Showing posts with label Julia Child. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Julia Child. Show all posts

Sunday, September 27, 2009

VOLS-AU-VENT - THE DARING BAKERS

Damn, time passes so/too fast! In case you are like me, you might not have realized that September is coming to an end and that The Daring Bakers have once again geared up in order to flood the internet with their latest creations...

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge is hosted by Steph of "a Whisk And A Spoon" (USA) who chose the French treat, "Vols-Au-Vent" based on the "Puff Pastry" recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook "Baking With Julia" By Dorie Greenspan.

Although the idea o
f making "Puff Pastry" in my kitchen and rolling it on my oven totally freaked me out, I greeted this new baking joust with much excitement and great anticipation. I had always wanted to make my own "Pâte Feuilletée", yet never managed to make any until now. I guess that the reason why I never got to baking that delicacy has more to do with my subconscious cowardness (which was the real blocker) than with not my lack of space (a lame excuse).

As I was not going to let myself get destabilized by my chicken ways , so I made the promise to honor the saying "When there's a will, there's a w ay " and gathered all my courage as well as inner strength to face the time-consuming task that lay ahead.

To my biggest surprise, it all went very smoothely and at the end, my sanity remained. Nobody was murdered, no pastry was thrown across t he kitchen and no profanities were uttered! Once my "Vols-Au-Vent" came out of the oven looking all golden and perfect, I was really relieved. I had another reason to be proud of myself. My ego an d confidence got magnificently boosted...

Since we are only two at home, I divided the dough in half. I used one half to create sweet "Vols-Au-Vent" and froze the other half in order to make savory "Vols-Au-Vent" later on.

I wanted a fresh and fruity dessert that would not be too sugary, so I opted for a simple yet divine "Pastry Cream" filling (Dorie Greenspan's recipe) and decided to decorate my pastries with slices of Italian prune that I glazed runny jelly. I served my "Vols-au-vent" with cinnamon and red wine poaches figs. All that resulted in a tantalizingly delicate and ambrosial treat that delighted us to the highest point.

The pastry was incredibly flaky, light, crispy and had well-defined layers. It tasted of butter and was far from being bland or vinegary like most industrial "Puff Pastries" tend to be. It was perfect texture- and flavor-wise; worthy of any good bakery. Together with the lusciously creamy, vanillaed "Pastry Cream" and, the crunchy and extremely fragrant prunes, each bite brought you a step closer to heaven!!!

I really wish to thank Steph for having choosen that fantastic recipe and for having helped me surpass myself and my fears.

~ Michel Richard's Puff Pastry Dough ~
Recipe taken fron "Baking With Julia" by Dorie Greenspan.

Yields 1.2 kg (2 1/2 pounds) dough.


Equipment:
Food processor (will make mixing easy, but this can be done by hand as well)
Rolling pin
Pastry brush
Metal bench scraper (optional, but recommended)
Plastic wrap
Baking sheet
Parchment paper
Silicone baking mat (optional, but recommended)
Set of round cutters (optional, but recommended)
Sharp knife
Fork
Oven
Cooling rack

Preparation Times:
. About 4-5 hours to prepare the puff pastry dough (much of this time is inactive, while you wait for the dough to chill between turns…it can be stretched out over an even longer period of time if that better suits your schedule).
.
About 1 1/2 hours to shape, chill and bake the vols-au-vent after your puff pastry dough is complete.


Note:
This recipe makes more than you will need for the quantity o f vols-au-vent stated above. While I encourage you to make the full recipe of puff pastry, as extra dough freezes well, you can halve it successfully if you’d rather not have much leftover.

***************

MAKING THE DOUGH

Ingredients:
2-1/2 Cups (354g) Unbleached all-purpose flour + extra for dusting the work surface

1-1/4 Cups (142g) Cake flour
1 Tbs Sea salt (you can cut this by half for a
l ess salty dough or f or sweet preparations)
1-1/4 Cups (300ml) Ice water
1 Pound (454g)
Very cold unsalted butter

Mixing The Dough:
1. Check the capacity of your food processor before you start. If it
canno t hold the full quantity of ingredients, make the dough into two batches and combine them.
2. Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at o nce, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough wi ll b e ve ry moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers (Actually, it will feel like Play-Doh.).
3. Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and re frigerate for about 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plasti c wrap an d beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that's about 2.54cm (1 inch) thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm (If it has softened or become oily, chill it before co ntinuing.).

