I woke up this morning and god forbid, I decided I’d go for the holy grail of home baking: the ever-elusive baguette. However the day was a rollercoaster and I ended up away from my dough for a few hours (I went to the local bakery to buy some cake, ended up having brunch there and drinking lots of café au lait, eating croissant aux amandes and chatting with the owner). The kids were really loud today so we went to the park. And when we finally got home, I remembered -- MY BREAD!
No time to panic. I shaped the dough and placed it into folds of linen (first time I try this technique), cursing a lot in the process and dropping flour on the freshly cleaned kitchen floor. In the end, the dough was looking okay so I cooked it. Et voila, I got the most exquisite baguette I’ve ever tasted. Really, the texture and crust were close to perfection and even though the upper crust was a bit pale to my opinion, I wouldn’t have changed anything to its delicate, nutty taste. Just enough chewiness. The kids ate it like there was nothing else on the table, without butter.
The details are a bit sketchy but here are some I remember:
SPONGE: 60g starter @120% hydration (whole-wheat high-gluten organic flour), 70g unbleached organic white flour, 80g water
DOUGH: 210g sponge, 350g unbleached organic white flour, 200g water, 7g salt
I think it gives something like 70% hydration, and the dough was quite slow to rise. The dough was silky and a little stickier than usual, but it held together and responded well to kneading and folding. I folded it only once. No need to add any flour for handling it, except on the linen of course.