I should have let it rise longer. Then it would have been less compact and dense. What is called la mie — the crumb — would have had bigger air pockets in it. Never mind — the crust was crunchy and tasty. It was very good bread, as you can see. Since the woman who delivers bread to our house four times a week is going on vacation for 10 days, I'll be making this again.
I made bread the other day because we ran out of bread from the freezer and I didn't feel like firing up the Peugeot and running down to a boulangerie in Saint-Aignan just for that. Recently I've been looking for and buying different kinds of flour, just experimenting, especially for making bagels. I had bought a kilo bag of farine à pain — high-gluten bread flour — at SuperU, so that's what I used. I'd never noticed that bread flour was available before.
Basically, I followed the package directions. Flour, water, salt, and a package of yeast (5.5 grams). I turned the oven on to heat it up to just 50ºC (120ºF) and then I turned it off. I kneaded the dough for a few minutes, first in a stand mixer and then by hand, shaped it into a ball, and put it in a bowl. I set it in the warm oven and covered it with a dish towel. It rose for just over an hour. Next time I might let it rise in the fridge overnight.
Then I took it out of the oven and out of the bowl, kneaded it again briefly, and shaped it into, well, the shape you see. I cut several gashes in the top with a sharp knife. I let it rest for 15 minutes. When the oven was up to temperature (220ºC / 450ºF), I put the loaf in the oven on a baking tray. I didn't even use the bread/pizza stone. But I did set a shallow pan of water on a rack underneath the tray to make some steam in the oven. That's how you get a good rise and a crunchy crust. When it was done, I dusted the top with a little flour, just for looks. The village boulanger's bread is better, but this will do the job for a few days when needed.
I'd love to taste you bread. Next week I'll be using my bread machine again. Bye French bread, hello japanese bread! My first bread machine was Made in Japan.ReplyDelete
I was surprised how nice the texture of the crust and the mie turned out to be. I think the high-gluten flour made a big difference. I just went to SuperU and got some more for next week. Your bread is also very good — I can vouch for that. I've used your recipe before and I might try it again, following the cooking method I used for the bread in these pictures.Delete
This looks extremely satisfying to me! Well done!ReplyDelete
And the bread was pretty much as good as it looked. I enjoyed toasting slices of it. Tim below would like it because it was a compact crumb without all the holes in it that French boulangers see as a sign of a good rise and high quality, but which make it impractical to slice the bread and spread butter and jam on it. Everything falls through the holes and you get greasy, sticky fingers.Delete
Tasty... nothing beats home-made bread...ReplyDelete
Our "Made in Japan" is only used as a dough maker these days...
nothing wrong with it... I just hate the hole the paddle leaves in the bottom!
And, for making dough, it is more consistent and more patient than I am likely to be...
The "Little Book of Breadmaking"... a hint's and tips book....
I found remaindered many moons back....
suggests getting the oven up to 240 Centipede...
putting in the risen dough...
and turning the oven off...
and resetting the thermostat for 200 Centipede.
Apparently this echoes the effect of putting it into a hod bread oven...
seems to work lovely!!
Our oven can be set at 30 Centipede... perfect for rising!
Takes an hour and a half to give a nice, puffy dough.
Actually I often do what you describe for cooking all kinds of things, including the loaf of bread described in this post. I put whatever I'm baking in at a high temperature (240ºC for the bread) and then start turning the oven down as it cooks, checking how much it's browning. For the bread, one advantage of starting with a very hot oven was that the pan of water I put in the oven was already releasing a lot of steam when the bread went in.Delete
I too will be making bread today using French flour, as the English flour is too high in gluten and irritates my stomach. I order in "Shipton Mill French Type 55 Flour" and mix it with Strong White Bread Flour about 2/3 to 1/3. I have been making bread by hand since May this year but the colder weather has persuaded me to invest in a breadmaker as the rising stages have got difficult in my cold, drafty kitchen. You rise your bread in the oven. I have tried that but I have a fan oven and its lowest setting is too hot to be reliable so the breadmaker machine will get it to the pre-bake stage. Your loaf looks very tasty and very French. Bon appetit to you both!ReplyDelete
I just turned the oven on for a very few minutes. Once it was up to the temperature (about 50ºC) I turned it off. The residual heat and lack of any draft in the warm oven is enough to give the dough a good rise in a short time. But I'm going to try an overnight rise next time. I figure I'll be baking bread again on Monday. I do think a bread-making machine is a good investment, but as long as we get delivery of very good bread 4 days a week, I don't see the point here.Delete
What a beautiful loaf! I now add vital wheat gluten to my flour and it's made a huge difference... then again, I make no-knead bread. Yes, I'm a heathen.ReplyDelete
Walt's pizza dough is a no-knead preparation, and it is excellent. If I decide to let my bread dough rise overnight (12 to 18 hours), I won't really need to knead it either. So I'm a heathen too! When I do knead dough, I usually let the stand mixer with a dough hook do 90% of the work.Delete
Well, it looks fabulous to me :)ReplyDelete
Your home must always smell great :)
Next time I make bread, I will try making steam in the oven. I love King Arthur's bread flour.ReplyDelete
That loaf looks delicious. I'll bet the next batch, if you give it a long slow rise, will be even better. The flavor that develops from a long cool rise is what I miss with baguettes.ReplyDelete
That is GORGEOUS!!!ReplyDelete