Friday, August 27, 2010

Pain à l’ancienne Baguettes

Hello everyone~ So, it has been super hot in southern California as I mentioned in a earlier post...and I found out that the particular place that I live in about 15° F higher than LA! Temperatures have been reaching over 110° F! :( But, I've been craving bread lately so I had to bake something~ I actually decided that I wanted some slices of a nice baguette. Of course I can go pick up one at my local bakery but I prefer homemade bread just because I know that there aren't 100 ingredients that I've never of! So, I decided to be a little ambitious and made baguettes! :D Yay~ I love this recipe! It has a nice crust and a chewy inside...and it consists of only 4 different ingredients! I must admit though, the process of making them was a little tedious because the dough is fairly sticky and the dough needs to be fermented 3 times. There's also a beginning process where you have a mix the water and dough and stick it in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours to bring about the natural sweetness of the flour. Overall, great bread and I would definitely make again! :D

Pain à l’ancienne Baguettes
From Apple Pie, Patis, and Pate
unbleached all-purpose flour: 4 cups/17.6 oz/500 g
water, ice cold: 1 cup + 6 tbsp/11.5 oz/325 g

water: 3 tbsp + 1 tsp/1.8 oz/50 g
salt: 1.5 tsp/.3 oz/9 g
instant yeast: 1.5 tsp/.2 oz/5g


* Best to use King Arthur all-purpose flour or another flour with a higher protein content than regular supermarket all-purpose flour.
* Peter Reinhart’s pain à l’ancienne in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is based on a method very similar to this recipe. In Reinhart’s version, the salt and yeast are added before refrigeration.

1. Mix together the flour and the ice-cold water until a shaggy ball of dough is formed.
2. Knead 4 to 6 minutes, until the flour is thoroughly hydrated and a smooth ball of dough is formed.
3. Cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. The bread will be sweeter the longer the dough rests (this process of resting the dough before adding yeast is called autolyse).

4. Add the additional water, salt, and instant yeast to the cold dough. Knead until the water is completely absorbed, about 6 to 10 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. The dough will initially have the consistency of chewing gum and will not readily absorb the additional water.

5. Ferment #1 90 minutes at room temperature
6. Using gravity and a bench scraper to help you, lift the dough to stretch it into a long rectangle and put it back on the counter with the short side facing you. The fold it into thirds vertically, like an envelope, and then fold again horizontally.
7. Ferment #2 90 minutes at room temperature
8. Stretch and fold again.
9. Ferment #3 2 to 3 hours at room temperature, or until almost doubled
in size
10. Preheat Oven 460ºF / 240ºC
11. Divide 4 equal pieces using a lightly moistened bench scraper
12. Preshape: On a lightly floured surface, gently shape each piece into loose ovals by tucking the sides underneath the pieces of dough. Handle as gently as possible to avoid degassing.

Pain à l'ancienne French Baguettes Shaping
1. Rest: 10 minutes
2. Shape: Stretch gently into strips, about 12 to 16 inches long.
3. Steam: 1 cup of boiling water poured in a heavy steam pan
(preferably cast iron)

4. Bake: Bake for 8 to 9 minutes at 460ºF / 240ºC. Rotate the loaves and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is deeply browned. The thickest part of the baguette will register 205ºF / 91ºC when done.
5. Cool: At least 30 minutes

They're done! :D

More pictures:

Look at that crust!

A slice for you...

And a slice for me!

It seems like a very complicated process by text, but it's a bit easier so please refer to the site! :D Happy baking everyone~ Have a great day! :)


Faye said...

very nice! the process is indeed tedious but worth it.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! I hope you continue. I've followed some of the recipes posted and they were wonderful. Please keep up the good work!

HL said...

uh la la la baguette, trés delicieux.
btw i tagged you ;D

Michelle said...

Faye, thank you! :D I definitely agree...this was somewhat tedious but the end result was definitely super satisfying! :)

Anonymous, thank you! :) I'll update for as long as I can~ Hope you have a great day! :D

HL, Ooohhh~ haha...I'll do a post on that tonight! :D

Pam @ Cookingworld said...

I love your step by step guide and pictures! I am always scared by making a baguettes at home as it seems so much work and huge chance of failing it. One of these days I will be brave and make it at home. I am going to bookmark it till such a day. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

Pam, Thanks for visiting! :D It's very scary the first time I have to admit...I was scared the uneven holes(?) in the baguette wasn't going to come out! I hope your baguette is successful in the future, good luck! :D