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first_rise

 

After several years of looking, I finally found fresh yeast for sale.  It is sold in 1 Kg blocks for about NZ$3.50.  I won’t be able to use it all before it gets old, so I need to find out the best way to store fresh yeast.  Can you freeze fresh yeast? Will it keep better, longer, if I cut it into smaller blocks and freeze individual portions?  Anybody have experience storing fresh yeast?  I will need to investigate…

preshape

 

I have wanted to make baguettes for a while now and decided I might as well just jump in and do it.  I have never attempted to make baguettes, but the best way to learn is hands on.

second_rise

The shaping technique is straight forward, it just takes practice to perfect…

scored

Soon, it will be time to bake again.  “La Vérité Sort Du Four/The truth comes out of the oven.” – Raymond Calvel

baguette

 

Not too bad for my first attempt at baking baguettes.

Bertinet’s Standard White Bread Dough
Ingredients
500g strong white bread flour (unbleached)

10g fresh yeast

10g fine sea salt (grind flaky sea salt down to something a bit finer in a mortar and pestle)

350g water (weigh it on a scale)

Method
1. In a medium bowl, add flour and rub yeast into flour with your hands.  If the yeast is fresh, it should crumble quite easily.
2. Add salt to the bowl and mix well.
3. Add water to dry ingredients and stir with a plastic scraper until no dry is left.  Dough will be wet.  Clean and dry bowl.
4. Turn dough out onto clean bench and knead with Bertinet’s Slap & Fold technique until dough is supple and well developed.
5. Shape dough into ball and place back into bowl, cover, and place in a warm place until dough doubles in size.
6.  Place pizza stone into oven and pre-heat oven to 240°C.
7. Dust counter with flour and help dough out of the bowl (do not punch down the dough!).  Stretch dough into rough rectangular shape and fold long edges into center and lightly press to seal.  Then, fold in half again and seal edge to form a log.
8. Divide dough into 3 equal portions (us a scale).
9. Do not add more flour to the bench.  Pre-shape each portion into a log by gently degassing the dough and stretching dough into a rectangular shape.  Fold each long edge into the center, then fold in half again lengthwise to form a log.
10. Bench rest for 10 minutes.
11. Starting with the first pre-shaped dough, spread out the dough, seam side up, gently flatten, and once again fold in half along the long edge to form a long cylinder.
12. With both hands together, place palms over top of log and gently roll on counter, stretching dough into elongated shape, pinching the ends to a point.
13. Place shaped baguettes onto a well floured couche, seam side down, cover, and allow to rise until almost double.
14. Place baguettes onto lightly floured peel and score baguettes with a sharp blade in quick, confident motions (otherwise the dough will stick and drag).
15. Quickly open oven door and spray water into oven.  Close the door.
16.  Launch baguettes onto pizza stone and spray a few more times into the oven before you close the door.
17.  Lower the oven temperature to 220°C and bake for about 12-14 minutes, until baguettes are nicely browned.
18.  Remove baguettes and cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy!
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