I go to bed at 10pm. Then I get up at 6am so I can bake me my breakfast and lunch: baguettes!
Flour, salt, yeast and water. That's all that goes into making proper French breads.
I use paté fermenté as aging agent.
well, the one I use anyway. Paté fermenté on the left, fresh dough on the right.
The initial rise is "until it doubles in volume".
After it's doubled in volume, I punch down the dough, place it in a container (okay, pot) and stick it in the fridge until the next morning, when I'll be using it to bake my breadz.
After taking the dough out of the fridge, I flatten it into ye shapee, without giving it a change to come up to room temperature. For a good reason.
In order to shape most effectively, I cut and roll the dough.
Then I flatten the rolls
The dough is pinched "shut", meaning that I basically fold it double and literally pinch the edges together so it doesn't 'unroll' again.
After pinching it gets placed onto oiled baking paper in a proofing tin (a bit like en couche, but without the couche) which is then put into my oven's proofer.
The oven... mine's not really remarkable (got it second hand for 75 euro), but it has two essential features:
1) it can go up to 250C
2) it has a baking stone, which in this case is a 1cm thick marble tile with a little room on the sides to let any steam from spraying pass from the lower half to the upper half easily.
You don't need to go high tech, but you do need it to fit the requirements =D
The proofing compartment... you don't need one, but it sure makes proofing dough a lot easier.
I will admit, I was hungry, so I didn't give the dough enough time to properly rise (I suck? yes, yes I do...)
I was apparently so hungry I completely forgot to score the bread!
OHNOZ! COME BACK, BREADS!
I rushed for the knives (not... the smartest thing to do) and got my trusty scoring knife: a serrated grapefruit knife.
Sadly, as the dough was already in the oven, scoring became more "cutting", and it is at this point that my brain went "well now. that's another fine mess you got us in to" at my stomach T_T
thanks to the in-oven scoring, one bread decided to become a banana, while the other went "you could have scored me a bit deeper" and started to tear out a little at the back.
Halfway through I switched the sticks around and you can readily identify the damage caused by a forgotten, crucial step in the baguette making process...
In the end, the bread smelled great, but the texture was more white bread in French crust than proper baguette texture.
Still, for a predictable outcome, at least the mistakes weren't big enough to ruin the bread (like no oven spring so that the dough doesn't gelatinise properly... *shudder*)
Anyway, that's my morning =)