Beauty and the Baguette-Introducing the Emile Henry Baguette Baker

Hello Bakers.

I am so excited to let you know that this is my first blog post to include micro recipe videos!
These are so much fun to create. If they seem a little rough at first - please bear with me - a little more practice and all should be smooth and finessed.
Now for today's topic.....
A few months ago, the generous folks at Emile Henry sent me a baguette baker. I had been
borrowed the Bread Cloche from the Sur la Table Kitchen and was having great success.
I posted my photos online and Emile Henry picked up my threads.  They offered to send me the Baguette baker to experiment with - as a certified baguette obsessed baker - I could not have been more thrilled.
The baker came with a booklet of nice recipes but I felt they needed more hydration so I changed the formula so that the baguettes were at 73% hydration. They were not super easy to handle but a little flour on the hands goes a long way.
You don't need the Emile Henry Baguette to make these baguettes - but it really does a great job.
Put it on your wishlist baguette aficionados, You will love it.
Perfect Emile Henry Baguettes
238g Water – cool body temperature – about 90 degrees
325g Bread Flour – Unbleached (King Arthur or Gold Medal Better for Bread)
5g Instant Yeast
7g Salt

Large Bowl
Dough whisk or Stand Mixer fitted with the Dough Hook
Bowl Scraper
Proofing Bags
Emile Henry Bread Baker
A piece of parchment paper  - cut it 8x10”this will support the baguettes during proofing and also line the baker during baking. You may have to trim it to fit the lid.

**A Half Sheet Tray lined with parchment paper can also be used.  Lightly spray with pan spray or brushed with a thin film of vegetable oil.  (This prevents the dough from sticking if you have to shift the baguettes on the tray.)

1.       Combine the water and yeast in the mixing bowl – stir to combine, about 15 seconds.
2.       Add the flour and salt.
3.       Stir with the dough hook until the dough becomes a cohesive mass.  If using the mixer, mix on speed one for 3 minutes.
4.       Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a shower cap.

5.        Let sit for 45 minutes at room temperature.
6.       After 45 minutes give the dough a fold.  Using the bowl scraper and starting at the bottom of the bowl fold each edge toward the center. Then turn the dough over so the smooth side of the dough is facing you.
7.       Cover and let sit for another 45 minutes.
8.       Fold again – 3 folds is optimum as folding strengthens gluten and your baguettes with have more volume. But two folds will also produce good bread.
9.       After the second or third fold let the dough sit, covered for 10 minutes.
10.   Using your bench scraper, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Each piece should weigh about
190 grams.  Roll each piece into a short sausage shape (lightly flouring your hands if the dough is sticky. Cover and rest the dough for 15 minutes. This helps the dough relax so shaping the baguette is easier
11.   Shape the baguette as shown in the video clip.

EH Baguette Demo 02 from Colette Christian on Vimeo.
 Load the baguettes onto the baker.
12.   Place the baker in the proofing bag, add the cup of steaming water (3/4 full) and zip the bag shut.
Check after 20 minutes. They may take longer but this is a good point for the first check.

 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees conventional or 425 degrees convection.
13.   Your baguettes are proofed with they look like they have taken a breath and held it. In other words, they are slightly puffy, about a 1/4 larger then then were and have a slight marshmallow texture.  Because they are baking in the Emile Henry Baker – we are under proofing them slightly. They will finish proofing as the baker warms up.
14.   Remove them from the bag – let them sit for 5 minutes to form a slight skin – this makes them easier to slash.
15.   Sprinkle the tops with flour, spray them lightly with water and slash them on a strong angle 3-five slashes.

EH Baguette Demo 02 from Colette Christian on Vimeo.
16.   Pop the top on the baker, slide it into the oven.
17.   After 20 minutes, remove the top of the baker and let the baguettes bake uncovered for 5 more minutes. They should be an all over deep golden brown – if they are still light after 5 minutes bake them a few minutes longer.
18.   Remove the baguettes from the baker and cool on a rack.
Next assemble a plate of your cheeses and pates, invite your friends over, pour the wine and enjoy!
Baguette Party!
Baguettes have no shelf life so freeze leftovers, well wrapped. Thaw at room temperature for a few hours and then refresh them, in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes.
Happy Baking!

Beauty and the Baguette: Baking with a Fifty Year Old Starter

Hi Everyone,

Recently, one of my students, Tyler gave me some fifty year old sourdough starter. 
Yes, fifty years old and rocking strong.  We had about 12 ounces and we promptly named him "50 cent" after the rapper.
Tyler had been working at Chef Phillip Lee's restaurant "Scratch" on La Cienaga in Los Angeles. "50 cent" had been brought to the kitchen by one of the sous-chefs, Ryan.
50 cent had been in Ryan's family for fifty years. He looked and smelled great. He is the George Clooney of starters.

 When he arrived 50 cent was more bubbly and strong then my beloved starter, Sofia. Great care had been taken of him over the years. I was very impressed and delighted. A new family member - Sofia's long lost grandfather.

I began feeding him 50% filtered water and 50% Harvest King Bread flours I was instructed. At home, I use Gold Medal, Better for Bread to feed my starters and for my bread baking.
The other important thing I did was to bring a portion of 50 cent home - just in case something would happen to the refrigeration at work and I would lose him. 
I have some Sofia at home as well. I keep them both strong and healthy - it's important to always have a back up when you are working with sourdough at work.

Yesterday I made my first baguettes with 50 cent. They turned out great. The recipe is inspired by the River Cottage Bread Book.
The dough is very sticky but it needs to be for a good open crumb.
It can also be overnight fermented in the refrigerator to develop more flavor.

yield: 2 baguettes
330 grams water
3-5g instant yeast (use less if the starter is very active) (optional if your starter is very strong)
4 ounces starter 
500g bread flour
10g salt
1. Combine water, yeast and starter in the mixer bowl.
2. Add flour and salt.
3. With the dough hook on speed 2 mix the dough for 4 minutes until it clears the side of the bowl.
It may stick to the sides and the bottom of the bowl - resist the urge to add extra flour.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and stretch and fold a few times to smooth the dough.

5. Place the dough in a bowl, cover, and let rest for 45 minutes.
6. After 45 minutes, stretch and fold again. Repeat this process 3 more times.
7. Let the dough rest 10 minutes after the final fold and divide in half.
8. Shape into logs and let rest for 10 minutes, covered. **They were covered right after I took the photo.

9. Shape into baguettes, place on a parchment lined floured sheetpan or in an oiled baguette tray.
10. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
11. Place the baguettes in the proofing bag with a mug of steaming water.

12. Let proof until the baguettes have risen about 1/3 and have a marshmallow texture. The baguettes are proofed when you gently squeeze the sides of the baguette and you finger indentation does not spring back.
13. Dust the baguettes with flour, slash the baguettes (5 slashes are typical) and lightly spray the surface with water.
14. Place the baguettes in the hot oven and spray the oven door with a light mist of water.
15. Check at 25 minutes. The baguettes should be golden brown and feel light when you pick them up.
Use a towel or a oven mitt as they are hot. They will probably need a 5-7 minutes more baking time.
If the baguettes are getting too dark, turn the oven temperature down 25 degrees.
Let them cool and enjoy.
Happy Baking!