Incorporating The Butter:
5.
Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry.) with your rolling pin (Preferably a French rolling pin without handles.), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 25cm (10 inches) square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floure d to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the cen ter of the square, r oll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with "ears," or fl aps.
6.
Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold th e e ars ov er the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don't j ust pull the ends.). You should now have a package that is 20cm (8 inches) square.
Making The Turns:
7. Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom
edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface an d the top of the d ough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a recta ngle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 61cm/24 inches (don't worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 61cm/24 inches, everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the len gth and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along w ell, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).
8. With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the d ough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in t hirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.
9. Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, lik e the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 61cm (24 inches) and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.

Notes On Chilling the Dough:
If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now.
If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and re
frigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of tu rns you've completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the d ough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.

Notes On The Turns:
The total number of turns needed is six.
If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day.
Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour bef
or e cutting or shaping it.

Extra tips:
. While this is not included in the original recipe we are using (and I did not do this in my own trials), many puff pastry recipes use a teaspoon or two of white vinegar or lemon juice, added to the ice water, in the détrempe dough. This a dds acidity, which relaxes the gluten in the dough by breaking down the proteins, making rolling easier. You ar e welcome to try this if you wish.
. Keep things cool by using the refrigerator as your friend! If you see any b utte r starting to leak through the dough during the turning process, rub a little flour on the exposed dough and chill straight away. Although you should certainly chill the doug h for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns, if you feel the dough getting to soft or hard to work with at any point, pop in the fridge for a rest.

. Not to sound contradictory, but if you chill your paton longer than the recommended time between turns, the butter can firm up too much. If this seems to be the case, I advise letting it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to give it a chance to soften before proceeding to roll. You don't want the hard butter to separate into chuncks or break t hrough the dough...you want it to roll evenly, in a continuous layer.
. Roll the puff pastry gently but firmly, and don’t roll your pin o ver the edges, which will prevent them from rising properly. Don't roll your puff thinner t han about about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick, or you will not get the rise you are looking for. Try to keep “neat” edges and corners during the rolling and turning process, so the lay ers are properly aligned. Give the edges of the paton a scooch with your rolling pin or a bench scraper to keep straight edges and 90-degree corners.
. Brush off excess flour before turning dough and after rolling. . Make clean cuts. Don’t drag your knife through the puff or twist your cutters too much, which can inhibit rise.
. When egg washing puff pastry, try not to let extra e gg wash d rip down the cut edges, which can also inhibit rise.
. Extra puff pastry dough freezes beautifully. It’s best to ro ll it into a sheet about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (similar to store-bought puff) and freeze firm on a lined b aking sheet. Then you can easily wrap the sheet in plastic, then foil (and if you have a se alable plastic bag big enough, place the wrapped dough inside) and return to th e freezer for up to a few months.
. Defrost in the refrigerator when ready to use.

. You can also freeze well-wrapped, unbaked cut and shaped pu ff pastry (i.e., unbaked vols-au-vent shells). Bake from frozen, without thawing first.
. Homemade puff pastry is precious stuff, so save any clean scraps. Stack or overlap them, rather than balling them up, to help keep the integrity of the layers. T hen give them a singe “turn” and gently re-roll. Scrap puff can be used for applications where a super-high rise is not necessary (such as palmiers, cheese straws, napoleons , or even the bottom bases for your vols-au-vent).

***************

FORMING & BAKING THE VOLS-AU-VENT

Yields 1/3 of the puff pastry recipe above will make about 8x-10 x 3.8cm (1.5 inches/diameter) vols-au-vent or 4x 10.2cm (4 inches/diameter) vols-au-vent.

