I love baguettes. I love their crunch, their colour, their texture. Pretty much everything really. I think that they are the ideal bread for a light lunch on a Saturday with a tasty slab of pâté or cheese.
But baking the things is proving to be more problematic. They are proving to be my baking nemesis. They seem really straightforward – a white bread dough just shaped differently. How hard can that be…?
“Very” in my case. My first goes didn’t rise at all – probably because I followed some advice that you could add dried yeast straight to flour in the same way you can easy blend. This may work in a hot bakery but not in my kitchen where the yeast granules just remained resolutely undissolved, studded throughout the dough like seeds. As a result the bread itself didn’t rise at all. Poor Long Suffering Husband still had a go at eating it though…
So I switched back to easy blend. Now it rose but I had a different issue. I was proving and baking on a silicon baguette tray but whilst I got a good shape only the top of the bread would colour as if the tray were blocking the heat somehow.
I tried taking them out of the tray and putting them onto a metal one part way through. Whilst this gave me colour and crispness, the bread had stuck through the holes and it tore as I tried to remove them.
This is my latest effort. (I’m currently using Richard Bertinet’s recipe in Dough.)
Still not great but the potential is there.
You can tell from this shot there’s quite a bit of oven spring but the bread is tearing at the side and expanding that way rather than through the slashes. I think that this is partly a result of it adhering itself quite so firmly to the tray.
The insides look good but I need to sort the shaping. As you can see its incurred quite a bit of damage as a result of my attempts to get it out of the tray. I think a linen proofing cloth is called for for my next attempt.