I am my Father's daughter, you've probably heard me say it before. I have a hard time letting people do things for me that I can do for myself. I used to change the oil in my car instead of taking to one of those quick lube places. It wasn't so much to save money, it was more so I knew what was going, a bit of quality control (had a few bad experiences with sloppy work and forgetfulness at some of those instant places) and also to be able to brag a bit that yes I know how to change my own oil. What does this have to do with Pastry?
I'm living in the land of bread! There are at least 5 decent and one really good boulangerie within a 5 min walk from my front door. You haven't tasted bread until you've had a fresh baguette, still warm from the oven. Preferably a Baguette Tradition from Arnaud Delmontel on the rue des Martyrs. I am also just a short distance from the border of the 18th arrondisement, where the past 2 Meilleure baguettes de Paris have been named. I do indulge in a tasty baguette from time to time, but now I'm on a mission..... I want to make good bread at home. I made bread in school, we made bread when I worked at Crema...I've even made some good bread back in Boston in my apt. The challenge here is to make good bread in my little apt with my little oven. Oh the oven may be the biggest challenge.
Epi Loaf Before Oven
Epi Loaf After Oven
The thing with bread is, its much like the croissant, it cannot be rushed (unless you want a flavor lacking loaf). I made a batch yesterday. Followed the proofing times, shaped the loaves and they puffed up so nicely! I even made a nice looking Epi (the bread loaf that looks like a wheat stalk). After my loaves baked, I was disappointed in the lack of coloring (most likely my oven is not hot enough, the same reason I no longer cook chicken in it, it never gets done!). It did have a nice crunchy crust and the interior was soft and chewy.......but lacking in flavor. Romain however ate most of the two little loaves with his dinner and (God bless him) said it was good (and he's French!). So that recipe is out for making a quick loaf. I'm sure if I gave it a few hours of refrigerated fermantation time the flavor would be sooooo much better. So I'm off to mix another batch and try a few other recipes as well. Might have to sneak a few batches up to work and use the ovens there to get a good golden crust. I'm sure they won't mind as long as I share!
Decent Start....but there is work to be done
Future Meilleure Baguette de Paris? hmmmm