Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mixed-Starter Bread - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 70th installment. The recipe is Mixed-Starter Bread.

This recipe was a French-style bread dough, made in several stages over two days.  It was delicious, and kept quite well, which I find is the case when the bread has a slower start and rise. You start with a small piece of dough, soak it in water, and add add a small amount of flour, and that is the first starter.  It rises for eight hours, at which point you put that starter into water, soften it for a few minutes and then add another small amount of flour.  This rises for four hours.  

At this point, it is very liquid and bubbly:

Now it's time to turn it into dough, with a small quantity of yeast (just 1/2 teaspoon), plenty of flour and salt.   This rises for 1.5 hours, and then you can shape and have the final rise before baking.  I tried several shapes - the basic baguette, the "wheat ear" (having not watched the video, I was just winging it in terms of the cuts to make the shape!) and the mini "Pain Fendu", with a channel down the middle, kind of baking up like two skinny short baguettes.  Here they are, on the peel, after rising, and before going in the oven:
Baked it on the baking stone, with a cast iron skillet of water in the oven, per the directions.  We really liked the bread!  I'm not sure if it's better than the speedier French bread recipe we did earlier - I'd need to try them side-by-side to know for sure.
I was glad the recipe included a time table, so I was guided on how to split this over the two days.  It wasn't a lot of hands-on time, but I did need to be time conscious in order to keep on top of getting the steps done without staying up too late the first night.

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