IV - Pasta Flour Baguette Part II - Unexpected New Role
In my previous entry, I blogged about the latest attempt in my years-long desperate journey of trying to make baguettes, as closest as possible to the real thing, only using a mixture of various flours easily available in UK (without having to buy real Type 55/65 in bulk to save P & P and risk of all the bags get infested by flour bugs, again).
The result was not too satisfactory; the crumb was nice and light but too soft-ish and fluffy to my liking and not enough random large holes, though it had a lovely crisp crust and quite agreeable flavour. We had one of them (less of a looker) for dinner on that day and I froze the other one. This frozen one had much better grigne and more volume, so I was hoping the inside would be better than her ugly sister.
Today, I defrosted and sliced it horizontally to make sandwiches for lunch. The inside had slightly more open texture and a bit more large holes than the other one......
(…nor the holes evenly spread through the crumb. Blame my handling not the flour…)
……but not that much more as to send me to the baguetty-heaven. No. However, the crust remained very crisp even after it’s defrosted (@ room temperature for 1 1/2 hrs), much crispier than my regular baguettes would be when defrosted. This was a happy surprise…..No.1.
Today’s filling was Parma ham and watercress with generous dollops of French mayonnaise by Maille, with a hint of Dijon mustard, naturally. Then came the second happy surprise. I'd really want my baguettes to have lots of large, random holes all over, but the problem with this kind of ‘superior’ baguette is it’s not really a good disign as a recipient of spread when you make a sandwich with it. Butter, mayonnaise, mustard or whatever you spread on it tends to disappear into those huge abyss and, as the result, you end up eating too much spread which often overwhelms the filling. But, because this one didn’t have so many large holes at all, spreading the mayonnaise was a piece of ca…….bread.
But those two happy surprises was nothing to compared to what I discovered next. The softish airy crumb and its subtle sweetness, which I’m usually not keen on to find in baguettes, was actually very good vehicle for sandwiches, complimenting the fillings very well, without that unmistakable self-assertiveness a very good baguette tends to have (“Eat me! I’m here! I am GOOD!!”). ……I think I might find a new raison d'etre for this flour in my kitchen. Not quite Cinderella, but still it’s a nice discovery that even a humble pumpkin can be a reliable carriage.
So…..my long journey in search for a formula of perfect home-made baguettes will still continue….