I figured I would like this next bread in the BBA Challenge. I generally like the French style breads, white but with a little “oomph” thanks to the pre-ferment. And no exception. This starts out, like so many others, with a pate fermentee. And as I have done so many Friday nights since beginning this challenge, then, I made a starter dough to rest overnight in the fridge. (I think this makes me sound kind of pathetic. I am in my third trimester with a toddler. There’s only so wild I can get).
The photo included with this recipe included an assortment of many beautiful loaves–so while I could have just made a regular loaf I was inspired to try my hand at more artistic dough shaping. I ended up making the three following shapes, with the help of a knife and kitchen shears:
A scissor cut boule (back), a couronne (front)
…and I learned that I should have been a little less dainty with my snips and indentations–I failed to remember that (at least if things go as planned) the dough is going to rise quite a bit as it rests (and even more in the oven).
This resulted in what should have been little spikes on my loaf looking more like moon craters. (Maybe I was supposed to do this AFTER the second rise…)
I don’t typically prepare the oven for artisan baking (adding a pan of water to the base of the oven, and then spritzing at 30 second intervals for the first few minutes of baking, creating a steamy environment that allows for even more oven spring). While it’s not necessarily that much trouble, my oven is pretty old and I don’t really want to test it by trying to create a miniature steamroom in there. I wonder if people find it makes that significant of a difference? I don’t doubt that it does come closer to replicating a boulangerie loaf, but how much?
I left the bread in the oven a bit too long (little E’s bath taking a bit longer than anticipated) so here’s a photo of some very well browned loaves. Still, they turned out well. The dough contains a little bit (just a quarter cup) of wheat or rye flour (I used wheat) which I think is a nice touch (and apparently makes it de campagne, i.e. “country style”). It’s still firmly within the white bread genre, but has a bit more complexity. I had quite a few nutella slathered slices while it was still warm from the oven.
Then, I went ahead and completely forgot to wrap the loaves in plastic. The next day they were pretty tough. To salvage this (because not to use this bread would really be a waste) I used one loaf to make bread crumbs and the remaining 1 1/2 loaves to make apple cardamom bread pudding. Yum…I may have to “forget” to wrap up my bread more often!