La Baguette Modified

In a recent post in C&Z, Clotilde states: "Very rarely do I repeat a recipe.".

I, and most of the world, adore Chocolate and Zucchini but food blogs are not created equal; this site is the antithesis of C&Z. If Clotilde were the pastry maker, I would surely be the stereotypical moody baker in the oven-heated cellars baking from midnight till dawn. My baguette is the recipe (or what I refer to as process) that motivates me the most. That loaf is our dominant food staple and the bread I have the most pride in, despite using yeast rather than a starter.

The prep for it is not as constant as one might think, however. I'm constantly tweaking it and adapting it to a changing lifestyle. I'll be making some modifications to the post soon, but the significant changes are:

1. I use 2-3 grams of fat per 500 g dough. This is to impart tenderness to the interior while maintaining a razor sharp exterior crust. I switched from butter to vegetable shortening for this and am getting an even better texture. Originally, this was done to accomodate a friend's milk allergy, but, it turned out so well I adopted it as a permanent practice. This additive is unconventional, but, in such small concentration, I consider it "catalytic".

2. I'm starting to use the refrigerator for the first rise. I can now prep the dough a day or 2 ahead and when I want to bake the loaf, I warm it up by squashing it into a flat disc (to maximize the exposed surface area and hence have it warm up faster), letting it rest, and then molding it into a baguette shape for the final proof. This means we can have a fresh baguette for our meal an hour in the door. Frankie loves the warm middles and we like the crust. Win-win. Details will be added to the baguette post in due time.