Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ying Shi's 36 Hour Baguette Formula

Ying Shi is better known to the english speaking bread world as txfarmer. Her posts on The Fresh Loaf are are truly unbelievable with their innovative recipes and their jaw-drop-gorgeous photos. One recipe and it's many iterations has gained a sort of online copy-cat cult following: 36 Hour Baguettes. I've been itching to try my hand at this since I started with sour dough but I wanted to wait to grow my skills a bit, as this is a fairly advanced bread. As Ying herself says, the trickiest part is just knowing how manage the length of the fermentation. If your house or refrigerator is a few degrees warmer or cooler, or if your starter is really agressive or really lazy, your times can vary by several hours.

Please do not attempt to emulate my shaping here. I am still pretty bad at this. If you want to learn more about baguette shaping or shaping in general there are some good videos on YouTube.

As the fermentation goes, I think I got darn close for a first time. The amazing thing about this formula is that even though the dough is super wet, the extra long autolyse, the stretch and folds and the long dough retardation give it a great structure. When I pulled the dough out of the bowl to shape, I couldn't believe how pillowy and soft it was. I've really never felt a dough quite like it.

The crumb was wonderfully open and soft. I have a super awful bread knife at my disposal which shredded it a bit, and I maybe could have waited for it to cool a bit longer, but it tasted as good as any bread I've ever made, or bought at a bakery for that matter. It didn't need butter or anything because it has so much flavor. I highly recommend trying this recipe out if you are thinking about it. I will be making it often.

The turtles are happy, and so am I.

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