XXXII - Baguette Traditional a la Samuel Fromartz....-ish
Been a long time since I blogged properly about the bread I baked. I was baking at least a couple of times a week during those absent days, as I’d always done, but haven’t got around to blogging about it, for one reason or another. But today, I finally decided to gently and timidly ease myself back into my old bread-blogging routine, starting it with my recent (like, yesterday…:p) baguette.
It’s one of the most popular baguette recipes among TFL members, and I have tried it a couple of times before, but for some reason it never became my ‘regular,’ maybe because I usually prefer using only dried yeast for baguette because it produces lighter texture and also because I’d become so comfortable with ‘Hamelinet poolish baguette’ formula, I didn’t feel strong enough ‘urge’ to try out other baguette recipe. Lazy and uninspired, I know….
But last Friday, I was preparing to make Daniel Leader’s Light Rye for the first time; scaling down the original recipe to suit our consumption and started feeding the sourdough…..and realized the recipe produced excess sourdough, about 50g more than the main dough production would need, in the scaled down amount. Thought of adding it to the main dough anyway at first, then a light bulb came up and remembered Fromartz’s baguette used small amount of sourdough! :D Checked the recipe, re-calculated the amount of sourdough needed (his sourdough is 100% hydration and mine is 70 – 75%) for the scaled down ingredients. (my usual batch for baguettes is 300 – 350g total flour)…… Ha! I’d need exactly 50% sourdough! So that’s what I made. :)
I more or less followed the original recipe, but, as you may well know, my ‘more or less’ can often be ‘hardly.’ :p Following is the basic outline of the recipes with a list of changes I made.
My plagiarism adaptation
Ingredients (for 3 mini baguettes, about 35 – 37cm length. So technically, it’s NOT baguette, but anyway….)
295 g Strong white flour – I used 150g Waitrose Leckford Estate Strong Flour + 145g Heritage Wholesome White Flour*
5g wholemeal strong flour
50g sourdough (mine is about 75% hydration)
0.8g (scant 1/4 tsp) dried yeast – much small amount than the original recipe, so that I can incorporate long, cold retard overnight. (Don’t kick me, Ars!!! :p) ---- ETA: Strike that. Clearly forgotten Fromarts does long retard in the fridge, too, but with larger amount of yeast. But I did get sufficient fermentation with this amount after 16-17 hrs. (See below)
*Note - This is the flour I bought from Syd’s stall (Aston’s Organic Bakery ) at Real Bread Festival  a few months ago. It’s a blend of flour milled from traditional English heritage wheat varieties. Have no idea what varieties are used (not stated on the bag except for saying it consists of 150 varieties), but as the name suggests, it contains a little amount of bran and wheat germ. Maybe it’s a sort of equivalent of French T65 flour. (my wild guess….) Its protein level is scary low at 10.1% but it seems to have good quality gluten and makes lovely dough with silky touch but with nice strength.
Changes I made
1) Fromartz’s method ‘autolyse’ for 5 – 10 minutes after mixing all the ingredients ⇒ I extended it to 30 minutes. (it was a very cold day. The temperature in the kitchen was about 17-18C)
2) Instead of French-folding for 5 minutes before proceeding to 3 x letter-folding, as in the original recipe, I S & F 3 times in a bowl every 30 minutes. (I’d probably do it every 20 min if it’s warmer)
3) After 3 x S & F, letter-fold for 1 – 2 times to strengthen the dough, if necessary.
4) Leave at room temperature for 1 hr or so until the dough increases in the volume by 25% or so.
5) Put it in the fridge and retard for 16 – 18 hrs.
6) After 16, 17 hrs in the fridge, the dough looked fully fermented with a few large air bubbles on the top, so I divided it into 3, very roughly shaped and left for 20 – 30 min to return it to room temperature. (I would’ve done the other way round = returning to room temperature, then divide), if it hadn’t been so fully fermented during the cold retard)
7) Pre-shape into rectangular, as the original recipe (but smaller, obviously) and rest for 15 min.
8) Shape into baguette and proof for 1 hr or so.
9) Bake on very hot baking stone with steam for 10 min at 240C, then without steam for another 10 min with fan.
...and the obligatory crumb shots. Sorry for weird colour. Night light….
The rest of the crumb shots to black & white...
Verdict: I think this turned out to be better than my earlier trials with this recipe (with similar changes) some time ago. Can I praise myself for having improved in the art of bread-making or should I just thank to the heritage flour and the dedicated farmers behind it? :p I liked the taste, probably slightly more robust than my usual poolish baguette, and the texture was definitely chewy-er, too. It’s a good baguette, for sure. Do I like it better than poolish baguette? Not sure, difficult to say. Probably both have their own place, depending upon your mood and what you eat with it. Last night we had pot-au-feu to warm ourselves up in the freezing temperature with heavy snow in England, so slightly gutsier baguette like this was, I have to say, ideal companion to the meal. :)