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!

Flaky Buttery Biscuits, Starring the Best Butters!

Hello Bakers,

In the past few weeks, I have gotten several requests for a good biscuit recipe.
This led me to think that maybe biscuits would be a great blog post.
The following biscuit recipe is a particular favorite.
It is quick and easy, uses milk not buttermilk and uses only baking powder -
making it very accessible to the baker who wants to get some hot and delicious
biscuits on the table - without having to think about ingredients.

Most of us have milk and baking powder in our kitchens and if you are reading this
blog - you most likely have unbleached all purpose flour (King Arthur) in your cupboard as well.
This recipe uses butter - pure unsalted delicious butter.

This is one of those recipes where the butter flavor is the star.
Often I am asked by students "when do you use a premium butter and when is a regular unsalted
butter OK to use in your baking?"
When butter is the predominant flavor - spend up and get the good stuff.
Recipes like biscuits, pie crust. croissants, puff pastry, quick puff pastry and butter cookies (like shortbread) are all better with made with premium butter - after you have mastered the technique of that particular recipe.
Use a supermarket butter when the recipe has lots of sugar, chocolate and other flavors - cakes,
muffins and brownies are good examples of where I would use Trader Joe's unsalted butter.

In these biscuits, I used unsalted  Plugra which is a delicious European Style butter.
Another one of my favorite brands of butter is Challenge Butter.
Challenge Butter is local to California and never uses milk from cows that have been treated with rbST.
Kerrygold is another delicious choice but needs to be cubed and frozen first. Kerrygold cows are grass fed which is why their butter softens up so quickly.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and add it to your repertoire - it will surely make your loved ones smile
to see hot biscuits on the table for dinner.
BTW - they are also great with sausage gravy. Yum!
P.S. You can easy cut the recipe in half - that's why I wrote it in grams. :)
Happy Baking!

Flaky Buttery Biscuits
     Oven 400 conventional or 375 convection
      Pan Prep:
Line a sheet tray with parchment paper
Makes 18 2” biscuits

450g unbeached all purpose flour
8g salt
22g granulated sugar
18g baking powder
180g unsalted butter – cubed and keep cold
270g (ml) milk  Sift all the dry ingredients together.

1.       Cut in the butter – the mixture should look like corn flakes.  A plastic bowl scraper works great for this.

2.       Add the milk.
3.       Combine working the flour into the liquid, push the liquid into the flour with the bowl scraper,
against the side of the bowl. This is how you build layers.

The mixture will begin to come together and there should be no floury residue on the bottom of the bowl.

4.       Transfer the dough to a work surface andf fold a few times until it comes together – do not overwork.
5.       Roll out the dough to 1/2-5/8” thickness. Cut with a floured cutter and place the biscuits on the lined sheet pan.

6.       Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up the fat.
7.       Brush the tops with a little milk – this keeps the crust soft.
8.       Bake at 400 until the tops are light brown – start checking in 12-14 minutes.
9.       They should be golden brown and delicious. Make sure to pick one up carefully – make sure they feel light.
Leftover biscuits can be frozen for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature for several hours and then refresh in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.

Homemade Bagel: All of the Deliciousness, None of the Junk!

Hello Bakers,

How many of you have been disappointed by supermarket bagels or even chain bagels?
I know I have been - driven by desperation to grab a fluffy processed bagel or a bag of them.
I used to try to convince myself that these things would be ok once they were toasted but
they aren't. Nothing is as delicious as a well made bagel.
Bagels are easy for us to make at home. Bagels rise (or ferment) only one time. Then they are poached, shaped and baked.
They can be topped with anything or nothing. The choice is yours.
Bagels are also a fun project to make with kids. They especially enjoy the shaping and the eating.
My culinary students turn into kids on bagel day - the only thing that makes them happier then
making bagels is making cinnamon rolls.
Another plus for bagels is that the baking time is short compared to other yeasted breads making a bagels a natural choice for summer baking.
Homemade bagels freeze for up to one month.

My go to bagel formula comes from Michael Kalanty's excellent book "How to Bake Bread",
published by Red Seal Books.
If you enjoy making bread and you do not have this book order it immediately.
This is the book.

I use this book as a textbook in my Artisan Bread Class at the Art Institute of Hollywood. All of the breads in the book are delicious and more importantly, they all work perfectly.
Chef Kalanty is a friend and colleague of mine and it is with his permission that I can pass the formula
on to you.
My only change is that I add a little more honey to the liquid the bagels are simmered. Years ago, I took a field trip to Montreal to study bagel making and noted that the bagels were boiled in a honey and water mixture.
When I asked the bakers how much honey was added to the water, they told me enough to make it look like weak tea.
There are two great cities for bagels in North America, one is New York and the other is Montreal
If you do not live in New York or Montreal you only option is to master the recipe that follows and make your own.

Bagels -
(Formula reprinted with permission from the author and publisher)

This recipe yields 12 - 4 ounce bagels
It is best scaled in grams.

A stand mixer with a dough hook attachment
or a a dough whisk and a good sized mixing bowl.
A baking sheet lined with parchment brushed with vegetable oil
A large pot filled 1/3 of the way with water. Add enough honey to the water so that it looks like
weak tea.
Skimmer or Spider for fishing your bagels out of the boiling water
XL Ziploc bag for proofing, cup for hot water
Oven Temperature: 375 degrees

505g water (cool body temperature)
5g Instant yeast
10g sugar
15g canola oil or non-olive vegetable oil
450g Bread Flour (I use King Arthur Bread Flour or Gold Medal Better for Bread)
15g salt

Optional toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes, kosher salt.
You can also make an everything mix with equal parts sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, garlic flakes, onion flakes and kosher salt.

1. In a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, yeast, sugar, oil, flour and salt.
2. Mix on speed one for about 4 minutes until the dough reaches "clean up" stage.
3. Increase to speed two and mix for 3 more minutes. You may here the dough slap against the side of the mixer bowl. In bagel speak this is referred to as the dough being "bucky".
4. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and knead it briefly by hand.
5. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl and place in a warm spot to rise.
If you are a devotee of my Ziploc bag technique - place the bowl in the bag with a large cup filled 3/4s of the way with steaming water. Zip the bag shut and let the bagels ferment for 1 hour.
The ideal proofing temperature is 80 degrees.
6. After an hour, gently degas the dough and divide it into 4 ounce (114g) pieces.
7. Shape the pieces into rough torpedo shapes and let rest on your work surface, covered, for 15 minutes.

8. Turn the heat on under your pot of honey water - bring it up to a simmer.
9. Roll the bagels into a strand about 12-14" long. Join the ends by overlapping them. Roll over the join with the palm of your hand.
10. Once all the bagels are shaped poach the bagels in the simmering water for 20 seconds on each side. Place them on the oiled baking sheet about 2" apart.
11. Sprinkle with desired toppings. If the tops of the bagels become dry, spray them with a little water so your toppings will stick.
12. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
13. When the bagels are done they are an overall golden brown. They should not feel heavy or look pale. If they do bake for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Happy Baking!