Basic French Bread Recipe Using Contemporary Techniques Inspired By Thomas Keller

Basic French Bread Recipe Using Contemporary Techniques Inspired By Thomas Keller

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Attempting to make French bread with a mixer can be frustrating. A mixer will only knead my current recipe sometimes (on a humid day). This can be fixed by observing the work of Thomas Keller and Jacques Pépin. Jacques reminds people that firm dough should be kneaded by hand. Thomas Keller reminds people that slack dough can be kneaded with a machine. Someone makes slack dough by increasing the amount of water in the recipe (by increasing the percentage of water). My new recipe is based on information from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. He gives people enough information to use algebra and arithmetic to create recipes intelligently (rationally).

There are four things someone should know about making bread with a mixer:

  1. Firm dough must be kneaded by hand
  2. A mixer can be used to mix firm dough, but it cannot knead firm dough
  3. A mixer can mix and knead slack dough
  4. Someone must start and stop the mixer to push a firm slack dough in the bowl while kneading the dough with a mixer

This recipe uses advanced bread baking techniques while preserving the speed and simplicity for making bread with basic baking techniques. Someone may have to stretch the dough of bread made with advanced baking techniques several times to give slack dough structure. Stretching the dough develops gluten that uses the gases made during the fermentation process to make the bread rise. People probably do not have to stretch firm dough because firm dough has enough gluten to make the bread rise during the fermentation process. The recipe in this blog post makes firm slack dough using contemporary techniques for making slack dough. The flavor and texture of bread made using these techniques are exciting. The bread is nutty and slightly sour. The texture is soft and slightly chewy.

To make this bread, I used Thomas Keller’s ideas for creating a humid oven with a constant temperature. He recommends using a pizza stone, and putting rocks and a chain in a pan in the oven. These things can create a sauna by putting water on hot rocks. I used oven mitts and a glass measuring cup to put water on the rocks. Putting something cool in the oven decreases the temperature of the oven. The hot rocks and chain add a source of heat to the oven that reduces the effect of putting something in the oven. Baking bread on stone browns the bread differently and makes a crispier crust. Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques has the ideas I remember from my childhood for using quarry stones. Some people believe that this may be dangerous. I read a Safety Data Sheet for the stones I used to bake this bread. The information did not suggest the tiles were toxic. I believed that I would prefer to use a pizza stone since pizza stones are made for cooking. While using the tiles, I put the bread on parchment paper.

FACTS:

  1. Where the ‘Weight of Flour In Dough’ equals x, 2/3*x=’Weight of Poolish’ (Keller, p. 270)
  2. A poolish has an equal amount of flour and water; divide the weight of the poolish by 2 to know the amount of flour and water

STRATEGY

Choose the weight of the flour, x. My original loaf uses 550 grams of flour. Since x equals 550 g, the weight of my poolish is 366 g. Make a poolish with 183 g of flour and 183 g of water.

RECIPE:

Poolish
flour 183 g
yeast 0.2 g (1/2 teaspoon)
water 183 g

Dough
flour 550 g (100%)
yeast 2 g (0.2%)
water 275 g (50%)
table salt 14 g (3%)

Mix the ingredients for the poolish in a bowl, cover loosely, and let stand for 12-15 hours in a place that is about 75°F/24°C.

Put half of the flour and the yeast in a mixing bowl. Pour room temperature water into the poolish. Pour the poolish in the mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients to make very thick batter. Add the flour 1/4 cup at a time. Once someone has created smooth firm slack dough, add the salt. Knead for 20 minutes. Use a spatula to push the dough off the hook every 2 minutes. Put the dough in an oiled bowl to rise for 2 hours. Put the dough on a floured surface. Pre-shape the dough. Form the dough to make a large bâtard by hand (I will have to make a blog post for making a bâtard in the future). Bake the bread at 400°F/205°C degrees until the bread has an internal temperature of 200°F/93°C, about 20 minutes.

