French Bread Trials – #1

French Bread Trials – Entry #1

I bought a Cuisinart(R) Food Processor – a truly amazing device, by the way – and decided to get the one with all of the “bells and whistles” because it had the dough blade. I enjoy baking bread, so the dough blade had been a huge selling point for me. I was even more excited when I discovered that my new food processor came with a French bread recipe! We’d been buying baguettes every week – wouldn’t it be awesome if we could DIY it?

I could hardly wait to give the recipe a try, so I checked the ingredient list and on Saturday morning I was up early and ready to go. Despite my penchant for experimentation, I tend to be more cautious when baking – after all, that’s not just science, it’s chemistry. Since it was my first time using the food processor AND the first time trying French bread I chose to follow the recipe precisely.

I was terrified as the dough came together. It was so dense that I feared the food processor was going to hop right off of the counter and the spices that usually rest serenely on the back of my stove were falling all over themselves to escape. It was all I could do to stabilize it, and by the time it was done, I wondered if it had over heated and if its first task might actually be its last. Yet, in the end, as the dough was rising beautifully, and everything was returned to order, I began to have hope.

The loaves were quite beautiful – the photo above is one of them – and the flavor was nice as well, but the bread was rather dense, more like a really nice white bread rather than the chewy, airy bread you expect to find within the crunchy crust of a nice baguette.

And so my experimentation began. I looked at several baguette recipes – one even suggested that you should putter about with the dough for 3 days before you bake it. Perhaps French bakeries have that sort of time, but somehow I suspect they have much more time effective methods of producing these fabulous staples.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and share the “final” recipe. Wish me luck…

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