Thursday, 22 November 2012

Secrets of a French Baker and Random Recipe

Can you keep a secret? I can and that's why I'm not telling it to you. Therefore this very secret has to remain as it is ... hidden in some dark corners of the mind. Well, I don't know whether it is that dark back there.
After that being said and done ... done? We haven't done a thing!
Anyway, we can go into business now. Not that kind of business. Let's talk Random Recipes. Here a brief preview before we go into details ...


This month it was Dom's idea from Belleau Kitchen to connect the random recipe to the participants individual birthdays.
As in the case with Dom I was born on the 24th. The month has to remain a secret (again).
That fact would lead in my case to the book Confessions of a French Baker by Peter Mayle and Gerard Auzet.
I already did quite a deal from this book. Originally I planned to try every single recipe from it and post about it. Somehow, I didn't continue at one point.
However, time to open the book at a random page.
Done!
No, I think it's not right, if you have a bookmark in it. The book would open automatically at this page. Therefore I have to use the randomizer again for that.
So, try again!
Done!
No, I did that one already. Another go is necessary.
Done!
Arrrrgggggghhh!
Had that one as well. But I know there are still some recipes in that book, which I didn't try.
The randomizer has to roll again and ... 
... and ...
... and ...
.... and what?
Oh, something I didn't try so far, although the methods of preparation are quite similar.
Here we go for it then: Onion-White-Wine-Bread.
We need about 450 g of different flours, half strong wheat flour and the other one spelt. Of course we need onions.
They are first browned in butter and then deglazed with the white wine ... set to the side.
Now we are ready for the 'lovely' part. Sifting the flour into a bowl ... pinch of salt ... dried yeast over it. Have some nice clean hands ready. Pour in a mixture of fat from the pan (without the onions), white wine and water (altogether 300 ml).
It's time to use those nice clean hands and knead everything to a lump of dough, which might well look like this ...



... rest for 10 minutes to get ready for the real action. In fact, it is just the dough that needs the rest, hopefully not the baker, or otherwise he won't make it till the end.
We have to activate the gluten in the dough now. That means some vigorous kneading for about 20 minutes. If that isn't exercise again. 
Somehow I so often end up with those kneading jobs for random recipes ...
After we made it through the kneading, we add the previously mentioned onions.


Then we leave the dough to rise for 45 minutes. In connection with yeast I found it always useful to put a damp kitchen cloth over the bowl, where the dough is rising. If need be, now would be good to rest ... but there are always things to do ...
... don't get too lazy. Carefully take the dough from the bowl and make two smaller lumps out of it. Set them on a kitchen cloth covered lightly with flour ...



... and cover with the damp cloth again for 25 minutes.
Once that time has passed again, take those lumps and flatten them. At the same time you get out the gas from the dough. Try to get the dough into a rectangular shape.



Then fold at the long side towards the middle as you hopefully can see in the following picture ...



... and finally you fold the other side towards the middle. With the folding edge facing down place the bread shaped dough back on the floured kitchen towel. Cover it once more.
Leave things for another 45 minutes.
What would you do with 45 minutes?
Having spent the time hopefully in a productive way again it's time to heat up the oven to 230°C. Get your bread onto a baking tray with the folding edge downwards as well.
Brush the bread with water. The water is a vital key to get a nice and crispy crust.



Slash the bread quickly with a knife in a candy kind of shape. Before you put your bread into the oven, spray some water into your oven to get some extra steam for the crust.
Then put your tray into the oven for 20-25 minutes.



Let the bread cool down a bit before you devour it. Maybe you have a soup or stew ready for that.
That's it! I hope I didn't reveal any secrets here. Anyway, it has been nice again to have a part in random recipes this month ...


19 comments:

  1. This does look lovely - as you say, just great for soaking up a soup or stew.

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    1. Thank you! So it's best to have a soup or a stew ready when the bread is ready.

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  2. Oh man I love onion bread. I'm so completely trying out this recipe. You need more books I think! Or lucky you for using the book so many times. Great random recipes number too 24th is clearly the best! Thanks for entering x

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    1. Thanks! As to the books, random is random. I have still a few books even some I haven't used properly yet, but ... getting a few more books will never hurt.

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  3. I absolutely love the humor of your tutorial! And the bread looks lovely too.

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    1. Thank you ... was there any humor? Oh, I guess I should be more careful ... nah ... no worries!

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  4. Beautiful bread! I want a slice!

    I have started a blog party on my blog called Pantry Party. Maybe you'll join us?!

    http://lawstudentscookbook.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/introducing-pantry-party/

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    1. Thank you! So, if you want a slice ... have a go ...

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    2. I have something in mind already for taking part in your Pantry Party. We will see.

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  5. That looks delicious. I'd like a big warm slice slathered in butter, hold the soup for a mo please. :-) Nom!

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    1. Thank you! I should really go into baking bread again more regularly ...

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  6. This looks to be a wonderful savory bread ... love the idea of the golden onions throughout the dough! I am intrigued by your shaping method too!

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    1. Thanks! Onions and bread are just a great combination. As to the shaping of the bread, it's kind of the 'official' way to shape bâtards (don't ask me for the explanation of the name).

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  7. That looks like perfect bread - yum!

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  8. Your onion bread looks delicious, Christian, and you made me laugh with your story-telling! There is nothing like the smell of baking bread and onion bread must be the best!

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  9. Oh, and the bâtard or bastard is so called because it is like a bread loaf but the same weight as a baguette. A mixed breed, so to speak.

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    1. Thank you, and also for mentioning this. It's really a delight to have the smell of bread at home. I very much also like thyme bread and garlic bread.

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