Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Reinhart's French Bread

AHHH!! My first baguettes!!! Alright, they're not stunning but I won't let that fact ruin this very triumphant and proud moment. AHHH! Ok, I'm calm now. As I mentioned before, I'm picking and choosing (and eating) my way through The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Over the weekend, I decided that I wanted to try baguettes finally and I had my mother pick which ones I'd make. Happily, she chose his French Bread. And so, that would be the bread that was destined to accompany my mom's orange soup on Sunday night. (Don't be alarmed- it involved all orange vegetables and was delish!) I made the preferment, the pate fermentee Saturday night. I took it out the next day to assemble. The dough came together very smoothly. The dough part of this was no challenge. I cut three baguettes and shaped them, quite well for my first time, I thought. I was trying to be so tender and gentle while shaping so that they wouldn't disappoint me on the hole front. They rose and I fearfully scored them while I set the oven up for steaming. Do you think they felt my fear? The baguettes looked as if they might have risen slightly too much, but they didn't deflate at all so I deemed myself still in the game. May I just put it out there that trying to close the door fast enough so as not to release all the carefully created steam is such a challenge! I really gotta work on that one. They baked nicely but for some reason never got that beautiful golden color, instead staying a matte, dull brown. The slashes didn't open wide enough and I think I made them too far apart, so I lost points there, but all I could think about was the color. Maybe it's because my oven doesn't get hot enough??? Anyway, I guess the most important part of this is how they turned out. And let me say, they were a home run! The crust was so crisp that it shattered crumbs everywhere as it was being cut to reveal a creamy interior. The crumb was too evenly holey, albeit with some random large holes, for my liking but I can work on that. But mmmm did it taste good. Just like store bought. I was seriously impressed with myself and simultaneously in awe of how a few simple ingredients can transform themselves into such a complex loaf. A miracle.

The pate fermentee ingredients.

All mixed together..
..completely kneaded and shaped into a round.

In its rising bowl...
and magically risen!
Degassed for its overnight stay in the refrigerator..

... risen again!

The preferment chopped into a bunch of little pieces.

Chilling on top of the rest of the ingredients.
The dough coming together..
...and fully kneaded, ready for a rising.

Risen again.
The dough portioned into thirds.

Shaped and (poorly) scored.

Baked. My ugly duckling baguettes. But so good!

1 comment:

Jude said...

That was one of the most intimidating breads in the book when I first got it. It just seemed so ambitious because of the fancy shaping and scoring and all. Congrats on making baguettes!