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Basic French Bread Recipe Using Contemporary Techniques

1. Thomas Keller: ad hoc at home (New York: Artisan), 2009, 270, 254-285.

2. Jacques Pépin: Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2001), 553-560.

Argentinian Chicken Sandwiches On Thomas Keller’s Bâtards – Argentinian Chicken Sandwiches On Bastards – Made Spontaneously

Argentinian Chicken Sandwiches On Thomas Keller’s Bâtards – Argentinian Chicken Sandwiches On Bastards – Made Spontaneously

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Note: 1) analyze a sauce using the idea of baker’s percentages; analyze using percentages, 2) another point in this blog post is that there is a fast method for shaping a loaf of bread with hands; there is a method for shaping a loaf that does not require a rolling pin

This was the best chicken sandwich that I have ever made. The recipe for the sandwich is from Tastemade Español, and the bread is from a recipe by Thomas Keller. Some of the recipes from Tastemade Español are by a man that travels in Patagonia, a mountainous region in South America and Argentina. He usually barbeques or cooks food in pans over fire. His style is spontaneous.

To make the sandwich, I put all the ingredients in a pile on the counter in the kitchen. The chicken was marinated in the juice of 1 lemon, adobo, and red pepper flakes. In a cast iron skillet, I sautéed onions and jalapenos with sugar. I made a sauce with equal parts of course mustard, Dijon mustard, and honey with Spanish paprika and cayenne. To make the sandwich as exciting as possible, I also put slices of tomatoes and slices of Fontina on the sandwich. A popular cultural style in Argentina is probably to be European in America. Studying French cooking techniques makes this style rational.

This is Thomas Keller’s master bread recipe. The recipe appears to use all of the advanced baking techniques for making bread that I have seen on the internet. I am excited to learn these techniques. Some people have to go to school to be introduced to these techniques. There are recipes and instructions at Fleischmann’s Bread World for making bread with advanced baking techniques.

This bread is exciting because it is soft but it appears as if it should be tough. This bread is perfect for making a European style sandwich. The flavor of the bread is very nutty. Thomas Keller might describe the flavor as being similar to hazelnuts. The flavor is primarily created by making a poolish. Using a poolish is a technique for fermenting yeast. This technique adds flavor to the bread and considerably reduces the amount of yeast that someone must use to make bread. This is exciting because yeast can be very expensive.

The recipe only uses about 4 cups of flour, despite having the appearance of being made with 6 or more cups of flour. I do not have a pizza stone and other baking tools required for making this bread using the exact instructions in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. If I did have all of the things described in the book, I believe that the bread would have been completely browned on the outside. Browning bread adds more flavor and texture to the bread.

Poolish

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Making The Bread

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Baking The Bread

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Preparing To Make The Sandwiches

Making The Sandwiches

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Thomas Keller’s Bâtards (Recipe) (See Artisan French Baguettes At Fleischmann’s Bread World For Similar Instructions)

Thomas Keller’s Bâtards (Baker’s Percentages)

Sandwich de Pollo Deshuesado Asado [1][2]

1. Thomas Keller: ad hoc at home (New York: Artisan, 2009), 276-285.

Thomas Keller’s Recipe For Making Breadcrumbs And The Ideas For My Improved French Bread Recipe

Thomas Keller’s Recipe For Making Breadcrumbs And The Ideas For My Improved French Bread Recipe

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This is Thomas Keller’s recipe for making breadcrumbs. These bread crumbs are great. They are very lightly browned. He bakes them at 250°F/121°C for 1 hour on a baking sheet. After 30 minutes, he moves them around. I had trouble appreciating the process of making bread with a mixer. I have improved my recipe. I am going to suggest that water absorption is the most interesting thing to observe when making bread. Different techniques effect how flour absorbs the water. Without making several loaves,  I am excited when the dough is soft but not sticky because the machine will knead the dough. The rules for using a Kitchenaid mixer are to knead the dough using the first 2 speeds. When the dough is soft, the mixer will knead the dough as if the machine is working at higher speeds. I will probably make a video that shows how cocoa moves through white dough to demonstrate how flour may travel through the dough while it is being kneaded. Some people may want to add as much flour to the dough as possible. I may have found a book that has technical information that can be used to create a procedure based on science to make bread. The goal in this blog post is to hydrate the flour, and to create bread with a fine crumb.

