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A Story for the Week-End: Easy Bread-Making

It all started out of curiosity: "How hard can it be?"... And here comes the beginning of our week-end breakfasts.

Researching for a truly beginners recipe, I have discovered one which promised results in the absence of any hard work/prerequisite knowledge and without kneading, no less: thoroughly mixing the ingredients, let them rise for 2-3 hours at room temperature, then either use it right away or store it in the fridge overnight for later use.

The result was far from ideal. Rather acceptable, without too much force or aesthetic appearance. It took one pandemic and a long isolation period to finally have enough time for research and experiments.

Following extensive experiments, my favourite dough became a high-hydrated one (4:3 flour/water ratio), even if this meant some more dough on my fingers (I havenít quite managed mastering the magic of high-hydrated-non-sticking-dough):

flour 360 g
lukewarm water 270 g
bakerís yeast, fresh 8 g (or dried: 4 g)
salt 7-8 g

After discovering (by chance) the work of a certain highly enthusiastic professeur de boulangerie (zillions of Thanks!, M. Cottez), I have somewhat refined my technique:

The dough can be stored 1-2 days in the fridge (it will become softer, but it will still well rise in the oven).

Just to be clear, my experiments will not pass the professional certification exams. I am using a small electric oven which can go up to 225°C max.; the classic gas oven is good enough for the buns (but they will not get crusty, neither coloured), but not for the baguettes. The only "specialised" tools are some dough cutters; I am not even close to a fine scoring. And sometimes I did not... properly follow proper procedures - timing, temperature etc., due to other tasks to be performed in the same time, but the result (especially the taste and the baguette alveolage) was good each time, better than what can be usually found in the supermarket (there is no real bakery close to us and this was hardly the time to stray too far from home). The form is nice, too; itís quite funny to end up with a submarine-shaped mini-baquette from time to time. The recipe tolerated all my mishaps, indeed fitted for beginners. For truly spectacular results, though, M. Cottez instructions should be thoroughly followed.

I havenít tried yet the liquid sourdough - it requires more attention and more space in the fridge (ours is 1,5m high); for the time being, it is a lot easier using bakerís yeast (however, I maintained a fresh yeast culture back in March; Iíve also used frozen yeast with the same results, as the regular supply of the supermarkets was also affected back then. But that is another story).

Here are some results:

Mini-baguettes from electric oven with forced air
Baguettes slices and buns from electric oven with forced air
Buns from gas oven
Recipe for home bread machines, hand made instead, from gas oven

Published on 16-Aug-2020 ©