Monday, October 23, 2006

Fae Fae loves the baguettes, Dada

I had told the monkey that we would be mixing up some sourdough this morning, and that we would bring the dough and baguette pan with us to Grandmas. "Oh yeah, Fae Fae loves the baguettes Dada!" I've been wanting to work on shaping and slashing techniques and figured I could bake 'em at mom's and leave one there since free, fresh baked bread is usually appreciated when left at other homes. When we started mixing up the ingredients the monkey requested that we have Fae Fae up on the board to supervise (I think she wanted her to help and this was my compromise.)

We went with a pretty standard ingredient list: starter, flour, water, oil and salt, and gave it the typical kneading and beating treatment. The monkey is becoming quite adept at folding over the dough and beating it down with both hands saying (loudly) "smack, smack, smack." When our supervisor approved the work, we put it in an oiled ceramic casserole dish and transported it to Grandma's house. There we let it rise, punched it down, stretched it into rectangles of a sort on a floured board, and jelly-rolled it into two baguettes, placing them onto our pan. When they had risen sufficiently, we painted melted smart balance on it and sprinkled them with poppy, sesame and fennel seeds. Just before placing in the oven (425 for 15 minutes) they were slashed with a lame, one with three, one with four slices, to narrow in on cooking differences and presentation options.

I think I prefer the four slashes, it looks a tad more professional, but the three slash method allowed for a little greater loft in the loaf near the cuts. When they came out of the oven, they both looked great, and we were all salivating and couldn't wait for them to cool a touch before cutting them. Grandma said "I'm running to the store to get some cream cheese to go with that bread and the leftover smoked trout (one of the undocumented experiments from the previous week) in the fridge." Now that, I can wait for.

We sliced into it, revealing a fluffy interior with plenty of bubbles arranged in a slight spiral. Perfect. Grandma constructed open face sandwiches and we noshed on them until stuffed. Mmmmmm. Almond smoked trout on a fresh baguette with a healthy smear of cream cheese. One word: heaven.

And yes, Fae Fae approved of the meal, even getting a crumb or two on her snout.

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