Note: 1) how the dough is hydrated appears to determine how successfully the mixer kneads the dough

I found my original ideas for French bread in the Joy Of Cooking. Soft white bread was something my family always had in the kitchen. I remember going to the grocery store where soft loaves of French bread were put near the magazines near the cashier. There were times when my stepfather enjoyed eating French bread and boiled ham sandwiches. Eating soft white bread is exciting because I believe that feeling starch dissolve in my body makes me happy.

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My best method for making bread (my recipe):

  • Grease a bowl
  • Boil 1/2 cup water (in a microwave)
  • Put the salt and yeast in a mixing bowl
  • Put the flour in a separate bowl
  • Add 1 cup of cool water to the boiling water
  • Adjust the water to be about 125°F/52°C
  • Using the whisk attachment, mix the salt, yeast, and 2 cups of flour
  • Using the paddle attachment, mix all of the water with the ingredients in the mixing bowl
  • Add flour 1/4 cup at a time to make a soft shaggy dough
  • Using the dough hook, mix the remaining flour to the dough 1/4 cup at a time
  • Using hands, lift the dough out of the bowl once the dough is a ball
  • If the dough is not sticky, knead the dough for 8 minutes
    • THE RULES
      • IF THE DOUGH IS STICKY, ADD 1 TABLESPOON OF FLOUR AT A TIME
      • IF THE DOUGH IS TOO FIRM, ADD 1 TABLESPOON OF WATER AT A TIME
  • The dough will become very smooth
  • Let the dough rise for 2 hours
  • Punch the dough and gently form a ball with the dough
  • Let the dough rest for 10 minutes
  • Flour a surface with 1/4 cup of flour
  • Roll the dough to make something similar to a rectangle (be very careful, be gentle when using a rolling pin, make the dough one thickness, observe a sheeter work)
  • Roll the rectangle into a loaf
  • Pinch the seams and tuck the ends of the loaf
  • Move the flour around the surface
  • Roll the cylindrical loaf in flour (French bread baked in a humid oven can have an unattractive appearance, the flour gives the surface of the bread a nice appearance)
  • Let the loaf rise for 2 hours on a baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicon mat
  • Put a pan in the oven to hold 1 cup of hot water
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C
  • Pour the water in the pan
  • Bake the loaf for 15 minutes
  • Reduce the heat to 350°F/152°C
  • Bake the loaf for about 20 minutes
  • Knock on the loaf to hear a hollow sound, otherwise continue to bake the loaf
  • Let the loaf cool
  • Store the loaf in a plastic bag

Matelote Recipe With Big Croûtons

Matelote Recipe With Big Croûtons

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Matelote is something that Brillat-Savarin mentions in his book. It is not the most exciting soup that I have had, but it is good. This recipe needs more salt and pepper. I would use the sachet of Thomas Keller, or a traditional bouquet garni to add more flavor. The soup had more flavor after sitting overnight. I made the croûtons too quickly. I was canning jam before I made this soup. The next morning, I made them using traditional techniques. I made bread crumbs with the crusts of the bread. The lighter croutons are more exciting. To follow the advice of Thomas Keller, I will have to have 45 minutes to an hour to make croûtons. He fries them at low temperatures. Cooking the croûtons at low temperatures may cause the croûtons to contain more oil. I believe that the additional oil would make the croûtons very exciting.  People probably consume more oil while having a salad then they would consume while having these croûtons. I used enough oil to make the croûtons float. I am almost able to stand around the stove long enough to be entertained by rewarding myself by cooking at lower temperatures for longer amounts of time.

