The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gerard Rubaud Revisited

  • Pin It
rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Gerard Rubaud Revisited

Like many here, I imagine, I like to try lots of different breads in amongst my rolling repertoire of regulars. I've been doing more new ones than regulars lately, but had a sudden urge to revisit one of my old favourites: Gérard Rubaud's bread, which Shiao-Ping brought to the attention of TFLers some time ago in a spectacular bake that was essentially her homage to GR: see here. Shiao-Ping referenced Farine's blog on Gerard Rubaud as the source of her inspiration. I acknowledge and thank Farine and Shiao-Ping for alerting me to this wonderful baker and his bread.


For those of you who have not tried making Gérard's bread, I'd strongly recommend you give it a go. It's not an easy one due to the 80% hydration of the dough. Whenever I make it, I wonder whether I'll find it easier than the last time. I use it as something of a gauge as to whether I've improved!


I'm still a bit hit and miss with the shaping. The dough can get very sticky and hard to handle. These days, I use GR's batard shaping method, which I prefer to Hamelman's or Reinhart's, but you need to be liberal in sprinkling flour over your working surface to avoid the unholy mess that can result if the dough sticks (to surface or hands, or both!). I also sprinkle some over the dough itself to make it a bit easier to manage.


Scoring can be a challenge with a wet dough like this one. I managed it quite well this time, but in my haste to finish the slashing and get the thing into the oven before it slumped flat on the peel, I scored it unevenly (see pic). Still, the rise ended up not too bad, especially considering that some ciabattas are less highly hydrated than this baby!


I basically stuck to Shiao-Ping's recipe directions, but halved her quantities, making a large single batard instead of a boule. I also altered the baking times as follows:



  • Oven on max (250C), load dough, drop to 225C. Bake with steam 15 minutes (I still use ice in a tray in the bottom of the oven and manual misting at the beginning of the bake...better results would surely result from using better steaming methods, such as those recently written up by David Snyder and Sylvia...must try them).

  • Rotate loaf, then bake @ 215C for another 15 mins.

  • Lower temp to 200C, bake 7 minutes, then out.

  • Cool for 2 hours before attacking.


The favours of this bread really are special IMO. I'd forgotten how damned good this is. Also, there's an intriguing quality about this crumb that I can only describe as a sensation of coldness when you bite into it. I've experienced that before with other breads, but not often. Tantalising stuff.


Anyway, enough of my blah. Here are a couple of pics:



 



 


Best of baking folks!
Ross


 

Comments

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Great, Ross! Especially for AP flour, High Hydration Sloppy dough! The crust, crumb shaping, all look great to me.


Nice work!


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

But thank you!


Cheers
Ross

Mebake's picture
Mebake

BTW, i always preshape, rest 5 min and then shape high hydraion doughs. This will tighten up batards and will limit their spread on the peel.

nova's picture
nova

Ross, and Mebake,


I spent 3 days with Gerard last March, learning his techniques.  When it is time to shape for the proofing stage, he does a preshape boule and lets it rest for about 30 min (at 80 F) covered.  Then he stretches the boule (top down) gently into an oval and rests for 10 min.  While he will stretch and rest the oval one more time, I go ahead and then shape the batard.  The trick is really conserve all the gas possible....Ross, I think your scoring and shaping look great considering you haven't made the bread for a while.  And with such a wet dough, yes, Gerard's table is covered in flour!  The dough's hydration allows absorption of the shaping flour without any impact on the final crumb.


Gerard is quite firm in his touch when he scores, diagonally, and his loaves all rise beautifully in the WFO he uses.  Great Job on your part, and yes, the taste is quite notable.


nova


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

In this case, though, it's an extra opportunity to get stuck in the dough and mess it up! But that can't be helped...life is full of risks and challenges!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

The lovely breads you highlight here are a good example of a skilled baker. The interview and posting by MC of this colorful baker has helped me understand the natural leavan much better. I'm about to post about my Tartine breads which are a very similar product after an excruciating process. Well done Ross.


Eric

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

That's very affirming stuff for me, coming from you. And I agree completely about the MC interviews. Fantastic.


Cheers
Ross

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Rubaud's bread is well-worth reminding us about and well-worth bringing to the attention of recently joined members.


Hmmm ... I'm about due for a GR encore myself.


David

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

You know how much I admire your baking, so to receive a positive assessment from you is warming indeed.


Realistically, I think I'm always going to be in the rustic camp, but as long as the aesthetics are not too lacking, I'm happy with flavour over finesse. With access to the expertise of people like Rubaud, you're half way home right from the start.


Re your GR encore? Bravo, I say!


Cheers
Ross