Bread

Baguettes for Comfort

Today I learned that an eye condition I only previously had in one eye (Uveitis) is in both of my eyes. This ailment began in my right eye over a decade ago, and now it’s in my left eye as well. Unfortunately it has left scars in my vision, so I see dark grey blobs that float around. My doctor said that my brain will get used to seeing them, and that I should give them names.

This has made me feel grateful for small things. I suddenly want to stay very close to home. Thoughts of getting a guide dog flashed through my mind, not that I necessarily need one, but a cuddly friend sounds very comforting and nice. The shadowy blobs play tricks on my brain. I think I’m seeing things sometimes, and most of the time it’s hard to focus.

Before all of this took place today, I was in the process of developing a perfectly orchestrated sourdough starter for making French baguettes. Today was the magical day that they were going to be completed. Coming home from the ophthalmologist with both eyes fully dilated was not going to stop me from my bread baking.

I used a special artisan blend of flour that is suited for French breads, a bakers couche, and a razor sharp lame to score the risen loaves. The results came out fabulously. Our home smells deliciously fragrant, and the bread made happy little singing noises with delicate crackles as I pulled each one from the oven. 

For dinner we’ll have the warm baguettes that we’ll dip in olive oil from the West Bank, and home made mushroom ravioli. I’m looking forward to that. Bread is such a blessing, and something that I have always enjoyed making. Thank goodness for small things that bring great comfort on dreary days. 

French Baguettes

  • Servings: 3 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A flavorful baguette with a crackly crust and delicate crumb.

The Night Before:

  • 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 C all purpose flour (I used King Arthur Artisan Blend)
  • 1/2 C warm water

The Next Morning:

  • 2 1/3 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 C warm water

Directions

  1. Mix second day ingredients into the starter from the night before. Gently knead the dough in bowl for just a minute, and then stopping to rest for 10 minutes in between.  Do this a total of four times.
  2. Divide the dough into three equal sections, and roll out with your palms gently into three long baguette shapes. Place them to rise on a baker’s couche, or on a dry, floured towel. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees, with a baking stone inside.
  3. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a flat cookie sheet.
  4. After one hour, gently flip the baguettes onto a baker’s peel or flat surface, so that you can easily transfer them onto the parchment lined cookie sheet. My cookie sheet has no sides so it’s easy to slide the baguettes off.
  5. Score with a sharp knife or baker’s lame. Place in the oven and throw a handful of ice cubes on the floor of the oven to let off steam.
  6. Bake for 17 minutes or until golden. Remove, and let cool for one hour. Storing them in a paper bag will help to keep the crust crisp.

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