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Monday, January 25, 2016

Snow Day!

Projects to do on an unexpected day at home
Yesterday we had a major snowstorm on Long Island. It took us one-and-a-half hours to shovel the stairs, the path to the car, and then release the car from the 3-foot snow drift that covered it. Aside from a sore back, it was kind of fun. This morning I carefully walked to the train station on the black ice in the dark, only to find the trains (in spite of the MTA website saying things were running on schedule) were not actually running. So I turned around and headed home.
Now what do I do?

It's time to bake bread! One kind of bread I have never tried is a classic baguette. So I went to Food52, my go-to reliable food website and found this recipe, here we go:

Dan Leader's 4 hour Baguette

Makes 3 baguettes

1 1/2 cup (12 ounces) tap water, heated to 115° F
1 teaspoon (1/8 ounce) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups (14 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons (3/8 ounces) kosher salt
Canola oil, for greasing bowl
1/2 cup ice cubes

Whisk together water and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes. Add flour, and stir with a fork until dough forms and all flour is absorbed; let dough sit to allow flour to hydrate, about 20 minutes. Add salt, then transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough ball to a lightly greased bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and place bowl in a cold oven or microwave. Let dough rest until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and shape into an 8-inch x 6-inch rectangle. Fold the 8-inch sides toward the middle, then fold the shorter sides toward the center, like a T-shirt. Return dough, seam side down, to the bowl. Cover with plastic again, and return to oven. Let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Remove bowl with dough from oven, and place a cast–iron skillet on the bottom rack of oven; position another rack above skillet, and place a baking stone or upside down or rimless sheet pan on it.

Heat oven to 475° F. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into three equal pieces; shape each piece into a 14-inch rope. Flour a sheet of parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet; place ropes, evenly spaced, on paper. Lift paper between ropes to form pleats; place two tightly rolled kitchen towels under long edges of paper, creating supports for the loaves. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let sit until it doubles in size, about 50 minutes.

Uncover; remove towels, and flatten paper to space out loaves. Using a sharp razor, knife, bread lame, or scissors, slash the top of each baguette at a 30–degree angle in four spots; each slash should be about 4 inches long. Pull out the oven rack with the stone or baking sheet on it and, using the corner of the parchment paper as a guide, slide the loaves, still on the parchment paper, onto the baking stone or pan. Place ice cubes in skillet (this produces steam that lets the loaves rise fully before a crust forms). Bake the baguettes until darkly browned and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes; cool before serving.Where's the butter?

Okay so those are the original instructions which I found really confusing. I just put the dough ropes on a silpat, let them rise and then slid it onto the hot, up-side-down sheet pan in the oven. Check out the photos, they came out pretty well.