Saturday, August 29, 2009

Did I Really Make That Baguette? . . . Yes Jane, You Really Did!

You may recall, as I've mentioned it once or twice in the past, that I'm not much of a yeast baker at all. My confidence level with any sort of baked goods requiring yeast has always been slightly below sea level. This is a little odd, seeing that my mother baked yeast breads with spectacular success for decades and I, of course, watched her many, many times. But let's face it . . . sometimes the apple does fall a bit far from the tree. Lately, though, I find myself with the desire to just plunge in and face my fear, and today's delicious baguette helped to boost my sagging confidence significantly.

Because this recipe is becoming extremely well known among home bakers, and because there are many details and bakers' reviews you might like to read should you decide to try it, I am just going to link to it rather than rewrite it in this post. It's the King Arthur Flour website's version of the "Almost No Knead Baguette" recipe that hails from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I don't yet own this book, nor have I ever even looked for it at the library, but after today's success with the aforementioned baguette, I might just have to shell out real cash-money to procure my own copy.

This is the easiest recipe, and the results were really good, especially for a first timer. It's the type of bread dough that you can leave in your fridge literally for days, and take portions of it out to let rise and bake as you need it. Supposedly, the bread's flavor and texture improves the longer it hangs around in the fridge. (That's some kinda miracle, I'm tellin' ya.) I made the dough on Thursday and used about one third of it to make a test baguette this afternoon. Dear readers: It smelled like real French bread! Its taste and texture were just right, and my family confirmed this by helping to eat it up. No, I wasn't hallucinating. It wasn't a dream. I felt like squealing, "Victory is mine!" from the front porch. But I controlled myself, and just smiled a lot instead.

Tomorrow is Sunday and my husband and I plan to try making Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon recipe (yeah, yeah, I know, just like the thousands of other folks out there who've recently seen the film "Julie & Julia"--but hey, you guys know I never claimed to be original!). A recipe like that is really more in his ballpark than mine, so I kind of hope he takes the reins as I tend to destroy meat unintentionally. While he's herding the boeuf, I will make another baguette tomorrow, to accompany that legendary dish. We'll see how it all turns out. I hope it's divine.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my pictures of the bread with you, and to urge you to think about trying the recipe, if you're at all like me . . . that is, if you've been a complete yeast-wimp for years and you're finally trying to get up the nerve to bust out. Was the bread perfect? No, of course not perfect, but that's okay. Afterall, perfection can be so boring. And this lovely little baguette was anything but boring.


P.S. The blog writer of Passionate About Baking recently made this bread too, and her glowing report, which I read earlier this week, helped give me the final incentive to give it a whirl. Many thanks to you, Deeba!

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