Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Classic French Bread
Now here in Portland we have about a dozen "real deal" french bakeries where I can pick up a fresh afternoon baked baguette. To make one at home seems a little pointless. But then I watched the video and I was intrigued; could I really make an airy, crusty baguette in my humble kitchen? I had to try, much like I had to try croissants last year despite their similar rampant availability here.
It turns out, I was much better at replicating the croissants than the baguette. The baguette had a nice crusty crust but the inside turned out like normal bread, which was tasty but not airy and light at all. I think it had to do with my first rise which lasted too long and the dough formed a skin which then made rolling it for the final rise a challenge due to the inelasticity of that skin. But it may have been a result of the old frozen, fresh yeast I used; it probably would have had more oomph with really fresh yeast.
We had no trouble eating the loaves all in one meal (I halved the recipe), but I am sure they would not have met any French bakery standard except for the fact we did wait 20 minutes to eat them after they came out of the oven. And despite all our good bakeries in Portland and the fact that I can kind of make them at home (with more practice), I still can't wait to get to France someday and eat a real baguette.
Be sure to visit others' posts on this recipe in the Baking with Julia baking group at Tuesdays with Dorie.