In addition to the equipment listed above, you will need:
Well-chilled puff pastry dough (recipe above)
Egg wash (1 egg or yolk beaten with a small amount of water)
Your filling of choice


Method:
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
2.
Using a knife or metal bench scraper, divided your chilled puff pastry dough into three equal pieces. Work with one piece of the d ou gh, and leave th e rest wrapped and chilled. (If you are looking to make more vols-au-vent than the yield stated above, you can roll and cut the remaining two pieces of dough as well…if not, then leave refrigerated for the time being or prepare it for longer-term freezer storage. See the “Tips” section below for more storage info.
3.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick. Transfer it to t he baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the cutting (This assumes you will be using round cutters, but if you do not have them, it is possible to cut squa re vols-au-ven ts usin g a sharp chef’s knife.).
4. For smaller, hors d'oeuvre sized vols-au-vent, use a 3.8cm (1.5 inch) round cutter to cut out 8-10 circles. For larger sized vols-au-vent, fit for a main course or dessert, use a 10cm (4 inches) cutter to cut out about 4 circles. Make clean, sharp cuts and try not to t
wist your cutters back and forth or drag your knife through the dough. Half of these rounds will be for the bases, and the other half will be for the sides. (Save any scrap by stacking—not wa dding up—the pieces…they can be re-rolled and used if you need extra dough. If you do need to re-roll scrap to get enough disks, be sure to use any rounds cut from it for the bases, not the ring-shape d sides.)
5. Using a 1.9cm (3/4-inch) cutter for small vols-au-vent, or a 5-6.4cm (2 to 2.5-inch) round cutter for large, cut centers from half of the rounds to make rings. These rings will become the sides of the vols-au-vent, while the solid disks will be the bottoms. You can either save the center cut-outs to bake off as little “caps” for you vols-au-vent, or put them in the scrap pile.

6. Dock the solid bottom rounds with a fork (prick them l ightly, making sure not to go all the way through the pastry) and lightly brush them with egg wash. Place the rin gs directly on top of the bottom rounds and very lightly press them to a dhere. Brush the top rings lightly with egg wash, trying not to d rip any down the sides (which may inhibit rise). If you are using the little “caps,” dock and egg wash them as well.
7. Refrigerate the assembled vols-au-vent on the lined baking sheet while you pre-heat the oven to 200º C/400 º F (You cou ld also cover and refrigerate them for a few hours at this point.)
8. Once the oven is heated, remove the sheet from the refrigerator and place a silicon baking mat (Preferred b ecause of its weight.) or another sheet of parchment over top of the shells. This will help them rise evenly. Bake the shells until t hey have risen and begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Reduce the oven temperature to 180º C (350º F), and remove the silicon mat or parchment sheet from the top of the vols-au-vent. If the centers have risen up inside the vols-au-vent, you can gently press them down. Continue baking (with no sheet on top) until the layers are golden, about 15-20 minut es more (If you are baking the cen ter “caps” they will likely be finished well ahead of the shells, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when browned.).
9. Remove to a ra
ck to cool. Cool to room temperature for cold fillings or to warm for hot fillings.
10. Fill and serve.

Notes:
For additional rise on the larger-sized vols-au-vents, you can stack one or two additional ring layers on top of each other (using egg wash to "glue"). Thi s will give higher sides to larger vols-au-vents, but is not advisable for the smaller ones, whose bases may not be large enough to support the extra weight. Although they are at their best filled and eaten soon after baking, baked vols-au-vent shells can be stored airtight for a day. Shaped, unbaked vols-au-vent can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month (bake from frozen, egg-washing them first). There is a wonderful on-line video from the PBS show “Baking with Julia” that accompanies the bo ok. In it, Michel Richard and Julia Child demonstrate making puff pastry doug: http://video.pbs.org/video/1174110297/search/Pastry.

***************

Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu f
aire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis lecteur
s et blogueurs francophones!
C'est pourquoi je vous suggère de vous rendre sur les blogs mentionnés ci-dessous. Vous y trouverez cette recette en version française.

Chez Jasmine de "Jasmine Cuisine" (Canada)
Chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)

Monday, March 3, 2008

ARTISAN FRENCH BREAD - DARING BAKERS

Five months have passed since I first joined the "Daring Bakers" ranks and there was not one single challenge which hasn't made me learn something about baking and it's secrets. All recipes were very different (Lemon Meringue Pie, Yule Log, Potato Bread & Bostoni Cream Pie - see recipes). While some were quite easy and botherless to make, others were highly stressful, complex and difficult, but never were they boring, uninteresting nor a total loss of time...

