BBA Challenge #14: French Bread

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.

3 responses to “BBA Challenge #14: French Bread

  1. It looks wonderful! That scoring can be a challenge can’t it. I finally ordered a lame too. Good job!

  2. The lame is fun! I used a serrated knife until then.

    OK, we should meet up in Paris then. Only fair for food bloggers. French bread…yum. I really have to re-do this one (you may have seen my disaster of a baguette) but I recently made the pain au levain which I think is similar and it was so delicious!

  3. Pingback: BBA Challenge #15: Italian Bread « Family & Food

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