The Fresh Loaf

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rustic baguettes

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In 1904, Sir William Osler, one of the greatest physicians of his time, was asked to address the graduating class of The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine on the topic, “What is the most important personal attribute for a physician to cultivate in himself?” Sir William's address was entitled “Aequanimitas,” which roughly translates into modern American English as “Chill, dude!” I have always tried to follow Sir William's wise advice.


This afternoon, I made a batch of baguettes, according to Anis Bouabsa's formula. I thought they were the most perfectly shaped and scored baguettes I've every made. As I was loading the three baguettes into my pre-heated and humidified oven, one fell off the back of the baking stone. As I tried to grab it, the other two baguettes fell off the peel onto the oven door. What a mess!


Uttering a few words which my wife has asked I not speak in the presence of our grandchildren, I scooped up the twisted heaps of formerly gorgeous baguette dough. Should I scrap the bake as a lost cause or attempt a salvage operation? What could I lose by trying?


Aequanimitas, aequanimitas, aequanimitas ... 


I was able to separate the three pitiful pieces from each other. I reshaped them quickly – one folded as one might fold a ciabatta, one coiled and one formed into a figure 8 knotted “roll.” I immediately loaded them onto the stone and baked for 10 minutes with steam at 460F and 8 more minutes dry.



Anis Bouabsa Not Baguettes



Anis Bouabsa Not Baguettes - Crumb


Delicious! 


I hope you all have a great week and that all your "disasters" are really "opportunities," when you look back at them.


David


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dmsnyder

Rustic Baguettes made with Nury Light Rye dough


Rustic Baguettes made with Nury Light Rye dough


Rustic Baguettes Crumb made with Nury Light Rye dough


Rustic Baguettes Crumb made with Nury Light Rye dough 

 

As promised, I made some baguettes using Nury's Light Rye dough from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads." I followed Leader's recipe except for using a couple tablespoons less water, thinking it might work better for baguettes. In hindsight, I don't think this improved the product.

For those not familiar with the recipe, it is documented in Zolablue's original posting of her baking of this bread.

 http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5500/pierre-nury’s-rustic-light-rye-leader

This was an excellent thread. It led me to make this bread myself for the first time, and it remains one of my very favorites.

Leader's recipe calls for patting out the mass of fermented dough into a 10 x 10 inch rectangle, cutting it in half with a bench knife and gently transferring the cut pieces to floured parchment, then immediately baking it on a stone with steam. For these "baguettes," I simply sliced off 3 portions, about 2.5 cm wide each, and stretched them gently to 12 inches as I laid them on the parchment. I baked with steam at 500F for 10 minutes, then removed the skillet and loaf pan with the water and turned down the oven to 440F. The bake time was 17-20 minutes, total.

The baguettes are beautiful, in a very rustic way. The crust was very nicely crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The taste was wonderful, as it always is with this recipe. The main difference between these baguettes and the "proper" Nury Light Rye is that the baguettes have proportionally much more crust, and the crust stays crisp rather than softening.

 My efforts to make traditional baguettes will continue, but this version is one I'll be making again. 

 

David 

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