I made bread!

mini baguettes

I know, I know, sooo original. Everyone seems to  be making bread while confined these days, judging by the posts appearing in my Instagram feed and the lack of flour and yeast in the shops (which is quite annoying when you have kids who would like you to make cookies. I guess many people have kids. Or they feared they wouldn’t be able to go buy their usual bread at the backery, which isn’t happening. At least it makes a bit more sense to me than accumulating toilet paper…). In my defense I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time. The idea has been in the back of my mind for years, I was curious. Especially after I got my baking robot. But I guess I’ve been a bit lazy, it seemed complicated. And I had more important/urgent/fun things to do, my motivation wasn’t so high. I still do, I guess, but there was a real occasion today that prompted me to take the plunge.

small bread

You see, we eat bread (we’re French, right? ;p ) but not that much: we’re not like some people who eat bread at every meal. In our house it’s mainly intended for breakfast toats for Mr Robot and I, sometimes the kids too. And sometimes when the meal really calls for bread (a sauce to finish, paté, sandwiches…). Or when we have cheese that taste better with bread than without, but I love cheese so much I eat it too quickly so I don’t buy any lately. Otherwise, being home and all, I would eat all day long. XD So we tend to buy bread about once a week at our local organic store that’s perfect for morning toats but not so great for other uses. And today we had boeuf bourguignon (or beef bourguignon, as Google tells me) at noon and tarama dip for dinner, typically food that calls for a baguette rather than a soft whole wheat bread.

mini baguettes

So I decided to make bread. ;) I used a recipe that I found on the Internet, which seemed quite easy (it’s an easy baguette with no real kneading) and had great comments. I just switched a small amount of regular flour for a 5 cereal mix flour. At first I intended to use only that one, to save my regular flour for baking cakes and biscuits, but they say on the package that you can’t do that for bread. It was really impressive to see the dough doubling in volume after rising! I let it sit for more that two hours in the robot bowl, covered by a wet tea towel. The recipe mentionned that the dough was sticky and you had to put on a lot of flour on your working surface and shape it quickly. Being a real newbie at this and not used to complicated baking or cooking, I had a really hard time with the shaping! It was indeed very very sticky. I’m still not sure I managed it as I should have. That made me a bit worried about the result while I was waiting for the baking to end.

In the end though it did look and taste like bread. :) My husband really liked it, and my kids didn’t complain. As for me, I think it can be improved. It’s bread but it’s not marvelous bread. Mr Robots says that for a first try it’s good that it’s actually bread, and a bread he takes pleasure in eating on top of that. But I’m a bit disappointed by the taste, which could be better I think (although I have absolutely no idea how to achieve that) and the crust, which I feel is too thick and too dry. I’m also wondering whether they should have been fuller or not, they seem a little bit flat. That said, when we ate it with the tarama this evening the match was just perfect, it was really yummy !

mini baguette side

Here are some ideas for possible improvements, from several articles I read online:

  • Put more water when I preheat my oven, as all the water I had put this time had evaporated when I removed the bread from the oven, and I’m not sure it’s a good thing. They say the moist prevent the crust from being too thick and the bread from being too dry.
  • Put the water at the top of the oven and not the bottom as I did. I only thought of looking this up after baking and tasting the bread, it seemed obvious to me that you would put it underneath… wrong!
  • Don’t put the oven in convection mode, it turns out it’s a bad thing because it drys the bread
  • Maybe bake for a slightly shorter amount of time, because they were really small breads
  • Put less water in the dough, so that I don’t have as hard a time shaping it. I found a similar recipe with much less water (230mL instead of 300mL), and an article which suggested 70% the weight of the flour to 80%, which in my case would be between 260mL and 300mL. This other reciped was also baking the bread at a lesser temperature. I’ll have to see what I try…
  • invest in an oven plate, as with my racks the bottom has a weird shape (and it’s even worse with cookies!). Is bread usually baked on plates rather than racks? I’ve been baking all my biscuits on those racks with parchment paper and didn’t have any problems before baking chocolate-chip cookies and this bread… ^^;

baguette underside

All that leads to… making bread again! ;)