I had time during the week-end to make the French Bread - Baguettes for the Bread Baker Apprentice Challenge. These baguettes are made of a pâte fermentée (which improves flavor and structure) that sits in the fridge overnight. The next day your mix your pâte fermentée with flour, salt, yeast and water and after a two hours rest you shape your baguettes. Shaping baguettes was really easy and I enjoyed this process. For my couche I did not have a canvas cloth so I used parchment. After shaping you let them proof at your temperature for another 75 min. Them you bake them in a very hot oven over a baking stone for best results.
These baguettes went well with the Penne Alla Vodka that I made for Dinner last night. They are lacking salt and I did not get any big holes but the crust was crusty and tasty. I will continue to experiment with different recipes for baguettes. Maybe I'll try Julia's Child baguettes next time.
I am enjoying baking from Peter Reinhart's book. The recipes are easy to follow, great explanations. I did get great results so far. I am improving my bread baking techniques and learning so much.
Baker's Couche: is a canvas cloth used to proof (ferment) the dough. The surface absorbs the extra moisture in the dough giving the bread a thick crispy crust which is a characteristic of French bread. This is best if you want to perfect your bread like the French do and get a nice thick crust.
Slashing: Since some people are asking about my slashing I did use a really sharp small blade, did slash my baguettes about 3/4 inch deep, just before baking. I did 4 long slashes per baguette.