Every time a new challenge is about to be revealed, I get all excited as well as a little worried, because I always wonder what kind of surprises our hosts have in store for us! One thing I'm sure of is that it will once again be the occasion for me to learn new tricks and push my borders a little further each time.

It is for those reasons that the February recipe particularly attracted m
e. I knew that this month's trial was going to be fun as I love bread and enjoy testing all kinds of new and unknown (to me) baking techniques. Well, I was not going to be disappointed!

The word "Bread" rings very poetically in my ears. It evokes wonderful yeasty fragrances, the smooth and elastic inside of a loaf, the thrilling pleasure one gets while watching his/her bread bake, a delightfully crunchy crust that snaps when you bite into it, an incomparable gustatory adventure, the incredible vastness of breadland, the amazing possibilities that baking offers and so much more... So many things that make our daily life all the more enjoyable.

Although I have a minuscule kitchen, an itsy-bitsy working space (the sides of my sink) and no special equipment on hand (everything is done by hand and I have a limited amount of kitchen gadgets/ustensiles), this bread turned out smashingly well and looked pretty much like the ones you can find at a bakery. A great fulfillment for a perfectionist like me!

I must say that it was time-consuming as it took me a whole day from 11h00 am till around 18h00 pm to finish those three loaves. Yet, at the same time, it wasn't extremely difficult technically speaking. Of course, there were a few tricky moments/parts to go through like the shaping and the transferring from the towel to the baking sheet. Certain stages were a little critical, but otherwise, it was quite a straight-forward and flawless process which demanded a lot of patience and concentration.

For me, things went smoothly and I met no problem at all, apart from the post-baking disaster I had to face once the breads were cooling on the rack. I mean, hell! My kitchen looked like a disaster area and the whole place was covered with a layer of flour. A real mess!

That "French Bread" was really gorgeous. It looked just perfect, had a shiny and crispy crust and the most beautiful and smooth inside I had ever come across. Taste-wise, it was heavenly. Just with a little butter, this bread tasted awesomely good and was magnificently fragrant! Yummy!

Another brilliantly amazing recipe that I will keep preciously!

Thanks to both our hosts Breadchick Mary from "The Sour Dough" (USA) and Sara from "I Like To Cook" (USA) for the diverting day I had!!! You made a damn good choice here!!!

~ Pain Français (French Bread) ~
Recipe taken from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume Two" by Julia Child and Simone Beck.

Recipe Quantity:
3 x Baguettes (24” x 2”) or batards (16” x 3”) or

6 x Short loaves, ficelles, 12 – 16” x 2” or
3 x Round loaves, boules, 7 – 8” in diameter or
12 x Round or oval rolls, petits pains or
1 x Large round or oval loaf, pain de menage or miche; pain boulot

Recipe Time:

7 – 9 hours.

Equipment Needed:
Unless you plan to go into the more elaborate simulation of a bak
er’s oven, you need no unusual equipment for the following recipe. Here are the requirements, some of which may sound odd but will explain themselves when you read the recipe.

4 to 5 quart mixing bowl with fairly vertical rather than outward slanting sides.
A kneading surface of some sort, 1 1/2 to 2 square feet.
A rubber spatula or either a metal scraper or a stiff wide metal spatula.
1 to 2 unwrinkled canvas pastry cloths or stiff linen towels upon which t
he dough may rise.
A stiff piece of cardboard or plywood 18 – 20 inches long and 6 – 8 inches wide, for unmolding dough from canvas to baking sheet.

Finely ground cornmeal or pasta pulverized in an electric blender to sprinkle on unmolding. Board so as to prevent dough from sticking.
the largest baking sheet that will fit in your oven.
A razor blade or extremely sharp knife for slashing the top of the dough.
A soft pastry brush or fine spray atomizer for moistening dough before and during baking.
A room thermometer to verify rising temperature.

