Bassinage, Gaude & flour characteristics
Dear All you experts
Here’s a couple or so queries thrown up by Father Christmas to a rather casual home baker in the UK (likes sourdough/long rises, bakes in an elderly and moderately controllable Aga). FC brought me Le Dictionnaire Universel du Pain (ed. P de Tonnac, Paris 2010) – 1217 pages of fascination; and not least the annexes with recipes from a number of ‘starry’ bakers.
Question 1: Several of the recipes allow for 50 or 60g of eau de bassinage in addition to the normal measurement of water (650g usually). Is this additional water part of the recipe or is it simply water that is held back in order to make an adjustment in case the dough is too firm (see Dictionnaire under bassinage, eau de). The only reference I have found in my English books is in Beyond nose to tail p. 92 where Henderson & Gellatly refer to ‘the bathe’, and allow for a higher proportion – 60g to 340g; the bathe appears to be added in stages after a sort of autolyse. Is there a standard practice in French boulangerie of adding this water as part of the mixing/kneading process, and if so, at which stage?
Question 2: In Eric Kayser’s recipe (Dict, p. 1108) he calls for 20g of ‘gaude’. What is this? There is a farine de gaude apparently – which appears to be toasted (torrefie) maize coming from the Jura/pays de Bresse. If this is it, could one substitute toasted polenta meal?
Question 3: at the risk of opening the classification of flour issue, on p.1100 Ganachaud says one should ask one's miller (ho hum) for flour with a W value of between 230 and 240 and above all a P/L as close to 50 as possible. I am reasonably familiar with the T issue, but can some kind expert explain these latter terms (or point me in the right direction)?