22nd Anniversary


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Well, according to today's Google doodle, it is the 22nd anniversary of the official recognition of French traditional bread. In honor of today I wanted to share this recipe I found online (but haven't tried).

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Ingredients:
3¼ to 3½ cups organic all-purpose flour (you may need a little more)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1½ cups (12 ounces) tepid water (70°F)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt or organic mineral salt (such as Redmond Real Salt)
1 cup ice cubes (for making steam in the oven)

Mix the dough
Place 3¼ cups of the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and stir with a rubber spatula to combine. Add the water and stir just until all the water is absorbed and a dry, clumpy dough forms. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and let it stand for 20 minutes, to allow the flour to hydrate and the gluten to develop on its own.
Sprinkle the salt over the dough and evenly mix it in as best you can. It will fully dissolve into the dough during the kneading process.
Knead the dough
By hand: Lightly dust the counter with flour. Empty the dough and any stray flour out of the bowl and knead it with smooth, steady strokes for 10 to 12 minutes. Dip your hands in flour as necessary so they don't stick to the dough. You may need to add another 1/4 cup or more of flour (depending on your flour, the weather, etc.), but try to avoid kneading extra flour into the dough so your baguettes will be light. Take a 2-minute break if you become tired.
Stop kneading when the dough loses its stickiness, firms up, and feels silky smooth and resilient.
By machine (I always knead by hand, but here are the instructions from Local Breads for those who would like them): Use the dough hook of a stand mixer and mix the dough on low speed (2 on a KitchenAid) for 8 to 10 minutes. It will clear the sides of the bowl, grabbing onto the dough hook, but look lumpy, Pull it off the dough hook and knead it by hand for a few strokes on an unfloured counter until it is very smooth and springy.
Ferment the dough (first rise):
Transfer the dough to a clear, straight-sided 2-quart food grade plastic container with a snap-on lid. With masking tape or a felt tip marker, mark the spot on the container that the dough will reach when it has increased 1½ times (50%) in volume.
Put the lid on the container and leave it to rise at room temperature (about 70 degrees; a little cooler is okay) for 45 minutes. It won't double in volume but should increase somewhere between 25% (halfway to the mark) to 50% (all the way to the mark).
Give the dough a turn
Lightly dust the counter with flour and, using a spatula, empty the risen dough out of the container. Pat it gently into a rectangle about 6 by 8 inches and fold it like a business letter:
1) With the short side facing you, lift the top edge and fold it into the center of the rectangle.
2) Lift the bottom edge and fold it up into the center so that it overlaps the top edge by about 1 inch.
3) Quickly slide both hands under the dough and flip it over so the folds are underneath.
4) Slip it back into the container, pushing it down to fit.
Put the lid back on and let the dough until it again increases between 25% and 50% in volume, about 45 minutes.
Prepare the oven
About 1 hour before baking, place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and (if you want to make the steam) a cast iron skillet on the lower rack. Heat the oven to 500 degrees.
Divide and pre-shape the dough
Lightly dust the counter with flour. Uncover the dough and turn it out onto the counter. With a bench scraper or chef's knife, cut the dough into 3 equal pieces (about 10 ounces) each. (I use my 11-pound digital kitchen scale to evenly portion out dough and weigh all kinds of other stuff).
Gently pat each piece into a rough rectangle about 5"x7" and fold it in half. Sprinkle the pieces of dough with flour and drape them with a damp towel. Let them relax on the counter for 10 minutes.
Shape the baguettes
Cover a baker's peel or rimless baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Shape each piece of dough into a baguette 12 to 14 inches long (make them at least two inches shorter than your baking stone) and 2½ inches wide, using your favorite method or the instructions at the end of this post.
Form the couche
Lightly dust the parchment that is on the peel or rimless baking sheet with flour and place the baguettes on the parchment, seam sides down, about 2 inches apart. Lift the parchment paper between the loaves, making pleats and drawing the loaves together.
Tightly roll up 2 kitchen towels and slip them under the parchment paper on the sides of the two outer loaves to support and cradle the baguettes. Lightly dust the tops of the baguettes with flour and drape them with a damp tea towel.
Proof the baguettes (final rise)
Let the loaves stand at room temperature (70 degrees) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until they increase about 1½ times in size. When you press your fingertip into the dough, the indentation will spring back slowly.
Score the baguettes
Uncover the loaves, take away the towels, and stretch the parchment paper out so that it is flat and the loaves are separated on top of it. Score each baguette with a very sharp serrated knife. Starting from the tip, angle the blade 45 degrees to make 3 slashes, about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch deep. Slash quickly and confidently. You can carefully slice back through the slashes a second time if necessary.
Bake the loaves
Slide the loaves, still on the parchment, onto the hot baking stone. Carefully place 1 cup of ice cubes into the hot cast iron skillet to produce steam. Quickly close the oven and reduce the temperature to 450 degrees.
Bake until the baguettes are caramel-colored, 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool and store the loaves
Slide the peel or the rimless baking sheet under the parchment paper to remove the loaves from the oven. Slide the loaves, still on the parchment, onto a wire rack. Cool for about 5 minutes and then peel them off the parchment paper (if they come off the paper while taking them out of the oven, that's okay).
Too much for me to take on, but there's more info from the site I found it on here.
 
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Fancy that - Google is always teaching us something new!

I've never actually made my own proper bread. It looks pretty involved, at least for French bread. I like trying new recipes and new baking styles but this recipe seems too far out of my skill set!
 
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Thanks for the recipe! I was wondering what was up with that logo change :p I was wondering what was being celebrated now ;) I admire Google is always trying to teach us something new and helping us not to forget those meaningful dates. All of a sudden the days don't feel so ordinary ;)
 
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I've used a different recipe in the past, but the loaves didn't come out the way the french bread I grew up with is, crusty, but very light and airy inside, so that's the sort of recipe I'm looking for. This one sounds out of my skill set, as well, but it sure does look delicious. I can't believe it's only been recognized for 22 years...I grew up eating what was known as french bread that looks exactly like that, and that's what everyone called it.
 

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