The next bread on the BBA lineup was French bread. We buy baguettes every now and then because the kids like it so much, so I was curious whether my homemade baguette could stand up to the – admittedly good – bakery version.
This was the first time that I had to make a pâte fermentée. This is, simply put, plain French bread dough that has to stay in the refrigerator overnight. Ok, I mixed together the pâte fermentée, put it in the refrigerator, took it out the next day 1 hour beore making the dough, cut it into 5 small pieces (I wanted to make only 1 big baguette, so I used half the recipe) and let sit covered for about an hour to take off the chill.
Then I stirred together flour, salt, yeast and the pâte fermentée, added water and kneaded it with my kitchen machine. I transferred the dough to an oiled bowl, covered it and fermented it for about 2 hours. After fermentation, I formed the dough into a baguette which means making a bâtard first, then pulling it out from the ends, creasing the dough down the middle and folding it like a letter. Then I had to roll out the dough to the desired length and prepare it for proofing. As I don’t have a couche and don’t intend to buy one, I built a couche-like construction using baking paper and kitchen towels. Et voilà, here’s my baguette ready for proofing (hmm, it might be the proofed version already):
Anyway, after about 60 minutes I prepared the oven for hearth baking – I had much more routine now compared to my ciabatta baking day. I wasn’t even afraid to break the glass or something. Before baking I wanted to score the baguette which didn’t really work. I used a razor blade, and couldn’t handle it at all. This is the result:
I guess, I have to work on that a little more. Maybe the lame I just ordered will help me to do better scoring next time. Anyway, I put the bread in the oven, went thru all the hearth baking procedure, baked the bread and received a yummy bread that DID taste like baguette. At least like our local bakery’s baguette. I don’t want to guarantee, though, that it does taste like real French baguette from Paris – I’ve never had one, so I can’t compare.