This week has been a great baking week and there is nothing like fresh baked bread with a crisp crust and some ripe cheese. I practiced making some French artisinal bread, French country bread to be more specific. It includes 8-10% wheat flour vs. 100% unbleached bread flour as the regular French artisinal bread does. Why is it called artisinal? Because it resembles the bread made by the small bakers who crafted the technique of using pate fermentee (fermented dough), or old dough reserved from part of the last batch of bread to make their next batch. Artisinal bread has a richer, slightly sour flavor and I think it is well worth the extra step.
I love the process of making bread, and it doesn't take as much time as one might think. Yes, hours are needed for raising and proofing, but that is time that you can spend reading, cleaning, excercising, or making homemade soup to accompany your fresh baked baguettes! This time, I mixed up and kneaded the pate fermentee on Sunday evening and let the dough rise while Lou and I went out for Sushi. When we returned, I put it in the refrigerator to ferment for 1 to 3 days. Monday, I was way too busy, but on Tuesday, I found time to mix up the Pain de Campagne, or country bread. It was a recipe out of The Bread Maker's Apprentice,