Monday, July 29, 2013

Sourdough Baguettes

How in the world do you say baguettes? I say it like it has a q instead of a g. I had to go search on the Internet even though I'm not giving this class in person. I found this fascinating site. It actually says it out loud instead of those confusing little squiggles above the letters. No big surprise, I have been saying it completely wrong. I'm not exactly from a culinary family. Meat and potatoes is all my father ever wanted, after all his family is from Idaho.

I've always loved to cook though I wasn't particularly good at it. With Mom seldom home and a girlfriend who's parent's gave us free rein in their kitchen, she had six younger brothers to eat the results, I cooked my way through childhood. But it wasn't until I was married to Kirk that I really discovered my love for food. For real food that had fresh wonderful natural flavors. This love has been spurred on as Kirk travels a few times a year to large cities with their wonderful selection of eats and he comes home with tales of tongue tickling delights.

We have learned to savor food. Something you just don't do with tator tot casserole or tuna fish casserole, staples when I was a kid. It is no wonder I put ketchup on everything including corn.

My parents still don't see what I see in food but that is okay. My husband LOVES to come home after a long and I mean long 14 hour day at work to a home cooked meal. Last night it was cube steaks dipped in egg and a mixture of dried bread crumbs, flour and salt and pepper fried up nice and crisp with a spicy Alfredo sauce on top. One where I used fresh cream, home bottled half dried tomatoes in olive oil and spices, a little butter, black pepper, basil, parsley, and lots of Romano and Parmesan cheese. A side dish of rice and another of green beans and yum, we were set for mouth watering fun.

This morning it was home-made cinnamon raisin bread and a fruit smoothy with home-made yogurt swirled inside. Yes, my family loves it when I live in the kitchen. Unfortunately at times it is feast or famine. It has been feast lately.

New excites mea and catalogues for cooking supplies that also give recipes are high on my list of good things. Two of the several new sourdough discoveries have come from them.  This makes my sourdough start especially happy with all the use.

1/2 cup (4 ounces) fed sourdough starter
3/4 cup ( 6 ounces) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups ( 10 1/2 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour

Being as this is a recipe from King Arthur Flour, they are recommending using their flour. I do love their bread pans and order their cake flour since it doesn't have those nasty extras in it, but I use Montana Wheat instead of their flour. I believe when possible and affordable to use local. Local may be a state a way since we aren't a big crop state but I want to encourage something so... basic as close as possible. Montana wheat all purpose comes in unbromeated and unbleached. I love how the cold harsh white is replaced with a warm light yellow without all the refining. I'm not a lover of white. Probably a hold over from childhood when I would scream whenever I saw someone in white, fearful that they were another doctor to poke and prod me.

Now for the instructions. These are from King Arthur Flour.
Combine all of the dough ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough. (This takes only a few minutes)

Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. Refrigerate, covered, for 12 to 18 hours.

This is where I left the recipe behind. Instead of making a baguette, I rolled the dough out into pizza circle on to parchment paper and let the dough rise for well over an hour. Wish I had timed it but the whole point of using this recipe as a pizza dough was the flexibility of it. Make the dough the day before and let the dough rise for an extended time while the busy evening routine took me away.

 I put all the toppings on knowing that livestock chores had been kept waiting and when I got home Kirk would have arrived. I called Kirk as he was traveling home and asked him to put the pizza stone in the oven to heat while I finished chores. I wasn't too sure how this all would turn out as I don't normally put tomato sauce on too soon as it makes the dough rather soggy.

I should not have worried because it came out nice and crisp on the bottom and not a bit soggy. The dough had a bit of chew just the reason why we love artisan bread. This is definitely a keeper as a pizza dough.

Now for what I was suppose to do.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each piece into a 15" to 16" baguette, and place on a lightly greased or parchment-linved baking sheet, or into a baguette pan. cover and let rise until very puffy, about 3 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the overn to 425 F.

Spray the baguettes with water and make three fairly deep diagonal slashes in each. ( I did not spray mine with water.)

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until baguettes are a deep golden brown. Remove from oven, and cool on a rack.

I went back and make the dough as baguettes too but still love it as pizza dough more. Definitely a keeper recipe. Give it a try and see what you think.

The roll you see next to the baguette is sourdough too but an entirely different recipe. I'll be sharing that one too. It is from the Cuisine magazine. As it has 2 cups of sourdough start in the recipe, it has a distinct sourdough flavor unlike the baguettes which is just a yummy bread. I liked the baguettes better and Kirk the sourdough rolls. To each their own so these two are going in my separate sourdough file for sure.  

Now to try sourdough overnight waffles and sourdough Ciabatta. Two new recipes awaiting my trial.

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