yesterday marked my first attempt at baguettes. actually, i didn't plan to make them. no, i struck out to make two of tartine's olive boules, because i'm back on track and following my experiment, linear like, see, as well a respectable gal should.
it is not with regret that i took this turn. i must avow that there's a good chance that it might have been premeditated. i kept fantasizing about how awesome it would be to have olive baguettes when none of l.a. could make the same claim. before i knew it, i had shaped the black studded dough into lancets, and cradled them within dusted hammocks to be born into my new addiction.
in tartine bread, chad robertson says that shaping baguette dough is difficult because you have to handle it much more than you do with other shapes. i wish i had read the text before forging headlong through the baguette frontier. evidently it is a highly evolved process that when undertook, yields impeccably tapered loaves, impossibly thin, with the crisped and pointed ends as sharp as scalpels that are all the rage in bread land.
chad also promises that practice makes perfect. and i want to believe him, desperately, because i imagine myself making baguettes so comely that they might make people swoon. chad's baguettes make people swoon.
my first born, i will admit, are the ugly children that only a mother could love. two, a little ashen, their slashes indecipherable, all of them more zaftig than chad's sleek and razor sharp spears. but no matter.
their crusts shattered like grandmother's good crystal would if the party got out of hand. and the crumb, oh the crumb. it was tender beyond explanation. open, briny, and fruity with slick, obsidian olives, fragrant of lemon and thyme.
there were four, but i ate one straight away, completely swaddled in bliss. one was shuttled off to my neighbor just a few doors beyond.
i feel a new love affair developing between bread and me. who knew that it could be even better than i've already come to know. my only regret in breaking my new plan to follow this book in linear fashion from beginning to end is that i didn't jump to the middle and make baguettes sooner.
Baguettes In Olive & Thyme