Baguette is one of my favorite breads. For long sandwiches, with a full meal or just eat fresh with butter. One of the things I like about the Baguettes that I buy from the market is the very crisp crust and a very soft interior. It cannot be eaten without making a mess. But in this case, I really don’t care.
So, in the past, I made long roles using the same dough I used for bread: 3 cups of flour, 1.5 cups of liquid (2/3 parts milk), 1.5-2 teaspoons of yeasts, 1 teaspoon of salt 1 teaspoon of sugar, mix, kneed, rise, shape and bake. It was very good as roles, but the crust was different – softer. This is not a Baguette... but it took it as a a base for my experiments (a mistake, but i learned a lot back then)
I converted all the milk from the recipe to water and tried again. The crust was harder but I could not get the desired crunch.
Next I added steam in the first 10 minutes. Got a good progress with the crunch but something was missing.
Added more water - got a very soft interior with bigger holes. Still not what I looked for.
So, I did some reading and came up to French dough recipe. Of course, how it eluded me… French bread is done with French dough, duh.
There I came across the preferment for the first time. The recipe I found included total of 3 1/4 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups of water (now it looks too dry) and of course, no sugar.
It goes like this:
Preferment (15 hours in advance)
- 1 cups flour
- 2/3 cups of water
- 1/3 teaspoon yeast
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoon yeast
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1 ¾ teaspoon of salt
After mixing the preferment with the rest of the ingredients and receiving a unified mass, i let it rest for 20 minutes, then kneaded it for about 10 minutes more. I let it rise for another 90 minutes, shaped it and let it rise for another 70 minutes before baking
I placed a pot of boiling water in the oven and let it continue to boil there before I entered the Baguettes inside and removed it 10 minutes after.
I admit, I didn’t fold the dough, it was not sticky so I skipped it. The dough itself was more slick then I was used to and stickier even though the amount of water was lower.
Here are the results:
It was excellent, and all 3 got eaten the very day with help of my wife's sister and her boyfriend which is good sign for a baker/cook that he is doing something right.
After reading the tips for better French bread, I think I will try another batch (or 10) of these. I love the tenth tip - Practice!, and what comes after :)
Until the next post