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Poolish Play Part 2: Glory

Lotta pictures ’round here.

As I mentioned previously, if anyone can persuade me to rock the slow-rise bread, it’s Bertinet. Having let my lush, silken dough rise for 90 minutes, it was time for shaping. I took about two-thirds of the enormous dough the recipe produced and divided it into ten lumps. After a short rest, these lumps became noodles, all soft and squodgy:

Squidgy and snug

I’ll spare you the more phallic photos. You’re welcome. Then came another 90-minute rise. From kneading, these babies were rising for over three hours. You’d be amazed how quickly three hours flies past when you spend the whole time fantasising about how great your bread is going to be. (Also knitting and reading the Internet, but the fantasising made up a significant proportion.)

so patient...

After the second round of rising, it was in-the-oven time! This was a bit tricky: the shortage unique combination of trays in the house meant I had to come up with a way of getting ten baguettes into the oven, swiftly and without bending any of them, without being able to simply lay them out in neat distribution on flat trays. I managed, although I must admit, the ones on the bottom of the oven got a short, arresting lesson on the impact of oven racks on slow-rise dough (as did I). No matter.

Yes. YES.

See? No matter. These are the creme de la creme des baguettes: they rose, calm and uninterrupted, in a deep baking dish. Perfect. But I gotta tell ya: picking the best of this batch of baguettes was a bit academic. It was like trying to choose between…actually, I haven’t got a good metaphor for this. It was like trying to distinguish between 97.3% perfection and 97.5% perfection…except they were all perfect. Check out this crust:

Crust close up for your salivary stimulation

You see? That’s three baguettes, lined up. Could you pick one over the others? No, of course you couldn’t. I will say they could have done with deeper slashes: I sliced them all before putting them in the oven, but the razor is getting a bit dull and it’s hard to cut deep enough on the first slice. The result is that they bloom beautifully, but not quite enough and often burst out the sides as well (I have this problem with sandwich loaves, too):

Bursting through the crumb - bursting with WIN!

But so what? Don’t they look gorgeous?

Golden.

We just ate two baguettes for dinner (we had other stuff, too, but mostly the whole meal was built around the baguettes), and that picture still makes me hungry. I didn’t take a photo because I was busy stuffing my face, but the crumb is mega fine: the crust crunchy and light, the crumb soft and flavoursome. This is a fantastic dough.

Family photo! Everyone in! Bunch up!

Baguettes are beautiful. Baguettes are the new black. Baguettes are WIN. I’m so proud.

But the dough from Bertinet’s recipe doesn’t just make ten baguettes: it makes ten baguettes plus a loaf. Whatever happened to that guy? Stay tuned…

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