioche as a rich bread, enriched with enormous amounts of butter and eggs. The name brioche is derived from the Norman verb, "to pound." The Norman region of France was well known for the butter which they produced, and excessive kneading was required to incorporate all the butter into the dough.

Brioche came to Paris in the 1600s as a much heavier and far less rich bread than the one we know today. Supposedly brioche became well known with Marie Antoinette's famous quote, "qu'ils manget de al brioche" during the 1700s, which translates to "let them eat cake." This referred to the peasants who rioted because there was a lack of bread. The different butter contents of bread were baked for different classes-even the food reflected the social-class divides in 18th century France.

In the Bread Baker's Apprentice, Peter Reinhart provides three different recipes which vary in the butter content. Rich Man's Brioche has about 88% butter to flour ratio, Middle-Class Brioche has about 50%, and Poor Man's Brioche has about 20%. Since I had never made brioche, I splurged and made Rich Man's-why not? The recipe makes three loaves- In my head, the idea of three loaves somehow justified the pound (?!) of butter in the bread.

Traditionally, brioche is baked in molds as brioche a tete, which are formed with two balls of dough. Served with jam, brioche makes a perfect breakfast, and topped with meats and cheese, it can be served for lunch or dinner, thus making brioche a truly versatile bread.

I began the brioche with a sponge of flour, yeast, and milk. After the sponge rose and collapsed, I added five eggs. Next, incorporated the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and sugar), and mixed until the flour was hydrated.

After a few minutes, I mixed in a stick of butter at a time, making sure they were fully incorporated before the next addition. The dough looked smooth, and almost icing-like, because of the butter. I had never worked with such a fluffy, light bread dough, so I felt kind of intimidated in new waters.

After all the butter was added, I mixed for a few more minutes until the dough was soft, and tacky, but not sticky. I spread the dough onto a cookie sheet and put it in the refrigerator to firm up and retard overnight.

Since I don't have brioche molds, I used three loaf pans. I cut the dough into three even pieces, and with a rolling pin, I formed a rectangle. Like sandwich bread, I rolled the dough up, and placed them seam-down in the pan, and let it rise for about two hours. After it had risen for the second time, I brushed it an egg wash, to form a shiny crust.

In a 350 degree oven, I baked the bread until it was golden brown, and the internal temperature reached 190 degrees. However, when I tried to take the bread out of the pan, it kind of stuck to my not-nonstick pans, which I didn't grease. With some slight prying, I got the bread out, but slightly crushed and deflated a loaf. Also, when forming the loaves, I didn't seal the seam well, and when baked, it split on the sides.

Once cooled, I cut the bread, which flaked like a croissant, and tasted so rich and delicious. Since there is so much butter, one slice is more than enough, but every bite was so delicate and smooth. I'm glad I splurged for Rich Man's brioche, but I'm not sure how often I'll make it because of it's richness. With raspberry jam, it honestly made the best breakfast.

 

mrosen814's picture

Neo-Neapolitan Pizza from Reinhart's "American Pie"

January 14, 2011 - 10:46am -- mrosen814

I tried out Peter Reinhart's Neo-Neapolitan pizza recipe from his book, "American Pie."

This made a very delicious crust with a nice chew.

Toppings:

* Organic diced tomatoes (canned) 

* Fresh oregano from the garden

* Chili flakes

* Pancetta

* Fresh mozzarella 

* Olive oil 

* Salt

* Pepper 

Here are a couple pics!

Pizza - Before the oven

em120392's picture
em120392

Hey guys! I'm taking a high school internship course called W.I.S.E. which allows a student to study about and to work in their desired trade. For my W.I.S.E. project, I chose Artisan Bread Baking as my topic.

I have been baking bread since I was thirteen, and I wanted to take this course to further my knowlege and gain work experience in a bakery. Next year for college, I plan to attend Johnson and Wales University, which specializes in the Culinary Arts. I thought that this project will prepare me for my future career, for I am going to be working in an Artisan Bread Bakery.  Also, I found that during this project, I can challenge myself to comlete the BBA Challenge. Starting in January, and ending in May, I hope to bake my way through The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

My brother, Evan, who's 24, and I decided that we would begin a blog to chronical both of our experiences through BBA. Evan lives in California, and I live in New Jersey, and we thought it would be interesting to note the different challenges and sucesses of the recipes.

Anyway, I hope that our blog will interest some fellow bakers, or fellow BBA challenge participants! We'd love to have your commentary, suggestions, or recommendations for new recipes to try!

http://bakingacrosscountry.wordpress.com/

Thank you for taking the time to read!

-Emily (18)

 

ps. Here is my post for French Bread.

(It might make more sense if you read my W.I.S.E. Project Proposal, as well as previous entries.)

 

This is my blog entry for Reinhart's French Bread:

I skipped ahead on the BBA challenge. I wanted to go through the book in order, but I didn't have time to bake bagels this weekend. They take two days to make, and I wasn't home enough to bake them. This is a difficulty in bread baking at home-although bread is easy to make, one must tend to the dough according to the starter, risings, and baking, which can be time consuming and inconvenient.

My mentor, Mr. Esteban, enjoys savory breads rather than enriched, sweet breads. I could have moved on to brioche, but I thought he would have appreciated a crusty, slightly sour French loaf more, and I have been itching to try French bread. Also, I felt like I was teasing him about my bread baking- telling him about it, but not making anything for him. I hope he enjoys the baguettes!

Reinhart begins with a pate fermente, an overnight starter which lends the final dough more flavor. It is simple- it combines flour, water, salt, and yeast into a rather stiff dough. I let the dough rise for about an hour, and then refrigerated overnight.

The next morning, I let the pate fermete warm up, and cut it into smaller pieces so I could incorporate it into the final dough. Like the pate fermente, the bread contained the same proportions of ingredients. After mixing with flour, salt, yeast, water and pate fermente into a ball, I kneaded it for about 6 minutes, or until I could easily use the windowpane test. Out of pure laziness, I kneaded the dough in the machine, rather than by hand. I feel more connected to the dough when I knead by hand, but, I was tired and didn't want to dirty the counters.

After the dough is kneaded, it rests for about two hours, to rise for the first time. Then I shaped the baguettes like I thought I should. I spread the dough out, and folded it into thirds like letters. I proceeded to elongate them into their proper shape. However, after making them I went on Youtube (great idea, huh?) and watched the proper way. After folding in thirds, you're supposed to create tension on the outside of the bread by rolling it up in two separate "folding/rollings." Afterwards, you gently seal the bread with the heel of your palm and then proceed elongating. Next time, I guess.

I let the dough rise for the last time for two hours. I do not have a lame yet, so I cut the slits with a pairing knife. On two of the loaves, I cut rather perpendicular, leaving the slashes not very attractive. However, on the third, the slashes were much more pronounced because I used a 45 degree angle.

After I took them out of the oven, I could hear the crusts crackling. I was so excited-they looked promising. After they had cooled, I sliced a piece. The crumb was rather dense, not holey and airy like I imagine a true baguette. I was rather disappointed, but the flavor made up for it-it had true bread flavor.

So, I don't know- maybe I'll make these again. I really like the use of the pate fermente and it was very cool to shape baguettes. However, the crumb was really disappointing, and for taking two days and substantial hands on time, I felt cheapened.

 

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