Friday, March 9, 2012

Hip-hip-hurray for bread

Hi to all,

Well, after reviewing my photos of Rue Montorgueil, and having more than enough ice cream in my freezer, I decided to put my ice cream machine away for awhile and make some French baguettes....quite a switch, you say?

I've made bread many times before but I had a new idea I wanted to try, which was, to start the baking on the highest rack for the first 10 to 15 minutes.  Our kitchen ovens don't get as hot as a professional oven therefore making it very difficult to get that first quick rise.  I read this idea of using the top rack, one day, so decided to give it a try now.  Also, I tossed a little water onto the oven floor to produce the burst of steam to help the quick rise before the top of the bread gets too dry.

With the high temperature, and the bread on the highest rack, I did feel the need to watch through the glass front on the oven door to be sure it wasn't going to burn.  In my opinion, they did get a little over browned.  As soon as I saw this, I moved the bread to the middle rack.  If you try this, you'll have to watch carefully because ovens vary.  I moved my bread after 12 minutes, but maybe, looking back, I should have moved it at 10 minutes.

As you can see, I made my own device to hold the baguettes ( ingenuity rules! ) while on their last rise and in the oven, with heavy tin foil formed into grooves, and then I put parchment paper inside.  It worked great!

I didn't have a razor to slash the tops before putting into the oven, so I snipped them with a scissor, which didn't work as well.  I knew a baker in Geneva who told me that some bakers stored a two-sided razor in their mouths in order to work faster....he said, also, that many times they chewed on the razors....yikes!  Picture this: they would flip the razor in and out with their tongue like men sometimes do with a short you know what I mean....have you ever seen that??   The picture in my mind is all too scary!  I'm shivering as I type this!

 The inside was moist while the crust was very crispy.  It could've had larger holes inside...something to work on!

 There are many recipes for French bread online,  I used this one, but I cut it in half using just 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of warm water.  This bread turned out to be pretty good, however, it didn't rival those baguettes you buy in a great French bakery. In case you want to know more about the baguette look here. was really yummy this morning topped with butter and raspberry jam!

**Thanks, Aidan, you're my first follower!


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