Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sourdough half-wheat baguettes

I started learning to handle sourdough just around Christmas, really, I needed yet another thing to feed and take care of like a hole in the head, but you know how that always works out. I followed a recent article in Mother Earth News. My first couple of attempts were going OK, nothing to write a blog post about, until a friend mentioned making homemade baguette. Et voila! 
Some of the challenges I have had with homemade bread is that I like to bake an oven full if I'm going to have the oven so hot for so long (as regular loaves take), and then it never gets eaten fast enough. I freeze some, but it just isn't the same. Also, while I love crusty bread, the kids are just too used to bread with a 'crust' in name only... so it's a constant struggle to get them to eat more than the middle three bites. I think that baguettes are an easy answer! They bake for only 15 minutes (unless, ahem, you sort of forget them in the oven.... I don't recommend that way to make chicken food). They are a little crusty but mostly soft and delicious inside, even with the bit of whole wheat flour I use. 

I finally got everything right today - as evidence I submit the fact that one of the three baguettes was gone before I could even download the pictures!


1 cup fed sourdough starter
1 cup whole wheat bread flour
3/4 cup tepid filtered water
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
 a pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp instant yeast 
1 cup of all purpose flour, or a little more 


I mix the ingredients more or less all at once, trying to add enough all-purpose flour to get the dough to the point where it only just forms a ball and leaves the bowl clean. Stickier is better than too dry, for the rising process. I let it knead in the mixer for 5 minutes, then let the dough rise until doubled at room temperature with a loose fitting tupper lid over the mixing bowl. (What is that business with letting dough rise in an 'oiled clean bowl'? Does anyone actually do that, and then you have to wash a whole another bowl?). When the dough is big and puffy, I punch it down, and form three equal strings that I lay into my french bread pan. It rises there again, for maybe 30 minutes while the oven preheats or something else is baking, and then I bake it at 400F, with the convection on, for 16 minutes. There, pretty quick and painless. And oh la la! Delicious!



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