I know what you’re thinking. More baguettes?! I thought the same thing when I flipped to the next recipe in the book and saw them sitting there waiting for me. These are known as Poolish Baguettes, “poolish” referring to the type of starter (the flour, yeast, water concoction) that I had to make the night before. Baguettes are definitely not my favorite, since I have a lot of trouble getting them to look the way they’re supposed to look. I will say, however, that this was probably my most successful attempt so far.
I made the aforementioned starter the night before making the rest of the bread. After mixing the dough (sans mixer…I decided to go back to my roots), I formed it into three loaves, which sat in my makeshift couche (fancy, cloth bed in which the loaves have their final rise) for about an hour.
I scored them right before they went into the 500° oven, and this is how they came out.
Like I said, they were definitely my best baguettes yet. Although I think they might be too big to technically be called baguettes. They’re more like regular loaves. I wanted to make them longer and skinnier, but was restricted due to the size of my baking sheet. Oh well. It still tasted good!
In other news, I’ve been reading Anthony Bourdain’s newest book, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. It’s been an interesting read and I would recommend it to anyone who is a Bourdain fan, or a food and restaurant fan in general. One chapter was broken down into descriptions of what I assume to be the most memorable things he has ever eaten. He had a short paragraph about baguettes (I know—what a coincidence!) that I felt obligated to post.
Six o’clock in the morning is when the pains raisins come out, and already the customers are lining up in the dark outside this tiny Parisian boulangerie waiting for the first batch. The baguettes are ready—piping-hot from the brick oven, fabulously, deliberately ugly and uneven in shape, slashed crudely across the top. They’re too hot to eat but you grab one anyway, tearing it open gingerly, then dropping two fingers full of butter inside. It instantly melts into liquid—running into the grooves and inner spaces of white interior. You grab it like a sandwich and bite, teeth making a crackling sound as you crunch through the crust. You haven’t eaten since yesterday lunch, your palate is asleep and just not ready for so much sensation. The reaction is violent. It hurts. Butter floods your head and you think for a second you’re going to black out.