Friday, 31 January 2014

Classic Baguette : An Addictive Bread

A New Year, and the Indonesian dare baking club (Klub Berani Baking) challenge this time was to bake French style baguette.
I love baking bread, and baguette is one of my favorite bread. I baked my baguette twice for this challenge. First, I precisely followed the recipe given, and with some adjustment here and there for the second one.

OK. To make thing short, here is the recipe given by the hostess of the KBB challenge. It was not mentioned where she got it from. Oh...! sorry if you don't understand the language.. it's in Indonesian language. But don't worry, I will tell you what has been changed from the original recipe.

First bake
I followed the recipe as it is, and apparently, the dough rose very quick. Well, I always like the slow risen bread since it has more time to develop the nicer flavor. But, this time it was super quick... yeah, not even 30 minutes on the final proof (after being shaped and before going to the oven), it was already more than doubled. It was difficult to slice for two reasons. One because it was expand too much, and then because I don't have a proper slicer for this purpose. I tried using my sharpest knife. But it didn't work well. The knife was too thick and the dough was overproven, so it was collapsed a little bit. Well, the cooked bread was nice... with moist crumb and crunchy crust. However, since it was risen too quick, the flavor was a bit blunt. So I made a few adjustment for my second bake.

Second bake
Adjustment 1: I took care for the starter not only for 2 days as the recipe calls, but for 5 days. This is so the starter would develop more flavor. Adding water and flour every day to feed the starter.
Adjustment 2: I also amited adding more yeast for the dough, using only yeast from the starter. It definitely worked to slow down the proofing process.

With this two adjustment on the recipe, the baked bread has more rustic nutty flavor... just like artisanal bread from boulangerie in France... yum!

On the second bake, I tried using the blade from a paper cutter. Of course I used a new one and washed it clean first. It worked!
Ah ya, in France, they use couche in proofing the bread dough. I don't have one. So I used silicon paper (you can use parchment paper too), folded in between the bread to separate them.. then simply flatten it down before baking.

So, here is the modified recipe.

Baguette (KAF)

Result: 3 Baguette @ 16 inches

½ cup water
1/16 tsp active dry yeast / instant yeast
1 cup unbleached bread flour

Bread dough:
1 tsp active dry yeast / instant yeast About 250g of starter
1 cup - 1 ¼ cup warm water
½ cup unbleached bread flour
½ - 2 tsp salt


Make the starter. In a container with lid, mix the yeast, water, and flour just to combine. Close the lid and set aside to ferment in a room temperature. The starter should expand and bubbled after several hours. The next day, feed the starter with a mixture of 50% bread flour and 50% water (in weight). You should add the flour/water mix the same weight as the starter. Well, I don't like the idea of throwing away half of the starter. So, whenever I have more or less 500 grams of starter, it means the time for baking bread. Use half for baking and feed the other half for starter. Keed feeding the starter everyday (or every other day, which works fine for me)

Make the bread dough. In a big bowl, combine the flour, salt, starter, and water. Knead until smooth but a little bit sticky. Grease another big bowl and transfer the bread dough into it. Set aside to ferment for an hour.
After one hour, fold the dough. Cover and let rise for another hour. Repeat the folding-rise process twice more.. 3 hours in total.
Tranfer the dough on the bench and divide it into 3 (or 4 if you like slim baguettes like me). Shape into an oval shape. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Shape each one to baguette shape, about 15 inches long. 

I made my own couche, using silicon cloth-sheet (it works also with parchment paper) and rolled newspaper.

Cover and let the baguettes rise almost doubled in size.

About 30 minutes before the baking time, preheat the oven to 230 Celcius degree.

Right before putting the tray with baguettes into the preheated oven, use a sharp blade to make several slices on the surface angled at 45 degree.

Spray the baguettes with warm water. This will make the crust crispy.

Bake the baguettes until it's golden brown, about 25 - 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Now, enjoy your flavorful home-made baguettes. 

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