Thursday, May 21, 2009

Baguette Success, Finally

I promised to report on my success or failure with the new method of making a traditional baguette. I am glad to report that it was a brilliant success and as near to a proper French baguette as you are likely to find anywhere outside of France. You can find the method at Chews Wise the blog of Samuel Fromartz.

You should be forewarned that this is not your basic bread making and can be a little daunting for inexperienced bread makers. I've been baking bread of all types (including attempts at duplicating the classic French baguette) for for over 40 years and I found the recipe challenging. Most of the challenge comes from working with a very wet dough but there are links to videos in the recipe to help you out.

If you are inclined to give it a try I can highly recommend the result. If your first couple of attempts are less than stellar, keep trying as there is a lot of technique involved and it needs a little practice. If you don't already have a sourdough starter then here's a the method from Wild Yeast (a great baking blog). The instructions are what is important in the creation of a starter. I don't use the rye flour just plain all purpose(King Arthur) and bottled spring water or filtered water. My latest starter took 6 days so be patient.

The photo is from Samuel's posted recipe but my results were almost identical, thank you very much. I should tell you, that for a home baker, being able to produce a credible baguette in the U.S. with American flours is a thrilling accomplishment. I can't imagine how good the next batches will be as I gain more confidence in working with the wet dough.

So don't be afraid, all you have to lose is a dollar's worth of flour and a little spare time but the reward is well worth it.

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