Note: 1) I added a link to a recipe for beurre manié

Matelote

The Bread

Croûtons

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Matelote Recipe

Make a Beurre Manie

Croûtons

Veal Chops Dijonnaise Made With Ground Veal Steaks And Steamed Green Beans With Lemon Juice And Freshly Made French Bread

Veal Chops Dijonnaise Made With Ground Veal Steaks And Steamed Green Beans With Lemon Juice And Freshly Made French Bread

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Heart & Soul in the Kitchen is an exciting cookbook. I used what I had in my pantry to make this dinner. This is a recipe from the book of Jacques Pépin. The sauce is flavored by deglazing the pan with wine and by adding demi-glace [1][2], cream, and Dijon mustard. This recipe is very good. The most interesting part of the recipe might be the light flavor of mustard in a pan sauce flavored with meat. I want to make this again with finer ingredients. I had to reduce a quart of broth to make a substitute for veal demi-glace. Jacques Pépin recommended reducing stock, but I only had broth. To compensate for the amount of salt in the broth, I had to omit using salt while cooking the meat. Next time I will use a low sodium stock or broth. The sauce was still great, but I believe that it would be much more delicate made with demi-glace. I have a book of cooking techniques by Jacques Pépin that includes the instructions for making demi-glace, and there are French grocers online that sell veal demi-glace. This ground veal had so much flavor. The flavor is delicate. The flavor of tarragon compliments this sauce and the flavor of meat and mushrooms. I was very happy to make this recipe.

Preparing Dinner

An Intensely Flavored Reduction Of Beef Broth To Make A Substitute For Demi-Glace

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Veal Chops Dijonnaise and Peas With Basil

French Bread

Croûtons

Croûtons

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I used 1/2 cup of canola oil, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of butter to fry these croutons. The book instructed someone to fill the frying pan with 1/2-inch of olive oil. This seems appealing, but I do not currently have the privilege to use olive oil liberally. 1/2-inch of oil probably submerges at least half of the area of a crouton at one time while it fries. This probably reduces the amount of moisture inside the croûton. These croutons were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Croûtons that I have from the grocery store are crispy and dry on the inside. These croûtons were exceptionally good, and so simple to make. The brioche croûtons belong in a rich stuffing. Since they were cut from a bun, they browned differently. There were no pieces that did not have a crust. Maybe I should make a Pullman loaf of brioche.

Croûtons Made With French Bread

Croûtons Made With Brioche

Ready For Making Something!

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1. Jeni Wright, Eric Treuille: Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques (New York: William Morrow And Company, Inc., 1996), 246.

2. Jacques Pépin: Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2001), 124-126, 563-566.

French Bread

French Bread

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These pictures include several ideas that are not necessary to perform while baking bread. Without a baguette pan the baguette will be short and wide. This loaf may have the appearance of a hoagie roll. I used some techniques in books for shaping a loaf. I also used a ring made with aluminum foil and straight pins. I observed Julia Child use straight pins while making a collar for a soufflé. I used egg wash before baking the loaf in these pictures. If the egg wash is used during the final minutes of baking, the loaf is usually glossy. This loaf was less glossy. I usually use less salt. The recipe also contains the original amounts for salt. A lame is a razor tool used for cutting patterns on dough. Some books explain that the patterns are necessary because the surface of the bread might tear while rising in the oven. I believe that loaves of bread with patterns made with a lame are more attractive. A dull knife cannot usually cut patterns on dough. A sharp knife can cut slits on dough. I used parchment paper. Coating a pan with oil, butter, or fat and flour is probably a good alternative. On this particular baking sheet, I am able to bake some things and French bread without parchment paper or coating the pan. Other things are destroyed without using paper or without coating the pan. The ring should probably be less wide to increase the amount of surface area exposed to the heat of the oven. I am able to fold this ring one more time effortlessly.

Note: 1) I should have coated the ring with oil and flour

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French Bread