Author Notes: Homemade 'baguettes' - a french bread dough once mastered can be turned into magical breads once you have a magic hands and ideas!!!! —Chako
Makes: short baguettes (approx. 30cm)
grams Bread Flour (100%)
grams Salt (2.1%)
grams Dry Yeast (0.4%)
grams Malt Powder (0.6%)
grams Water (71%)
- Unless you are using a yeast specifically instructed without need for pre-fermentation, mix the dry yeast and let it dilute and ferment in warm water for about 15 minutes before use.
- ① Mix the bread flour, salt and malt powder. If you are using dry yeast which does not require pre-fermentation, add the dry yeast at this point. If you are using fresh yeast, dissolve the fresh yeast into the water. ② Pour the water into the flour and using a dredge (cutting card), mix to blend the water into the flour. ③ Once the water starts to slowly soak into the flour, by cutting the edge (about 3-5cm each) of the dough – place it on top of the dough – repeat this process numerous times to completely letting the water dissolve into the flour, forming a complete dough. ④ Make sure that your do not ‘knead the dough’, like other breads.
- Cover the dough with plastic to avoid drying and it rest for 15-20 minutes in room temperature.
- Place the dredge underneath the dough and fold it over to the top, like you are folding a square origami flower. Repeat this couple of times and lastly, lift the entire dough and from air above – drop the dough on to the bottom (punch). Repeat this process 3 times, every 20 minutes.
- As similar to placing the laundry on a laundry wire to dry, lift a piece of the dough with your two fingers and stretch to see if the dough will leave a transparent stretched skin, which implicates that the gluten is well developed. The dough temperature should not exceed 24C, ideal 21~22C.
- Leave the dough in a plastic container at 4~6C for approx. 10〜24 hours.
- Shaping process of the baguette is the most challenging which craftsmanship is required. Flour the bread-board, removing the dough from the container using a dredge or cutting card, making sure your are not damaging the dough. (Try to) Leave the dough in a rectangular shape and using a dredge or cutting card, cut the dough into the required shape/weight. The more perfect the rectangular shape (in one go!) the baguette will turn into a perfect shape. Long Baguette (approx. 40cm) 350g Short Baguettes (approx. 30cm) 280g – which I use….since my oven will not take a 40cm long baguette Batard (approx. 30cm) 350g – a little bit fatter than a baguette Let the dough rest for approx. 5~20minutes. See image Fold the dough 1/3 from your closer side (south) to the center. Rotate the dough 180 degrees. With a cutting card/dredge, mark a horizontal 1/3 line along the dough. Lift the northeast corner and fold it along the 1/3 line, gently pushing the dough (do not over press, like fingerprinting). Repeat the process once again, lifting the northeast corner and gently folding the dough along the edge (touching the bread-board). The palm should be curled to gently wrap the dough, the wrist pressing along the edge to seal off the dough. The dough is now an abalone type of dough as seen in the photo. Roll the dough through the flour once and roll out the dough until the required length.
- Place the baguette on a canvas sheet at 20~25C/40min~60min. Using a sharp blade cut a coupé along the top ridge (see diagram).
- If you have a steam oven, preset your oven to 250~260C/bake at top 250C/bottom 150C. If you have a gas oven like I have, preset the oven to 250C/bake at top 230C/10minutes and 220C/10minutes; manually inserting steam (hot water of 50cc) onto a plate of hot rock (like a steam sauna set up) .