The "Gateau St Honoree" was the reason I start cooking.....
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"French bread abroad. Sold with an American accent," The Economist, September 27, 1997, U.S. Edition:
The baguette is unmistakably French. The baguette was invented during Napoleon's campaign in Russia. Traditional round loaves “boules” took up space needed for extra clothes. Napoleon therefore ordered a new shape of bread to be designed that could be carried down the soldiers' trouser-legs. The French word for baker is Boulanger, he who makes boules, or round loaves, not a "baguettier" who makes sticks. In fact changing baking technology was partly responsible for the baguette's introduction. By the 1920s most French bakeries were equipped with the steam ovens needed to caramelize the starch on the surface of the loaf to give it a golden, slightly translucent crust. In October 1920 a new law came into force that prevented bakers from working before 4am, which meant that they did not have time to bake a fresh boule for the breakfast table. They thus turned to the rapidly prepared baguette.
Baguette is the bread that I grew up with, it was and it is my normal everyday bread. Few years ago when we went to visit some friends in Paris, she used to buy for every meal few baguette: breakfast, lunch and diner...
This is why I enjoy so much to bake this bread...
I started a night before, to make patee fermentee , flour, yeast and scolded water. I kept it overnight in refrigerator, and take it out about one hour before I start making my french bread.
Start with patee fermentee from refrigerator, cut in about 10 pieces, to be warm up at room temp.
Add to these 10 pieces, flour, yeast, warm water, to make a dough
Add the paddle, to mix all the ingredient,
Add the hook attachment to kneed, and make a silky, smooth dough, after 10 minutes, medium speed.
The dough will rise double, after 2h, room temp.
Divide the dough in 3 equal portions, to make 3 loafs.
There are few shapes for french dough, most common is baguette, you press and pull the dough; then fold as a letter, and then you shape in a long form.The standard diameter of a baguette is approximately 2 inches but the bread itself usually about 23 inches, in length.
For the remnants we shape in the same way, but because is smaller,
it is called "battard".
There is another rise, one hour, in between plies of cloth, or parchment paper.
Raised, shaped, cut, egg washed (or not) and ready to bake:
375F, 30-40 minutes, depend how crusty you like the bread.
Baked to perfection, crusty and with butter is a real dream.... at least for me!!!