Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Poolish Baguettes (BBA Challenge)

As I continue baking my way through Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice I can't help but wonder how many of us are still participating in the BBA Challenge. Our group started out with over 200 bread bakers, but recently it seems that many have fallen by the wayside. I realize that some have chosen to work at a slower pace and that's wonderful, but I'm even starting to wonder if our leader Nicole is still active in the challenge. Nicole.... are you still with us?

This week I tackled the poolish baguette recipe. Poolish is just a sponge consisting of flour, water and yeast made the day before the final bread dough is mixed together. Confession time. I was due to feed my sourdough starter, so instead of mixing up a poolish I just used part of my starter. I figured it had to be very similar to a poolish and I don't think any texture or flavor of the finished product was compromised. The only difference I noted was that I had to use a few more tablespoons of water than was directed to get the final dough to come together properly.

My biggest thrill regarding this particular bread? I got to use my new baguette pan... and I love it! No more juggling fully proofed loaves onto a peel and then onto the baking stone. And just look at the neat texture on the bottom of the loaf. Isn't that awesome?

The crumb could have been just a little more open, but I thought the taste was divine. And I keep thinking as I get more practice I may even get this scoring business down pat one day. At this point however, I still stink at it...LOL!

Next week it's Portuguese sweet bread. I'm thinking some spinach dip is also going to have to be made to go with that delicious bread.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow,it looks like the ancient endearing term of "little brick bastards' for loaves is just an ancient memory! Wtg! Simply amazing!!! ;);)

lakegirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lakegirl said...

Your baquettes look beautiful. We just used poolish in my cooking class Tuesday night. I'd never heard of it before, now here it pops up again. You're right, I think it's similar to sourdough starter. Funny how sourdough starter seems to be making a comeback lately!

Rosemary & Garlic said...

I am looking forward to these, ship your baguettes pans to TX would you? Did you get them at KA? The dough transfer to the hearth like oven is frightening for me.

SallyBR said...

Great baguettes! I have those pans, somehow don't put them to use, shame on me!

I'll give them a try next time - it's just that they don't work with my method of steaming the bread during baking.

I look forward to your Portuguese sweet rolls...

Barbara Bakes said...

Your bread is gorgeous! I'm a bit jealous of your new pan! I've had better luck with a razor blade for scoring. I got one at the hardware store with a cover.

Moogie said...

I can smell the heavenly aroma clear to Georgia.

June said...

Ohh...I can smell the aroma too. Good job! They look beautiful Mags and I absolutely love yor new pans, in fact I covet your new pans. I used to make baguettes fairly often a long time ago when I first got my KitchenAid and used a box cutter to score - you know the ones with the snap off blade? Worked like a darn.

Alyssa said...

I'm currently 'stuck' at the flavored breads, but you make me wish I was further along. Your baguette is beautiful, and I envy your use of your new pan. What a great tool.

stephchows said...

those look 100% professional!!!! I think I need to hire you to bake me bread every day... although I'd be much rounded if I did that :D

Frieda said...

Congrats on a great bread and for sticking with the BBA ~ I just got back from vacation and recovering from a cold...then I'll jump back on the BBA. I'm sure there are many others still plugging along ~

Mags said...

Anon (Bob & Lynn?): I know! Isn't it crazy how far I've come?

lakegirl: In just a few weeks I'll be hitting the sourdough segment of Bread Baker's Apprentice. I'm really looking forward to it as I've never really worked with starter before all this.

Rosemary: I got the baguette pan from Amazon. I've edited my post and now you can link right to the page the pan is on.

Sally: I think this pan just might keep me in the bread baking business. I was getting so frustrated with the transfer of the loaves to the oven.

Barbara: I need to try a razor blade again to see if that helps. I've been using one of those little tools specifically for scoring bread and it's just not doing the trick.

Moogie: You need to come visit and we'll sit a spell and eat a slice (or two!)

June: You too need to come visit and share a loaf (and a bottle) with me!

Alyssa: I can remember getting very tired of the enriched breads and so excited to get past them.

Steph: Rounded...lol. I would know, I've become VERY well-rounded!

Frieda: Great! I'm so glad to hear that you're still doing the challenge!

Cathy (breadexperience) said...

Great job! Your baguettes look fabulous! I've been wondering the same thing about the other BBA participants. I'm sure they'll jump back in when they can. You're two breads ahead of me but I'm still plugging right along. Happy Baking!

Cindy said...

Wonderful crumb on your baguettes. I was thinking about getting some pans. They look like they work quite well. I also heard of this tool called a super peel (www.superpeel.com) that helps you load the dough onto your stone. It looks kind of cool. Check it out.

I have also been wondering about the rest of our group. I guess life got in the way of bread.

Mags said...

Cathy: Thanks! Glad to hear that you're still baking away!

Cindy: OMG...I have to have one of those superpeels! I think that just may be the answer.

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction said...

Pretty... I just bought one of those baguette pans a few weeks ago, but the bread I have attempted to make looks *nothing* like yours (and nothing like bread, frankly). I'm thinking you should come over hear and teach me how to make bread.

Anonymous said...

Your baguettes look wonderful. I've been fooling around with the poolish starter for the last couple of weeks. It really seems to make a difference in the flavor but also in the amount of yeast needed to raise the dough. I also got tired of messing with using a knife to (poorly) score the bread, so I used my kitchen shears (dipped in water). The top smooshed a little, but it sprang back in the oven quickly. I want your pans!

Lady P said...

man those pans are just spiffy as can be! i think you are doing simply marvelous at this bread making business
but you still had me with the panetonne

Mags said...

Jen: I'd be more than happy to do that! And you could show me how to take pictures! (cuz I think your photos are just so lovely.)

Anon: I love the kitchen shears idea. I'm definitely going to give that a go.

Lady P: Thanks! I'm pretty proud of myself for having come this far. A year ago I knew absolutely nothing about baking bread.

misterrios said...

My! Aren't we far ahead of everyone! Glad to see you are still charging through along with our dwindling group. But remember that there is no time limit on the challenge- otherwise I would make two a week just to be done with it!

I think the problem with scoring lies with your hesitation to take a blade to those suckers. If not, then it's all about the surface tension of the dough.

Nevertheless, I bet that by the end, you will have beautifully scored breads, even though these are as beautiful as they come.

Mags said...

misterrios: Thanks for the tips and for commenting. I think I may just back off the challenge for awhile and wait for those who are still in the challenge to catch up.

Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks) said...

I've never seen a baguette pan before. How cool!

ap269 said...

These baguette pans are great, aren't they?! I've been owning one for a short time, too, and I'm really happy about this purchase. Wasn't too happy with my poolish baguettes, though, because the crumb wasn't open and the taste was kinda bland. But the scoring worked like a charm! http://springhin.de/4N2bB