The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, French Bread

 

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Once again, Peter Reinhart delivers on his promise for full-flavor, from all things floured, with his formula for French bread.    I find this bread is a challenge for me, but only because I hold a great fear of wet doughs.  Fashioning them, delivering them to the hearth for baking, intimidates the heck out of me.  This was my second time to make this bread.  I believe I did a bit better this go-round, but I am far from baker’s perfection.

I created my pâte fermentée as directed, one day prior to my bake, opening a new bag of bread flour, and while measuring, noted that it weighed heavy long before the measuring cup said it might.  But I swear by my scale, and so, onward I went toward mixing the dough.  I found myself going back for an additional scoop of flour to meld the final results.  (Peter tells us that it might be necessary to make flour/water adjustments.)

It’s been a rather dusty environment lately.  Flour dust has settled within every nook and cranny of my kitchen, and therefore, the rest of this house.   I’m baking up a storm these days.  What began as an effort to catch-up to the others in the fold of Nicole’s group of, The Bread Baker’s Challenge, it has now become an obsession.   (A week from now my feet land on the fertile soil of northern California, and my hands begin the steady motion of a marathon bake.  I’m building confidences as I stride.)  ;)

…..

Things moved along according to plan, that is, until it was time to move the loaves to the baking stone.  Oops!  I have a casualty, but do I throw my hands in the air and curse the gods?  Nay!

I did fail to mist this loaf, mainly because of the oh-so-ugly shaping.  (I was tempted to file 13 her, but I looked beyond her beauty and found her soul.)  The old girl did get a heavy mist of oil though, as she was destined to get her shine on!

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Yes.  It is a graph! 

Now the following is a far cry from the ‘graph’, but it still needs tweaking.  Scared-to-death and fearing I will overwork the baguettes, I tread cautiously.  I don’t want to degas the heck out of ’em for fear I’ll ruin those lovely air pockets.  They are the hallmark of this lovely, without them, I be spent.

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Here are some lovely little expansions.  My husband and I ‘tunneled’ our way through the better part of a full loaf before the dinner dishes were loaded and washing in the automatic. 

One of these days I’ll be so full of air you’ll swear that I float, by gosh, by golly.  I swear it!  Stay tuned, they’ll be more of these French babies in my pocket somewhere down the road.  I’m determined to capture the magic.

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My continued thanks to Nicole, www.pinchmysalt for setting this effort in motion.  The Bread Baker’s Challenge is hosted by this sweet soul.   Our challenge?  To bake our way through Peter Reinhart’s work,  The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  Visit P.R.’s website at www.PeterReinhart.typepad.com .   Please join us as we travel through this lovely book.  Our goal?  To bake each and every one of its recipes!

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~ by coffeegrounded on September 5, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, French Bread”

  1. What lovely bread! Ihat is a book I’ll have to buy very soon…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. I’m cheering on the sidelines of your marathon! Great looking bread.

  3. Rosa, if you like bread, enjoy making it, then this is definitely a book to have. Thanks for visiting. :)

    Anne, thanks for your vote of confidence. I have about 300 cupcakes ahead of me. They all look beautiful, in my head, now let’s see how they deliver in ‘person’. ;)

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