Day 167 – Baguettes

I’m back doing my favourite thing, making bread, and today I wanted to follow along with another Bread Ahead tutorial and make baguettes. I’ve made a lot of Italian bread, but rarely ventured into French bread, so why not start with one of the classics. The crusty French sticks are so soft and springy inside, I couldn’t wait to have a go.

The recipe I followed used a bit of rye sourdough starter to add some extra depth to the flavour, so I was quite happy to get some extra use out of mine – I still haven’t attempted another loaf. It also involved an autolyse stage, where you mix the flour and water together to build structure before adding the yeast, which was something totally new to me. Part of my love for bread is the kneading, feeling the dough change just by touch. This recipe, and the autolyse stage, replaced the kneading and I missed it a bit. I followed it through, curious to see what the results would be.

After an overnight rest of the mixed dough, I started to shape them into baguette shapes. This…did not go well. The dough was so sticky and difficult to handle that my dough looked anything but a baguette, in fact, I think I created the first boomerang baguette.

The bottom one was an attempt at a pain d’epi which now looks like a fancier boomerang.

I laughed so much when I took these out of the oven – is this what bakeries in Australia sell? You may be able to tell that a bit is missing from the top one, this is because it’s so hard to resist tearing a bit of freshly made bread off to see how it tastes, the smell is overwhelmingly appetising, it’s no wonder they use it to such an advantage in supermarkets. My little taster revealed what I expected, although they look ridiculous, they tasted really, really good.

After eating some more for lunch, I decided to whip up another batch, leaving out the overnight rest in the fridge this time and just seeing if I could shape them a little better. I also halved the recipe, as although I love bread, I didn’t want to be overrun with it.

The next batch were a little easier to shape but ended up a little more like breadsticks than mini-baguettes. Still, they tasted good (just not as tasty as the first ones) and it was nice to spend the afternoon playing around with bread. This style is going to require a lot more practice, but it’s going to be fun getting there.

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