Chez les boulanger(e)s

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So Sydney had this great idea to bake some baguettes. Now, I love baguettes, but my only experience beyond pouring some eggs into a Duncan Hines mix and tossing it into the oven was making some 'made from scratch' cookies last summer...and you should ask my mother if she's managed to clean the flour out of the grout on the kitchen counters yet. In any case, I said, 'what the hey, sounds like a good experiment,' and here we are. It's 4:11PM on a Friday afternoon, and the dough is rising.

Question number one: When they ask you to fold the dough every twenty minutes, what does that mean, exactly? I've done a bit of origami, but I have a feeling those skills don't quite add up here...

Fact number one: Baking is fun when it is combined with any or all of the following: Pierre Hermé macarons (huile d'olive et vanille, fraises et wasabi, caramel et beurre and the new taste sensation, abricot peche et saffron - I'm thinking of you, Steph!), a bottle of rose (this one's a Bordeaux Rose, 'Blaissac' 2009), and a couple of episodes of Blackadder...

Baguette de Tradition
Recipe courtesy of Le Pétrin, translation (and quips) by Sydney.

4 cups (500g) of flour
1 1/2 cups (350g) of water
1 tbsp (12 g) of salt
1/2 tbsp (7g) of yeast

1. Mix the yeast in the water (make sure it fizzes). Mix well-sifted and flour and salt in a big mixing bowl, add the yeast and water mixture and mix carefully to blend well with the flour. You'll get a sticky dough. (It's what's supposed to happen, don't add flour!)

2. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 1 hour and 20 minutes with one fold every 20 minutes. This gives you:
  • First check: 20 minutes, followed by a fold (we flipped the dough over and got sticky hands - make sure you flour your hands!!)
  • Second check: 20 minutes, 2nd fold
  • Third check: 20 minutes, 3rd fold
  • Fourth check: 20 minutes, 4th fold
3. Then cover and let rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. We split the difference and let it rise 1:15.

4. Gently pour the dough onto a well-floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough then fold it in half, then in half again. (Hot dog, then hamburger.) Cover with a towel and let the dough rest 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, repeat hot dog-hamburger fold. Repeat once more. That's a total of 40 minutes more of rising and 3 folds.

5. After the last fold, weigh the dough and split it into three equal pieces (approx 285g each) and gently form balls (Balls!). Cover the dough and let it rest 20 minutes.

6. Gently roll the balls (Balls!) into baguettes. It's full of bubbles! Don't press too hard! (That's what she said...) Cover and let rest 20 minutes. Go do some chores.

7. While the bread is resting heat the oven to 445F (230C). Put some water onto the baking tray.

8. Powder the baguettes with flour, slice the baguettes diagonally (not all the way through) and put them in the oven. Lower the heat to 430F (220C) and cook 15-20 minutes.

9. Eat with cheese.


Steph said...

are those your baguettes in the pic?? im tres impressed.
Thanks for the recette les filles... im trying it this week fo sheezy

Steph said...

ps.... shame on you for teasing me with those macaron.... shame!

Amrita said...

Bien sur those are our baguettes! And how could I resist teasing you? :)

Good thing we've got this blog going, or I'd be going a bit insane with Mimi barking up my rear, trying to make these last two weeks as miserable as possible.

Steph said...

tell mimi to shove a baguette... but not to waste the cheese on her.

O god, she doesnt read this does she??

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