|Sure, there are
three steps, but the
first step is easy
and the last two
steps don't require
any work at all!
|August 6, 2013
Simplicity and Taste
"Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it.
Geniuses remove it. Simplicity does not precede complexity but
follows it." - Alan Perlis
As I get older, I have come to better appreciate the beauty of
simplicity in almost everything. While we're still a long way from a
truly simple life, home bread baking is proof simpler can be better.
As twenty first century bakers, we have discovered that baking bread
with a few time tested simple techniques can produce a loaf that is
tastier, healthier, and easier to make. As a younger baker, I thought
that adding ingredients would always improve results, and that a loaf
of bread with 20 ingredients was the ultimate accomplishment. Oh,
how much I have had to learn over the past three decades. (Which
begs the question, will I look back at this entry twenty years from now
and laugh at my naivety?)
So here we go, a loaf that's number one for taste and simplicity, the
one step levain baguette.
One Step Levain Baguette
In a large bowl mix the liquid levain and the water together. Let the
mixture stand a few minutes then stir in the salt, all-purpose flour, and
whole wheat flour until well mixed. The dough should be a bit on the
sloppy side; add 1-2 Tbsp of additional water if needed to make the
dough look a bit wet. Stir vigorously another 15-30 seconds then
cover and allow to rise at room temperature for 8-9 hours or until
about doubled in size. Refrigerate until ready to useor proceed with
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and divide in half if
making two loaves. Fold the dough a few times then make the dough
into a cylinder by alternating rolling the dough out and pullingthe
outer dough over to the bottom of the cylinder. Repeat this process
until a 14-15 inch long perfectly round cylinder with tapered ends is
Lay cylinder(s) on a peel or baking sheet covered with parchment.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature
for 30-45 minutes while the oven is warming up. Preheat the oven,
baking stone and steam bath to 450 F.
When ready to bake, uncover the baguettes, spray or brush them
with water, then score the loaves with three slashes nearly parallel to
the long axis of the cylinder. Slide the loaves onto the parchment into
the oven, turn the oven down to 400 F and place a cup of water into
the steam pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the
baguette is golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Submitted to Susan's yeastspotting at the wildyeastblog.com