This week? The French baguette - or is it a batard?
If you've ever been into a boulangerie you'll know that:
a) baguettes take hours and hours to make and are usually started by the baker the night before,
b) they're best eaten straightaway and take on a fossilised consistency by the following morning,
c) bakers generally wash their cars at 3 a.m. because they're waiting for the magic to happen,
d) the little piece of paper that they wrap the hot baguette in is so that you can walk home with it under your armpit without everybody else being disgusted at your personal hygiene levels.
The big question is....how can you manage to achieve (a) at home. I'm afraid that (b), (c) and (d) are between you and your Higher Power.
Over the years, I've experimented with a number of recipes and approaches. Because life is short and I'm all for making things as easy as possible....this is my contribution to the mystery of the baguette...
I'm starting with T55 French flour. It's the equivalent to Italian Type 'O' flour - not as fine as the Type 'OO' that you'd use for pizza but a little finer than the normal strong white flour we have in the UK.