Sunday, November 7, 2010

French Bread

I did not get the big holes that were talked about in the recipe. I am not quite sure what I am doing wrong. It tasted great the texture was simply not right. Oh well. I will just have to try again.


3 C Pate Fermentee (recipe below)
1 1/4 C Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 C Unbleached Bread Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Yeast
3/4 + 2 T Warm Water

1. Remove the pate fermentee from the fridge 1 hour before making the dough. Cut it into 10 small pieces and cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest and warm for about 1 hour.

2. Stir together th dry ingredients and the pate fermentee. Add the water and stir until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball. Adjust the flour or water so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff, it is better to be a little sticky. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough tot he counter and begin to knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is soft, pliable, tacky and all ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in, spray lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temp for 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size. If the dough doubles in size before 2 hours, knead it lightly to degas and let it rise again, covered until it doubles from the original size. Gently remove from the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured counter. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Be gentle with the dough. Form the pieces into baguettes by gently pulling to the desired length and folding in half and sealing the edges against the counter to create surface tension. Place gently on parchment  and allow to rise uncovered for about 45-75 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, place a baking stone on the bottom third of the oven and place an empty cookie sheet on the top rack of the oven. Score the baguettes. Gently transfer the loaves to the hot baking stone. Pour  1 cup of hot water into the cookie sheet and close the door. After 30 seconds mist the sides of the oven. Repeat twice more at 30 second intervals. After the final spray, lower the oven to 450 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the loaves and bake for an additional 10-20 minutes  or until the loaves are golden brown and register at least 205 degrees in the center of the loaves. Cool for about 40 minutes before slicing or serving.

Pate Fermentee

1 1/8 C Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/8 C Unbleached Bread Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Yeast3/4 C + 2 T water, room temp

Stir together the dry ingredients. Add the water until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead for 4-6 minutes or until the dough is soft and pliable and a little tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly return it to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the fridge and refrigerate overnight.

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