Ingredients:
20g Fresh yeast (or 1 package dry active yeast)
1/3 Cup (75ml) Warm water (not over 100° F/38° C)
3 1/2 Cups (about 1 lb/490g) All purpose flour
2 1/4 Tsps (12g) Salt

1 1/4 Cups (280 - 300ml) Tepid water (at 70°–74 F/21°- 23° C)

Method:
1. Stir the yeast in the 1/3 cup warm water and let liquefy comple
tely while measuring flour into mixing bowl.
2. When yeast has liquefied, pour it into the flour along with the salt and the rest of the water.
3. Stir and cut the liquids into the flour with a rubber spatula, pressing firmly
to form a dough and making sure that all the bits of flour and unmassed pieces are gathered in.
(Depending on the humidity and temperature of your kitchen and the type o
f plain (AP) flour you use, you may need to add additional flour or water to the dough. To decide if this is necessary, we recommend stopping during the mixing process and poking your dough ball. If the dough is super sticky, add additional flour one handful at a time until the dough is slightly sticky and tacky, but not dry. If the dough is dry and feels hard, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.)
4. Turn the dough out onto kneading surface, scraping bowl clean.
(The dough will be soft and sticky.)
5. Let the dough rest for 2 – 3 minutes while you wash and dry the bowl.

6. (The flour will have absorbed the liquid during this short rest, and the dough will have a little more cohesion for the kneading that is about to begin. Use one hand only for kneading and keep the other clean to hold a pastry scrapper, to dip out extra flour, etc.. Your object in kneading is to render the dough perfectly smooth and to work it sufficiently so that all the gluten molecules are moistened and joined together into an interlocking web. You cannot see this happen, of course, but you can feel it because the dough will become elastic and will retract into shape when you push it out.)
Start kneading by lifting the near edge of the dough, using a pastry s
craper or stiff wide spatula to help you if necessary, and flipping the dough over onto itself. Scrape dough off the surface and slap it down; lift edge and flip it over again, repeating the movement rapidly.

7. (In 2 -3 minutes the dough should have enough body so that you can give it a quick forward push with the heel of your hand as you flip it over.) Continue to knead rapidly and vigorously in this way. (If the dough remains too sticky, knead in a sprinkling of flour. The whole kneading process will take 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how expert you become).
8. (Shortly after this point, the dough should have developed enough elasticity so it draws back into shape when pushed, indicating the gluten molecules have united and are under tension like a thin web of rubber; the dough should also begin to clean itself off the kneading surface, although it will stick to your fingers if you hold a pinch of dough for more than a second or two.)
Let dough rest for 3 – 4 minutes. Knead by hand for a minute. (Th
e surface should now look smooth; the dough will be less sticky but will still remain soft.) It is now ready for its first rise.
9. (You now have approximately 3 cups of dough that is to rise t
o 3 1/2 times its original volume, or to about 10 1/2 cups.)
Wash and fill the mixing bowl with 10 1/2 cups of tepid water (70 – 80 degrees) and make a mark to indicate that level on the outside of the bowl.

(Note, that the bowl should have fairly upright sides; if they are too outward slanting, the dough will have difficulty in rising.)
10. Pour out the water, dry the bowl, grease it and place the dough in
it.
11. Cover with a greased plastic wrap, and top with a folded towel. Se
t on a wooden surface, marble or stone are too cold. Or on a folded towel or pillow, and let rise free from drafts anyplace where the temperature is around 70 degrees.
(If the room is too hot, set bowl in water and keep renewing water to maintain around 70 degrees. Dough should take at least 3 – 4 hours to rise to 10 1/2 cups. If temperature is lower than 70 degrees, it will simply take longer.)
12. (When fully risen, the dough will be humped into a slight dome, showing that the yeast is still active; it will be light and spongy when pressed. There will usually be some big bubbly blisters on the surface, and if you are using a glass bowl you will see bubbles through the glass. The dough is now ready to be deflated, which will release the yeast engendered gases and redistribute the yeast cells so that the dough will rise again and continue the fermentation process.)

With a rubber spatula, dislodge dough from inside of bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface, scraping bowl clean. If dough seems damp and sweaty, sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour.
13. Lightly flour the palms of your hands and flatten the dough firmly but not too roughly into a circle, deflating any gas bubbles by pinching them.

