Finally, French Bread!

by Janice on September 14, 2009

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I believe simple food, done well, is an art.  And French Bread, with the plain ingredients of flour, salt, yeast, and water, exemplifies simple food.  Peter Reinhart, in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, showcases a technique for making outstanding French Bread.  On my first attempt, I created bread that we devoured within 48 hours.  And considering the amount of bread I’ve been making for the BBA Challenge (this is our 14th type of bread!), that’s saying an awful lot.

Windowpane

Windowpane

Rising in couche

Rising in couche

Slashed and ready to bake

Slashed and ready to bake

To make this bread Peter’s way, you must first make a pâte fermentée and let it rest in the fridge overnight.  (Don’t worry, I have no idea how to even say it, but it’s super easy to make!)  The idea is that you are developing the flavor and unlocking the sugar in the flour.  So, like many of the breads in the challenge, it’s a 2-day process.  The end result is that the bread tastes nothing like a simple mixture of flour, salt, yeast, and water.  It’s chewy, crusty, and tender in all the right places.  The flavor has a bit of nuttiness to it.  It’s a bread you can dress up or down, as versatile as a pair of black pants, but far less boring!  (And, let’s be honest, it won’t exactly help you fit into those black pants, either, but that’s another story.)  The recipe can be found in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, page 168.

Waiting is the hardest part

Waiting is the hardest part

Wish I could share with you!

Wish I could share with you!

{ 1 trackback }

Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: French Bread — Pinch My Salt
October 3, 2009 at 6:20 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

nico September 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm

very nice post, your bread looks really good

saltandserenity September 16, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Your baguetted look wonderful. You have clearly mastered the slashing skill. Wonderful open crumb.

misterrios
Twitter: misterrios
September 20, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Twitter: @misterrios

Wow! Look at the expansion and the crumb. Those baguettes look beautiful. Plus the slashing is top “notch”!

roundthetable September 23, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Thanks, Nico!

roundthetable September 23, 2009 at 11:27 pm

You are too kind!

roundthetable September 23, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Thank you, misterrios!

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