Monday, April 18, 2016

Not Sour on Sourdough: The Baguette Post

As I alluded to in my previous post, I decided to branch out and make baguettes. I found this recipe online, and figured I'd give it a go. 

Then one day last week, I went to Williams-Sonoma for a baguette pan (I went to Sur La Table a few days prior for a lame). Online the pan retails at a little more than $23.  When I arrived at the store, the tag said $19.99; and at the register it rung up at $15.99. Such a bargain, right?

I rushed home, washed the pan, and given its claims of being non-stick, I didn't spritz it with Pam. I put the loaves in the pan, and popped in the oven and baked according to the directions in the above-mentioned recipe. 

Let's just say it was a total failure. There wasn't enough of a crusty exterior, and I cannot comment upon the crumb/interior, because the baguettes failed to dislodge from the pan. AT ALL.  I tweeted about it, and Williams-Sonoma was great to reply and emailed me and suggested I return the pan to the store. I thought given it was a sale item and of course there's the issue that the bread was stuck to the pan! Nope, return it to the store. The next day I did, and the return/exchange went smoothly.

Lesson learned! But this is why I have trust issues! Rarely is anything as they purport themselves to be.

And rather than try the above-mentioned baguette recipe again, I decided to try something else entirely and went back to that book by Sarah Owens. This time I mixed up a batch of the Fougasse, and rather than use it as a fougasse, I used it as baguettes. I filled the dough with dried cranberries, blue cheese and candied pecans. 

I placed the proofed loaves on strips of parchment before putting them in the pan. In the oven I had a roasting pan of water steaming away. I set the timer to go off halfway through the baking cycle, at which point, I removed the water pan, and removed the baguettes from the pan, and placed them directly on the rack back in the oven to finish baking.

What I pulled out of the oven was nothing short of stunning. The exterior was as crunchy as I would have wanted, though I need to improve my scoring skills as my "ears" were not pronounced. And after waiting a sufficient amount of time, I cut a heel off so as to inspect the interior and of course, to taste test the end product. 
The intended meal for these will be sandwiches containing grilled lemon chicken, greens, sliced pear, and of course, fresh made aioli--the latter of which will be made up a la minute when I get home tonight.

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