French Bread

24 Jan

Adding to my ever-increasing bread baking repertoire, this weekend I decided to try my hand at a French style loaf.  So again I consulted my sensei, Barry Harmon over at Artisan Bread Baking, prepared my oven for stone baking, and set about my craft.

I prepared the poolish on Friday night in a Tupperware container, covered it, and placed it inside my oven (oven not on!) so there would be no drafts to stunt the  fermentation. I found that doing this allowed me to get maximum growth during these winter months (my house is quite drafty!).  By Saturday morning, I had a nice pre-ferment to work with! The mixing, kneading, proofing, and folding went along as planned, it is more a matter of patience now than technique, I have a hard time waiting the necessary time for resting and proofing! I want to jump to the next step that I often find myself pacing back and forth to the kitchen!

I had no idea how to shape my loaf once I had the dough divided, so I happened upon a great instruction for shaping dough into a batard (thank God for the Internet) , then I simply stretched out the batard a bit to about 14 inches in length and let it rise again for another 2 hours. The baking is by far, my favorite part. I just love the smells wafting through my kitchen.  To me, nothing is more inviting to a home then the smell of fresh bread! This bread was a great addition to the Potato and Leek soup I made for Sunday dinner!

The Crumb

Take a look at the crumb!

Pain sur Poolish


  • 300 g. Bread Flour
  • 300 g. Water
  • 5 ml (1 tsp)  Dry Active Yeast


  • All the Poolish from above
  • 690 g. bread flour
  • 300 g. Water
  • 24 g Salt
  • 5 gr (2 tsp) Dry Active Yeast
  1. Make the poolish the night before, cover the container and let it sit on the counter overnight.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together with the dough hook for 2 minutes. Then let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

    First Mix

    First mix

  3. Mix again with the dough hook for 15 minutes.


    After Kneading

  4. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let ferment for 1 1/2 hours.

    Final Fermentation

    After Final fermentation

  5. Fold the dough (I used a Hammelman fold), then back in the bowl  to ferment for 30 minutes more.
  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces (mine were about 680 grams each). Let the pieces rest, covered, on the counter for 10 minutes.


    More or less divided!

  7. Shape each piece into a batard.


    The Batard

  8. Let the loaves relax on a well-floured surface and covered by a damp towel, for 15 minutes.
  9. Gently stretch the loaves to a length of between 12 and 14 inches.
  10. Place the loaves on parchment paper and let them rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They should double.
  11. Slash the loaves along the length of the dough right down the center.

    The Slash

    Slashed down the center

  12. Heat the oven to 475F / 245C. Place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven for steam and place the baking stone or tiles on the oven rack. (Let it preheat for about 45 minutes while your loaves are rising to get the stones to temperature)
  13. Bake, for 15 minutes, then turn the loaves and bake until done (about 30 minutes) or to an internal temperature of 200F / 93C  (the loaves will sound hollow when rapped on the bottom).

    After 15 minutes of baking

    After 15 minutes of baking

  14. Let the loaves cool on a wire rack.


    Cooling on the rack

Pain Sur Poolish

Final Product - Pain Sur Poolish

2 Responses to “French Bread”

  1. Ally's Kitchen January 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Truly a masterpiece! Love it! 🙂

    • cjdelgrosso January 25, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      Thank you very much for stopping by! I am indeed flattered.

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