Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baguettes, part trois

Ok, so I got home and the dough was HUGE, 3.5 times original size I'd guess. As soon as I touched it, it totally collapsed down. The good news is it looked very moist. So I shaped it into two demi baguettes, and left it to proof over the top of the preheating oven.

First snafu: I forgot to cover it, so it started to dry out on the outside.

After about 20-30 minutes it had risen slightly and so I put it on the pizza stone using the parchment to transfer it. I started going through the cycles of adding boiling water and spritzing the sides that TBBA recommends to get a moist oven.

Second snafu: midway through the spritzing business, I noticed I'd forgotten to slit the bread. Oops! I grabbed a knife and quickly tried with small success on one loaf and none on the other. Oh well, on we go.

Surprisingly, Aryn cheerfully accepted my restrictions on not breaking the bread until it had cooled for at least 10 minutes (one only has so much patience, 30 was out for me). Total time from when I got home to when the bread was cooled enough for me: about 90-100 minutes.

The crust was dry (perhaps it dried out during proofing or perhaps it never got moist enough in the oven). The crumb (inside) was also a bit dry, and not as light as I'd expected. Worst of all, the flavor was totally bland! No idea why. Something must've gone wrong with the fermentation. Perhaps I should've hydrated the yeast before making the Pâte Fermentée. Or perhaps all my compromises on fermentation time and temperature left too many crucial enzymatic steps incomplete. Still a lot of room to improve here.


  1. Sorry to hear you were disappointed with the French bread. You should definitely try it again. This is one of my favorite recipes in the BBA.

  2. Have you found a good whole wheat recipe for french bread? I have tried a few really easy recipes but they always are just so lacking compared to non-whole wheat flour.