"Local Breads" - Baguette Normal

I usually always make the same breads over and over again - not of course that there’s anything wrong with that.  I’ve just made about 10 recipes from my three books – Local Breads, Daniel Leader; The Bread Bakers Apprentice, Peter Reinhart and The Art of Handmade Bread, Dan Lepard – plus some I’ve gotten from this website (thanks everyone), over and over again.  So I thought I’d change my approach and start at the beginning and work my way through the books.  There will be some that I make more than once, but I’ve decided I can’t skip forward in the book, I can only remake ones I’ve made in my progression through the book.


I’m starting off with Daniel Leader’s Local Breads, as it’s the one I seem to use the most often anyway.  His book covers yeasted and sourdough breads from France, Italy, Germany Czech Republic and Poland.  Luckily there are a LOT of sourdough recipes included, and a lot of recipes using different types of flour.  And since I haven’t actually made yeasted bread, it’ll be a good experience trying something other than sourdough.


Since I haven’t been able to make bread for a few months (broke my patella at the beginning of May, and haven’t been able to stand for long enough to make bread and clean up afterwards!), I am very happy to be able to start again!  Thankfully, even though I’ve only fed my starters (liquid, firm and rye) 3 times over the past 3 months, they are as happy as can be and have come roaring to life each time I stoked them up!


So up first – Parisian Daily Bread (Baguette normal)


This is a very simple yeasted bread - just flour, water, yeast and salt – no preferment, no mucking about, just make the dough, ferment, shape, proof and bake.  It’s amazing how quickly a nice loaf of bread can be made (especially when you’re used to working with sourdough!).


Recipe:  68% water / 100% AP flour / 1% yeast / 2% salt


Everything is mixed together then left to autolyze. 

I like to knead the dough as suggested by Dan Lepard – kneading on an oiled surface, 10-15 quick kneads then cover and leave to sit for 10 minutes; repeat 3-4 times by which time the dough is nice, smooth and elastic (I don’t have a mixer and do everything by hand).  Leave it to ferment, give it a fold after about 45mins, and let it ferment for about another 45-60mins.  Shape into baguettes (or in my case batons) or petits pains (rolls).  My loaves were about 285g each and my rolls 80g.  Proof for about 30-40 mins then bake at 250C for 15-20mins (with a handful of ice cubes thrown in at the start).


This makes a surprisingly tasty, light loaf with not a bad crust considering its simplicity.  Lack of retardation means it hasn't got a nice crunchy crust, but the quick and easy part makes up for it's downfalls.  I’ve made it a few times now, and have just made dough with 1kg flour shaped into 4 batons and 7 rolls. 

I shaped the rolls like German semmel (a small knot), which I used to buy religiously for breakfast when living in Munich.


So for this basic yeasted bread the verdict is easy peasy and enjoyed by everyone I’ve given them to!