I had intended to try baguettes again a few weekends ago, but some cookbook photos of a pain d’épi changed my mind. So much crust on these!
I made a basic baguette following this formula:
- 500 g levain
- 750 g AP flour
- 10 g salt
- 0.5 teaspoon instant yeast
- 430 g water
The dough got a 30 minute autolyse, about 30 stretch-and-folds, a bit of a rest, and a few more S+F and repeat. To experiment a bit with flavour and fermentation time, I put 2/3 of the dough in the fridge overnight, and made one épi after a few hours.
This first one was 560 g of dough, and I discovered was too thick to cut and shape into a nice looking épi. The ears started out alright, but the top of the stalk looks a bit more like a zig-zag than wheat. Despite its less-than-perfect looks, we were still able to stomach it…
After about 14 hours in the fridge, and 1.5 hours coming to room temperature, I weighed and divided the remaining dough. Instead of 2 loaves as planned, I divided it into 3. These were 375 g or so each, and I shaped them thinly enough to cut and shape nicely this time. They baked at 480 F for about 20 minutes.
The flavour was great after the overnight fermentation, and I found they looked nicest with a good sprinkling of flour before being sliced up! They also got a decorative double point, which I saw here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN5QL_kaowQ
It was so much fun to make (and eat) these, and they were just great for sharing at a dinner party!