Baking Bread (Baguette, Buttertoast)

I was out of bread. Not a big issue if you have yeast, flour and salt in the house. And a faucet. Earlier on this blog, I have written about Bo Friberg’s French Baguette. While that tastes totally amazing, it’s a kind of “fancied up” version of French baguette, in my opinion. The baguette that I learned from my master in Germany really only needs yeast, flour, salt, water. Want the formula? (Woohoo, novelty, a recipe on my blog!!!)

  • 100% Bread Flour
  • 2% Dry Yeast
  • 2% Salt
  • 70-73% Water

That’s it. Using the sponge method (dissolve the yeast in about half the water, add half the flour, mix, let rest, then add remaining water and flour, knead, add salt at the very end), we get a very soft, moist dough that is very hard to knead by hand (because it’s sticky!). Stand mixer recommended!

Make up into equal sized “ropes” and let them proof on a kitchen towel. Transfer on a pizza peel (or the likes), using a knife, cut the top a couple times and stick in the (hot! ~480ºF) oven (on a baking stone!). Use steam for the first 10 minutes.

This is what my latest attempt looked like:

Well, I’m still working on the crust appearance. And I need a better knife. My old bread knife doesn’t really cut the soft dough. That’s a job for the good old Swiss serrated paring knife (which I haven’t found in a local store, yet)!

At least, the crumb isn’t too bad. The holes could be bigger, but it’s nicely risen, moist and white. Earlier attempts in my career have been flat, dry, and gray on the inside. So, this version is definitely a step further in my mastery of French Baguette (which, according to my master, is one of the hardest challenges in baking).

Another kind of bread that I learned to bake in Germany is “Buttertoast.” That’s just simply white sandwich bread, with a nice amount of butter in the dough. Ah, you want this formula, as well? Sure, why not.

  • 100% Bread Flour
  • 4.5% Light Brown Sugar
  • 2.5% Dry Yeast
  • 2% Salt
  • 12.5% Butter
  • 60% Whole Milk

Again, use the sponge method to get a nice texture. Let the sponge ferment for 30 minutes, add the remaining ingredients, knead until gluten is developed (window test, or just look at/touch the surface of the dough). Let rest for 20 minutes, knead by hand to work out big air bubbles. Make up, pan and proof for 20-30 minutes. Brush with whole milk, slice the top lengthwise and bake at 395ºF for 35-40 minutes. You might have to turn down the heat halfway through or cover the bread to prevent excessive browning.

Ah, yes, pictures:

I would recommend using 500g bread flour, I used 600g, that’s a little too much for a regular loaf pan. Also, I did not work the dough enough. You can see that at the top, there are still a couple of larger air bubbles. Make sure to really beat the dough up and get that air out!

After baking, slice into half inch slices and freeze. Can be toasted out of the freezer. If you try the recipes, please let me know how they worked out for you!

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~ by Benedikt on September 17, 2010.

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