Thursday, November 11, 2010

French Baguette 法式麵包

I was looking for something in the pantry the other day and found an unopened bottle of extra virgin olive oil that I bought last year from an olive farm in Phoenix. Its shelf life only lasts for a year, so my daughter suggested to make baguettes to dip it in.

In a commercial setting, a baguette is baked in a steam oven that produces its crunchy crust.

But for a home baker, I have to manually spray water to produce a similar effect.

Pate fermentee is like a sponge that you make and later mix with the main dough. It enhances the flavor.

Makes one loaf

Pate Fermentee:

45g unbleached all-purpose flour                                      
45g bread flour                                   
¼ tsp salt             
1/8 tsp instant yeast/active                             
56g water                                                       

Mix everything and knead until smooth and soft. Let it rise for about an hour until it has increased 1 ½ times in size. Slightly de-gas and put it in the refridgerator overnight.

Main dough ingredients : same as the pate fermentee

1)   Remove pate fermentee from the fridge and let it sit until it is room temperature, or for at least an hour. Cut it into small pieces.
2)   Mix the main dough ingredients. Add the pate fermentee and knead for about 6 minutes.
3)   Let it rise at room temperature for 2 hours or until it doubles.
4)   Shape the baguette and proof for 45-75 minutes. Score before putting to oven.
5)   Bake on a pizza stone at 500 F with a pan of hot water at the bottom of the oven.
6)   Repeat 3 times: spray water to walls and back of oven and close door immediately and repeat after 30 seconds.
7)   Lower to 450 F and bake for 10 minutes. Then rotate it and bake for 10-20 minutes more.

Note: If a pizza stone is not available, you can put the pan directly on the lowest shelf or the bottom of the oven.

Recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

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