14. Lift a corner of the near side and flip it down on the far side. Do the same with the left side, then the right side. Finally, lift the near side and tuck it just under the edge of the far side.
(The mass of dough will look like a rounded cushion.)
15. Slip the sides of your hands under the dough an
d return it to the bowl. Cover and let rise again, this time to not quite triple, but again until it is dome shaped and light and spongy when touched.
16. Loosen dough all around inside of bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
(Because of its two long rises, the dough will have much more body
. If it seems damp and sweaty, sprinkle lightly with flour.)
17. Making clean, sure cuts with a large knife or a bench scraper, divide the dough into:
  • 3 equal pieces for long loaves (baguettes or batards) or small round loaves (boules only)
  • 5 – 6 equal pieces for long thin loaves (ficelles)
  • 10 – 12 equal pieces for small oval rolls (petits pains, tire-bouchons) or small round rolls (petits pains, champignons)
  • 2 equal pieces for medium round loaves (pain de menage or miche only)
  • If you making one large round loaf (pain de menage, miche, or pain boulot), you will not cut the dough at all and just need to follow the directions below.
18. After you have cut each piece, lift one end and flip it over onto the opposite end to fold the dough into two; place dough at far side of kneading surface.
19. Cover loosely with a sheet of plastic and let rest for 5 minutes before
forming.
(This relaxes the gluten enough for shaping but not long enough for dough
to begin rising again.)

20. While the dough is resting, prepare the rising surface; smooth the canvas or linen towel on a large tray or baking sheet, and rub flour thoroughly into the entire surface of the cloth to prevent the dough from sticking.
21. (Because French bread stands free in the oven and is not baked in a pan, it has to be formed in such a way that the tension of the coagulated gluten cloak on the surface will hold the dough in shape.)

For the "Long Loaves - The Batard":
Baguettes are typically much too long for home ovens but the shaping method is the same.


I. After the 3 pieces of dough have rested 5 minutes, form one piece at a time, keeping the remaining ones covered.
II. Working rapidly, turn the dough upside down on a lightly floured kneading surface and pat it firmly but not too roughly into an 8 to 10 inch oval with the lightly floured palms of your hands. Deflate any gas bubbles in the dough by pinching them.
III. Fold the dough in half lengthwise by bringing the far edge down over the near edge.
IV. Being sure that the working surface is always lightly floured so the dough will not stick and tear, which would break the lightly coagulated gluten cloak that is being formed, seal the edges of the dough together, your hands extended, thumbs out at right angles and touching.
V. Roll the dough a quarter turn forward so the seal is on top.
VII. Flatten the dough again into an oval with the palms of your hands.
VIII. Press a trench along the central length of the oval with the side of one hand.
IX. Fold in half again lengthwise.
X. This time seal the edges together with the heel of one hand, and roll the dough a quarter of a turn toward you so the seal is on the bottom.

XI. Now, by rolling the dough back and forth with the palms of your hands, you will lengthen it into a sausage shape. Start in the middle, placing your right palm on the dough, and your left palm on top of your right hand.
XII. Roll the dough forward and backward rapidly, gradually sliding your hands towards the two ends as the dough lengthens.
XIII. Deflate any gas blisters on the surface by pinching them. Repeat the rolling movement rapidly several times until the dough is 16 inches long, or whatever length will fit on your baking sheet. During the extension rolls, keep circumference of dough as even as possible and try to start each roll with the sealed side of the dough down, twisting the rope of dough to straighten the line of seal as necessary. If seal disappears, as it sometimes does with all purpose flour, do not worry.
XIV. Place the shaped piece of dough, sealed side up, at one end of the flour rubbed canvas, leaving a free end of canvas 3 to 4 inches wide. The top will crust slightly as the dough rises; it is turned over for baking so the soft, smooth underside will be uppermost.
XV. Pinch a ridge 2 1/2 to 3 inches high in the canvas to make a trough, and a place for the next piece. Cover dough with plastic while you are forming the rest of the loaves.
XVI. After all the pieces of dough are in place, brace the two sides of the canvas with long rolling pins, baking sheets or books, if the dough seems very soft and wants to spread out. Cover the dough loosely with flour rubbed dish towel or canvas, and a sheet of plastic. Proceed immediately to the final rising, next step.

