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July 22, 2005

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anapestic

Back in the days when I made bread often and kept a pile of unglazed terra cotta tiles around to line my oven, I would cut the slits in my bread with a razor blade. They were always sharper than I could get any of my knives. I'm not sure they still sell one-sided single blades any more, but I used to store mine by slicing halfway into the cork from a wine bottle and pushing the sharp side into it so that the sharp edge was totally surrounded by cork and wouldn't cut me when I was reaching into the drawer to find something else.

Lindy

I'm afraid I've tried that with this bread too. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. This dough is seriously wet.

Floydm

The Peter Reinhart book you are talking about is probably The Bread Baker's Apprentice. That or Crust & Crumb.

In his early days he was big on putting extra stuff in his loaves, but the past 5 years of so he has gotten into the straight up artisan loaves. And, yes, Peter is an extraodinarily nice person.

Nice looking loaves.

Floydm

BTW, you should take a look at my site:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com

Many other bread nuts there.

Bakerina

Oh, Lindy, I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one who has, erm, issues about the bread in Pittsburgh. On my last trip out there, I bought bread from BreadWorks, Allegro Hearth, Mancini's (in the Strip, not in McKees Rocks -- I have been told that that makes a difference, but I will withhold judgment until I get to McKees Rocks) and Enrico Biscotti. Some of those loaves were better than others, but all of them would have benefitted from more time in the oven.

This is actually something that has driven me a bit berserk for years. When I took pro breadbaking classes at King Arthur Bread in Vermont three years ago, we were taught how to make the most perfect, dark, flaky, deep brown croissants. One of my classmates owned a bakery in North Carolina and she stated, point-blank, that there was no way she could sell it to her customers; she would get too many complaints about trying to sell burned goods. Our instructor said that it was all a matter of customer education, that if you put out samples of those croissants, or of a nice dark loaf, and explain that the flavors are more complex and fully realized when you achieve that level of color, but she still looked skeptical. Sigh.

One of these days I'll have to share with you the long boring story of how close I cam to opening a bread bakery in Lawrenceville. But that is for another time. :)

lindy

Bakerina! If only you had opened that Lawrenceville bakery, how happy and devoted a customer I would have been. sigh.

rmk129

There is a MAJOR error in your recipe...there should be 1 1/8 tsp salt, not 1/8 tsp!!! My baguettes tasted very bland :(

rmk129

I just reread the comment I made about your recipe error and I want you to know that I didn't mean it to be as negative as it reads!!! I just don't want anybody else to make the same mistake as I did.

Your instructions were fun to read and very helpful...as a matter of a fact, I'm going to try the recipe again tonight with an extra tsp of salt and hopefully it will work out better :)

By the way, before I tried making your recipe, I posted a link to your recipe in my blog on a bread-baking site (http://www.thefreshloaf.com) and it was feedback from the members there that made me realize the ingredient typo.

Happy baking!

lindy

rmk: It's not actually a typo on the blog per se. If Reinhart's book differs, then I made the mistake long ago, when I copied the recipe into my notebook from the library book! In my notebook, it is 1/8 tsp! So this is how I've always done it.

I'm not into very salty food though..by all means add more if it's too bland for you. I have added a note to the recipe to alert readers. thanks for letting me know, and good luck with your next batch.It is ridiculous bread to shape, I always use a ton of flour and often, scissors!

rmk129

Hi lindy! I don't have his book either, so maybe I'm the one who is mistaken after all??? But from what I have found in my internet searches etc., it seems like his original recipe was double this one and called for 2 1/4tsp of salt...

In any case, I just did up another batch of dough with the increased amount of salt. It is now the fateful time to wrestle (gently) with the gloopy dough, which is why I am revisiting your recipe page...to refresh my memory re: your instructions. Now I will remember to have my scissors handy and cover my counter with copious amount of flour.

I will need all the luck I can get with this ridiculous shaping process, but hopefully the eating rewards will be well worth the sticky struggle :)

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