Sunday, September 13, 2015

Baguettes and two old standbys

I was away this weekend, but the week before I made baguettes again—successfully!—and a couple of bread machine loaves: toasted sesame and Bohemian black bread (BBB). Then for this weekend, I made the toasted sesame bread again.

Toasted sesame bread #1, uneven as usual (but tasty)

The toasted sesame bread seems to always turn out much higher on one side than the other. I thought maybe it was due to my not sprinkling the salt on evenly, but even when I mixed the salt with the water for loaf #2, the loaf was uneven.

Toasted sesame bread #2, still uneven

Now I'm thinking that perhaps the problem is simply that the bread is 100% whole wheat, and (even on the whole wheat cycle) the bread simply tends to clump around one mixing paddle more than the other.

A possible solution might be to check the dough when the raisin/nut beeps sound, to make sure it's even. It's not a big deal, though. The unevenness doesn't affect the taste or texture at all, just the size.

Toasted sesame is becoming my go-to bread. It's 100% whole wheat, it smells great, and it tastes great with everything except sweet toppings. It's great with tuna or pesto, and very good as a PBJ bread, but not so great with butter & jam or butter & cinnamon sugar.

Inside toasted sesame bread

Last week's Bohemian black bread (BBB) was fairly even, but a bit lower in the middle. I think that might be caused by the dough separating into two halves, each one centered on a mixing paddle. BBB has less whole grain than the sesame bread, fwiw.

Bohemian black bread (BBB)

The BBB was much lighter in color this time, since instead of using black cocoa I used Lake Champlain Chocolates cocoa, which is a light reddish brown. I need to get some more of that black cocoa.

The inside of BBB

On to baguettes.

A week ago Thursday and Saturday, I refreshed the white sourdough starter. Saturday morning I refreshed the whole wheat starter. Sunday I made baguettes.

I used a variant of King Arthur Flour's sourdough baguette recipe, ending up with these ingredients (almost identical to the first batch, except I used all-purpose flour + gluten instead of bread flour):
  • 1/2 cup + 2 T lukewarm water
  • 1 cup sourdough starter (I used white only)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp gluten
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 T bread machine yeast
I forgot the gluten until a couple of minutes into the mixing. Whoops! Canceled the cycle, added the gluten, and started the dough cycle again.

Around 5:45 I took the dough out, shaped it, and put it in the gheed baker (where gheed is to ghee what oiled is to oil).

I wet a dish towel, put it on a cookie sheet, and then awkwardly dipped the top side of each baguette onto the sheet. I put the largest baguette in the middle. I added raw, whole buckwheat to the top baguette.

From top to bottom: buckwheat, biggest, prettiest

I accidentally turned the oven on before putting the baker in. I didn't realize until it was already hot, but I turned it off while the loaves finished rising.

About to go into the oven

I might have overbaked the bread a little bit, but my family and I liked it. It had a nice crust (though perhaps a little thick) and tasty, tender innards. And it didn't stick to the pan, at all!

Buckwheat covered baguette

We started with the buckwheat-covered baguette. A lot of the buckwheat fell off, but that just made it that much more fun for my daughter and me to go on a little treasure hunt of the cutting board.

The buckwheat-covered baguette didn't last long

The next day we had about 1.5 loaves left, which we used for chicken sandwiches. It was so nice to have a real baguette sandwich again! It made me want to find a recipe for banh mi bread, the craptastic bread that makes a terrific holder for delicious Vietnamese fillings. Here are some recipes that I might try:
Back to traditional baguette recipes, I'm thinking about trying some of the following recipes from King Arthur Flour, all but one of which require an overnight rest:

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