Friday, August 19, 2011

Insert Coins Here...

Picture this; a beautiful baguette with perfect ears, golden brown, with a thin crisp crust that gives under your hand and an open crumb. Now take a deep breath. Do you smell it? There is little better than the smell of freshly baked bread, you can transcend time to a moment of happiness and youth. It smells somehow brown and warm and like comfort. As you hold the still hot baguette in your hand you can hear the crackling of a loaf just taken from the oven, and dinner is no longer mundane leftovers, it's suddenly new again. Are you picturing it?

Now picture yourself taking that same baguette out of a vending machine, where there are dozens of other baguettes waiting to be 'ordered' and dispensed. Baguettes waiting for money to be put in, the heat to kick on and freshen up the par-baked loaf, so that in seconds it's ready to be in your hands, and you on your way home. I bet that wasn’t part of your initial image! It certainly wasn’t part of mine until I read an article about a baker in France. IN FRANCE!!! The land of the baguette!!

Jean-Louis Hecht is the mind behind the madness and he thinks it makes a lot of sense. Jean-Louise was tired of people coming to his apartment to ask for bread after his two shops were closed for the day. And what he came up with was a way to fill a void, and get some sleep. There aren’t many late night grocery’s in France but there sure are a lot of late night people; shift workers, hungry wine enthusiasts and anyone else who forgot to grab their bread for dinner during the day. According to Jean-Louise, this might be the just what France needs. As of now, there are only two vending machines one next to each of

his own two bakeries and he has put a lot of work put into them, over two years now getting it just right. That work has paid off. In his debut month he sold 1600 baguettes and the following month 4500!! While these machines will never replace his bakeries they are certainly making some hungry customers very happy, a common goal of all bakers.

Forget the vending machine and let's make some fresh baguettes to make OUR customers happy. I know I don’t have to tell you if you are looking for a bread mix or base Abel & Schafer should be your first and last stop. There are great advantages to having a company based in Europe that’s is more than 100 years old, one of them is thorough knowledge of bread. And Europe knows bread. If we were going to make a baguette in our test kitchen our go to product is called Natural Country French, 31006. It’s a 10% base that enhances artisan breads, a dehydrated pre-ferment. From there, it’s pretty easy. Mix as usual, rest and shape the dough, and *retard overnight* then proof and bake. (You can bake the same day, but our best results include overnight retardation). The formula is below. We bake in a 450 degree oven, until it’s a deep golden brown.

If you want to read about Jean-Louis Hect, click here! or here

Lean Dough Baguette

80% Patent Flour

10% Clear Flour

10% Natural Country French 31006

0.7% Dried Yeast

66-68% Water

(I didn't forget's in the Natural Country French!)

Let me know how it goes!


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