Friday, May 7, 2010

French Bread

Okay, here we go.  Delving into bread territory we all know and love.  So, hopefully this will be adequate.

I actually started this bread yesterday, but I didn't make two posts (I know, you probs hate me -- blog! blog! blog! blog!).  I also neglected to take the requisite pictures yesterday.  I mean, I did take some, but not many.  The story is incomplete.  Our hearts are yearning.

So, french bread starts with pate fermente as a starter.  Which = flours (bread + all purpose) + salt + yeast =

And then I added water, but the picture kind of sucked, so here it is all stirred up and kneaded (the story is incomplete.  Insert your own discourse where you see fit.  Disidentify.)

This rises for an hour (which I also don't have pictures of!) and then is degased.  And then sits in the fridge over night.  Oh!  I am telling and not showing!  Going against all my years of poetry training -- *sigh*.  (PS: Is an asterisk's grammar rules like a quotation mark?  sigh*. or sigh.*?  I guess there probably aren't grammar rules.)

So, it's the next day!  Hello morning!  Hello laundry day!  Hello neglect of school work!  Hello I think I lost a student's paper!  And hello pate fermente!

So, this gets cut up so the little pates can warm up so they can be made into a corporate conglomerate!

After an hour, our pates are a little bigger, a little showier.

So now comes the actual bread stylings.

Flours (bread + all purpose again) + salt + yeast + pate fermente + water =

Look!  It's a close up aka I am getting artsy.  It also looks like an amoeba.  Or like what the world looked like when there was just bacteria living on it.  I forgot what that planetary stage is called.  Anyone?

So, this is stirred up:

And kneaded for ten minutes.  This dough needed a lot of extra flour.  Which meant I felt super cool figuring out when it had enough flour.  But look!

PS: primordial -- is that the stage?  So, this dough sits for two hours, which means I can actually do other things!  We'll see how that goes . . .

I did do some things!  Look at me being productive on a bread baking day.  Bet you never thought that would happen.

The dough was also productive:

So big!  I think it actually may have doubled.  Yay!  Maybe this means if I'm productive, the dough will cooperate with me.  Or, you know, that it's hot outside now.

So, the original recipe makes three baguettes, so I think I'm going to make two baby ones.  And I think, therefore I am!

You know when you're watching shows about bakeries and they cut this like huge slab of dough?  That's what this looks like, na?

Baguettes (sort of)!

I get to use my couche again! La la la.  Couche amuse bouche.  Amuse bouche always makes me think of Marcel from Top Chef.  Whoa -- he was once beat up in a bar.  Loser.  Dude, also, who does that?  I mean, really, Top Chef viewer, really?!

Sits for forty-five to seventy-five.

After some time -- I kind of lost count and just figured it's done:

And, with scoring!  Like ceramics!  Except with a big-girl knife.  See how huge that knife is?  It's for legit bread cutting.

Okay, here's when the dramz begins.  So, I preheated the oven like twenty minutes before planning to bake.  Twenty minutes later, nothing.  The oven is cold.  Like a rock.  Or a sociopath's heart.  Or a cheating bride's feet.  I am pissed.  I text my landlord.  I sulk.  I look up troubleshooting techniques online.  I think about perhaps English muffin-ing this shit.  My landlord calls me.  He talks me through lighting the pilot light.  It works.

For some reason fixing things feels so cool.  A couple weeks ago, I fixed the garbage disposal.  I'm like a regular handywoman (which, by the way, when typed into Google Chrome, is spelled wrong.  First suggestion for a correction = handyman.  WTF, Google/dictionary that Google uses.  WTF.).  A fucking Jack of all trades or something.

Despite this unexpected disappointment followed by happiness, Jean Valjean, who stars in today's bread baking, is still unhappy.  Story of his life.

Well, boo hoo, Jean.  Boo hoo.

Since pretend-hearth-baking is so stressful, I didn't get a shot of the bread in the oven.  Instead, here's my attempt an an action shot: Taneem + sidekick Jean Valjean!

So, yeah, action shot fail.  You can see the steam pan, though.

Donez!  I thought they'd be browner than this, so I think the bottoms got a tad bit burnt, but nothing too bad.

Up close!

Can't wait!  With butter!

This felt like the longest bread-baking process ever between the "broken" oven and in-between-grocery-store-going-to (it was nothing about the bread, so I didn't tell you about it).  But, it's good!  4/5.  Would be really good as garlic bread . . . yum.

Additionally, this song is stuck in my head, which makes me feel like a horrible feminist/person (esp when you see the vid):

Oh well <3


  1. Wow, it takes a long time, but it sure looks good. You're right about the color, should have been darker.

    If you add a little honey, you'll be in heaven.

  2. YUM.

    Also, I applaud the return of Jean Valjean.

  3. Yes, primodial soup. Remember that Star Trek episode? Or the Bill Nye episode?

    I'm gonna stop now before I embarrass myself further.