For the "Long Thin Loaves – Fincelles":
Follow the steps above but making thinner sausage shapes about 1/2 inch in diameter. When they have risen, slash as with the Batard.


For the "Oval Rolls – Petits Pains, Tire-Bouchons":
Form like batards, but you will probably not have to lengthen them at a
ll after the two foldings and sealings. Place rolls on a floured canvas about 2 – 4” apart and cover with plastic to rise. When they have risen, make either 2 parallel slashes or a single slash going from one end to the other.

For the "Small, Medium, or Large Round Loaves – Pain de Menage, Miches, Boules":
The object here is to force the cloak of coagulated gluten to hold the ball of dough in shape: the first movement will make cushion; the second will seal and roun
d the ball, establishing surface tension.

I. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface.
II. Lift the left side of the dough with the side of your left hand and bring it down almost to the right side.
III. Scoop up the right side and push it back almost to the left side. Turn the dough a quarter turn clockwise and repeat the movement 8 – 10 times. The movement gradually smooths the bottom of the dough and establishes the necessary surface tension; think of the surface of the dough as if it were a fine sheet of rubber you were stretching in every direction.
IV. Turn the dough smooth side up and begin rotating it between the palms of your hands, tucking a bit of the dough under the ball as you rotate it. In a dozen turns you should have a neatly shaped ball with a little pucker of dough, le cle, underneath where all the edges have joined together.
V.
Place the dough pucker side up in a flour-rubbed canvas; seal the pucker by pinching with your fingers. Flour lightly, cover loosely and let rise to almost triple its size. After unmolding upside down on the baking sheet, slash with either a long central slash, two long central slashes that cross at right angles, or a semi-circular slash around half the circumference.

For the "Small Round Rolls – Petits Pains, Champignons":
The principles are the same here as for the preceding round loaves, but
make the cushion shape with your fingers rather than the palms of your hands.

I. For the second stage, during which the ball of dough is rotated smooth side up, roll it under the palm of one hand, using your thumb and little finger to push the edges of the dough underneath and to form the pucker, where the edges join together
II. Place the formed ball of dough pucker side up on the flour rubbed canvas and cover loosely while forming the rest. Space the balls 2 inches apart. When risen to almost triple its size, lift gently with lightly floured fingers and place pucker side down on baking sheet. Rolls are usually too small for a cross so make either one central slash or the semi-circular cut.

For the "Large Oval Loaf – Pain Boulot":
Follow the directions for the round loaves except instead of rotating between the balms of your hands and tucking to form a round loaf, continue to turn the dough from the right to the left, tucking a bit of each end under the oblong loaf. In a dozen turns you should have a neatly shaped oval with tow little puckers of dough, le cles, underneath w
here all the edges of have joined together.

I. Place the dough pucker sides up in a flour-rubbed canvas; seal the puckers by pinching with your fingers. Flour lightly, cover loosely and let rise to almost triple its size. After unmolding upside down on the baking sheet, slash with parallel slashes going diagonally across the top starting from the upper left and going to the lower right.
22. (The covered dough is now to rise until almost triple in volume; look carefully at its pre-risen size so that you will be able to judge correctly. It will be light and swollen when risen, but will still feel a little springy when pressed. It is important that the final rise take place where it is dry; if your kitchen is damp, hot, and steamy, let the bread rise in another room or dough will stick to the canvas and you will have difficulty getting it off and onto another baking sheet. It will turn into bread in the oven whatever happens, but you will have an easier time and a better loaf if you aim for ideal conditions.)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees about 30 minutes before estimated baking time.

