Ugh! With Baguettes, You Have to Be on Your Game!

Okay… I have to admit that this is a bit of a rant – at myself. As I sit and write this post, I’m pissed off! I just finished shaping a set of baguettes and while ultimately they’ll turn out okay, the dough fought me every step of the way, and I tore the skin – not bad, mind you, but I still did it – on each and every one! The dough seemed to fight me every step of the frickin’ way! The gluten was so tight. On top of that, it kept on sticking to my left palm, hence the tearing!

What I should have done was let the dough rest a little more because they were obviously not relaxed. And what I also should’ve done was to make sure my palms were nicely floured. DUH!

The big lesson here is that you can’t force the dough to do something it just won’t do. You need the patience to let it get to the point where you can manipulate it the way you want.

And I think what pisses me off so much is that I KNOW this! Yet this morning, I was being a stubborn ass because I was already pissed off about another thing. Oy-vay!

The point of all this is that me being pissed off completely threw me off my game. Simple things like flouring my hands that I would normally just do I didn’t do! The patience that I normally have was just gone. And that affected the quality of my work, and it only pissed me off even more that I knew I was messing up yet couldn’t get back on my game!

And that’s the thing about baguettes. Once you start messing up, it’s hard to recover; not impossible, but it’s frustrating just the same. The dough’s so simple to make, and it’s so beautiful when it’s ready for shaping. But I’ll be damned if one little mistake can turn into an uncontrollable fiasco, like that little crack on a windshield that seemingly expands to a fissure all on its own.

Luckily, I was able to recover somewhat. After my dough relaxed after shaping, I was able to nudge and pull the loaves a bit on my couche and they ultimately turned out alright. But even still, that only slightly lightened my mood.

So I whipped up another batch of dough and did a redemption batch of Baguette de Tradition Francaise which, in my mind, are the most difficult of the baguette doughs with which to work – especially for a same-day bake. The 76% hydration with AP flour makes handling tricky, and you REALLY have to be on your game. This batch turned out gorgeous! Now I’m back in my happy place!


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