One of the first recipes I’d like to master is the basic dough for batards which I thought would be a great place to start. As a disclaimer, my posts will not include recipes to the bread as they can be viewed in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook.
Initial thoughts: I began making the “Poolish” at 12pm two days ago thinking that I could work on the bread after it was ready. I then realized it takes 12-15 hours for the Poolish to be “complete” so to speak so I wouldn’t be able to make the bread that same day unless I wanted to be up until 6am. I researched online that you can keep a Poolish in the refrigerator for a day or two and then use it when ready, which is what I did this time so we’ll see how the final product turns out.
I made sure to read through the entire recipe after my first mishap to make sure I was ready for the next steps. The fermentation process takes 3 hours and right now I am in hour 2. The dough is sticky to the touch. The recipe in and of itself is very basic and easy but I fear the most difficult part will be actually shaping the dough and then figuring out how I’m going to bake it without a baking stone.
Fermenting-Shaping-Proofing: What. A. disaster. I think I didn’t stretch the dough enough during fermentation so what I ended up with was a blob of dough that would just not take shape after 3 hours of fermentation. When I was pre-shaping it, the dough kept sticking to everything and my board and made a huge mess. Shaping it was a bit better than the pre-shape since I had added a little more flour but I couldn’t get the batard shape that I had seen both in Bouchon Bakery and on King Arthur’s youtube videos. I let it proof for about 55 minutes (since I’m running out of time- I started at around 2pm and it is now 7pm) and then stuck it in the oven.
Baking- Finished Product: I don’t have a baking stone so instead I used a sheet pan that had been heating up in the oven. Right when I put the batards in the oven I added a cup of ice to the deeper pan I had kept on the bottom rack. I read that this is a simpler way to release steam vs the method in Bouchon Bakery cookbook which calls for a halfsheet pan, river stones, a 10 ft metal chain (da fuq) and a super soaker. Ain’t nobody got time for that. p.s. I forgot to score the dough
Results: Oh wow!! Took the two loaves over to my cousin Lesley’s to try it out and we were both impressed by how good it was!! The crust could have been a little bit more “crusty” but the texture of the bread itself was super mocchiri and dense and the aroma and flavor of the bread was spot on. So freaking good. I’m amazed at how well it turned out! The shape and look of the bread was way off but the flavor and texture was great (for what I like and prefer). May not be the authentic baguette people are looking for, but focusing on Japanese breads, this would be a big hit I think. Between the two loaves, I kneaded the thinner one twice and the fat one once. The thinner one had more holes in the end product but I preferred the denseness of the fatter loaf.
The photo of the loaves is EMBARRASSING but I figured, I need to be honest with how baking goes for first timers right?? lol.
My cousin took one look at the loaf on the left and was like, “Wow…looks like one of those…silk worms..or something…” T_T