23. (This is only a description of the unmolding of the "Batard", but the unmolding process is the same no matter the shape of your loaf or loaves. The key to unmolding without deflating your bread is slow and gentle!his is only a description of the unmolding of The Batard but the unmolding process is the same no matter the shape of your loaf or loaves. The key to unmolding without deflating your bread is to do things slowly and gently! The 3 pieces of risen dough are now to be unmolded from the canvas and arranged upside down on the baking sheet. The reason for this reversal is that the present top of the dough has crusted over during its rise; the smooth, soft underside should be uppermost in the oven so that the dough can expand and allow the loaf its final puff of volume. For the unmolding you will need a non-sticking intermediate surface such as a stiff piece of cardboard or plywood sprinkled with cornmeal or pulverized pasta.)
Remove rolling pins or braces. Place the long side of the board at one side of the dough; pull the edge of the canvas to flatten it; then raise and flip the dough softly upside down onto the board.
24. (Dough is now lying along one edge of the unmolding board: rest this edge on the right side of a lightly buttered baking sheet.)
Gently dislodge dough onto baking sheet, keeping same side of the dough uppermost: this is the soft smooth side, which was underneath while dough rose on canvas. If necessary run sides of hands lightly down the length of the dough to straighten it. Unmold the next piece of dough the same way, placing it to the left of the first, leaving a 3 inch space. Unmold the final piece near the left side of the sheet.

25. (This is only the description of the slashing for the Batard. All other slashes for the other shapes are described in Step 6: "Forming the Loaves". The top of each piece of dough is now to be slashed in several places. This opens the covering cloak of gluten and allows a bulge of dough underneath to swell up through the cuts during the first 10 minutes of baking, making decorative patterns in the crust. These are done with a blade that cuts almost horizontally into the dough to a depth of less than half an inch.)
Start the cut at the middle of the blade, drawing toward you in a swift clean sweep.
(This is not quite as easy as it sounds, and you will probably make ragged cuts at first; never mind, you will improve with practice. Use an ordinary razor blade and slide one side of it into a cork for safety; or buy a barbers straight razor at a cutlery store.
For a 16 to 18 inch loaf make 3 slashes. Note that those at the two ends go straight down the loaf but are slightly off centre, while the middle slash is at a slight angle between the two. Make the first cut at the far end, then the middle cut, and finally the third. Remember that the blade should lie almost parallel to the surface of the dough.)
26. As soon as the dough has been slashed, moisten the surface either by painting with a soft brush dipped in cold water, or with a fine spray atomizer, and slide the baking sheet onto rack in upper third of preheated oven. Rapidly paint or spray dough with cold water after 3 minutes, again in 3 minutes, and a final time 3 minutes later.
(Moistening the dough at this point helps the crust to brown and allows the yeast action to continue in the dough a little longer. The bread should be done in about 25 minutes; the crust will be crisp, and the bread will make a hollow sound when thumped. If you want the crust to shine, paint lightly with a brush dipped in cold water as soon as you slide the baking sheet out of oven.)

29. Cool the bread on a rack or set it upright in a basket or large bowl so that air can circulate freely around each piece.
(Although bread is always exciting to eat fresh from the oven, it will have a much better taste when the inside is thoroughly cool and has composed itself.)


Remarks:
Because it contains no fats or preservatives of any kind, French bread is at its best when eaten the day it is baked. It will keep for a day or two longer, wrapped airtight and refrigerated, but it will keep best if you freeze it – let the loaves cool first, then wrap airtight. To thaw, unwrap and place on a baking sheet in a cold oven; heat the oven to 400 degrees. In about 20 minutes the crust will be hot and crisp, and the bread thawed. The
French, of course, never heat French bread except possibly on Monday, the baker’s holiday, when the bread is a day old.
After each bread session, if you have used canvas, brush it thoroughly to remove all traces of flour and hang it out to dry before putting away. Otherwise the canvas could become mouldy and ruin your next batch of dough.


Serving suggestions:
Eat this bread with cheese, pate, dried meat/sausages, savory and sweet spreads or alongside a bowl of soup. Use it to make toasts, bruschette, bread pudding or sandwiches.

Etant donné la longueur du texte original, je n'ai malheureusement pas pu faire une traduction française de ce billet et je m'en excuse auprès de tous mes amis blogueurs francophones!!!

Voici les blogs où vous trouverez cette recette en version française:
chez Vibi de "La Casserole Carrée" (Canada)
chez Isa de "Les Gourmandises d'Isa" (Canada)