Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All White Baguettes

I'm so proud of these baguettes.  I've discovered lately that while I previously thought that baking bread on a baking stone was just not worth the extra effort, it does tremendously improve the oven spring!  This is definitely the way to go for getting the nice round (tall!) baguette shape.  I also proofed these in my couche, instead of straight on the parchment paper as I had previously been doing.

The recipe came to me from a post on TFL where another poster had challenged us to try this recipe.  Making baguettes with good flavour in 1 day with no preferment is tough! These were made with plain flour, water, salt, and a touch of yeast, and no mixer.  I only used folds in the bowl for this one and it couldn't have been easier.  I've also found (lately) that even though so many people say to not flour the bench when final shaping, it's easier for me if I do because it ensures that the loaf will release from the couche (even after it's been well floured).  Regardless, I was really happy with these baguettes, especially as they were singing so loudly to me!

5 Hour Baguettes, 70%H dough

500g all-purpose flour
335g warm water
5g active dry yeast, or 4g instant
100g sourdough starter, 100%H
10g salt

Oven - 450F, 3 baguettes

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water and let proof for 10 mins until foamy and domed.  You can skip this if using instant yeast.  Dissolve the starter in the water, and then add the flour and salt.  Stir well until all the flour is hydrated.  Let rest, covered, for 20 mins.

Stretch and fold in the bowl for 30 strokes.  Repeat 2 more times at 20 min intervals.  Transfer to a lightly oiled, covered bowl and let rise for 45 minutes (1.5 times original size) before doing another stretch and fold.  Ferment for another 45 minutes before dividing into 3 equal pieces and preshaping into rounds.  Cover and let rest for 10 mins, then final shape into baguettes about 15" long.  Proof on canvas couche until 1.5 times original size.

Bake on preheated baking stone at 450F with steam for about 23 minutes.  Turn off oven, but leave loaves on baking stone for another 5 minutes.  Cool before eating.

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