Tag Archives: Bouchon Bakery Challenge

Bouchon Bakery Challenge: Dutch Crunch Demi-Baguettes

IMG_4858_edited-1

I am a day late with this post – sorry!  Yesterday just evaporated.  I don’t know where the time went.  I even forgot to go out and get the mail, which for me is surprising.

There are so many wonderful looking breads in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook.  It was really hard to decide which one to make!  I chose the Dutch Crunch Demi-Baguettes for several reasons.  Many of the bread recipes call for a levain, or sourdough starter.  Taking care of a levain is not a commitment I want to make right now.  For the breads that are best with a nice crusty exterior, the authors have developed a set-up where the home cook can create a hot steamy oven using river stones and a metal chain.  While it would be fun to give this method a try and learn to create wonderful, crusty breads, I am again not ready to commit to buying the tools and spending the time making the breads (maybe my challenge for 2014?).  Anyway, I had to choose from the recipes that do not use a levain and don’t require the steam set-up.  The Dutch Crunch Demi-Baquettes looked delicious and like something I had never made before.

IMG_4862_edited-1

The Process

The chapter on Breads includes very detailed instructions for everything from mixing the dough to shaping and baking.   I found the instructions for the Dutch Crunch bread easy to follow, though I probably should have read some of the introductory information a little more closely first!

Pre-shaped dough

Pre-shaped dough

The instructions for pre-shaping and shaping are especially helpful.  There are step-by-step instructions (including photos) for all the different loaf shapes.  The dough for my demi-baguettes was easy to work with and shape.

Fully shaped and ready to proof

Fully shaped and ready to proof

I had a little trouble getting my loaves to rise.  This is where reading the introductory information would have been helpful – I didn’t place my loaves in a warm enough location.  Moving them to a warmer spot did the trick.

The “crunch” part of the Dutch Crunch loaves comes from a topping made with rice flour, canola oil, yeast, and a touch of sugar and salt.  The topping is piped onto the loaves just before they are put into the oven.  I had always wondered how Dutch Crunch bread was made!

Topping piped on...ready to bake!

Topping piped on…ready to bake!

Results

Overall, my bread turned out very nicely!  I though the bottom crust was a little tough, but the crunch topping was very good and the bread had a nice flavor and texture.

IMG_4870_edited-1

The intro to the recipe suggests this bread is great for roast beef sandwiches, so that’s what I used it for.  These were very tasty sandwiches!

Roast beef sandwiches

Roast beef sandwich

My husband really liked this bread.  He said it would be “good for a picnic”, so I see some roast beef on Dutch Crunch sandwiches on a picnic in our future.  After our meal he said the bread “definitely gets high marks”.  He is generally not very effusive about food unless he really, really likes it, so I take this compliment seriously!

Recipe Notes

The instructions have you proof the bread under a plastic bin or cardboard box as a makeshift proofing box.  I used a cardboard box but next time I will try a plastic bin.  In our dry climate my loaves developed a dry crust as they were proofing, which hampered their rising.  Hopefully the plastic bin will prevent that.

Altitude Adjustments

The only adjustment I made was to add an extra tablespoon of water to the dough.  My bread was slightly dry and the dough not as sticky as I expected, so next time I will try adding a second extra tablespoon.

Crunchy topping

Crunchy topping

Next Month

I realized recently that I should probably tackle some of the more time-consuming recipes while my daughter is still in school, and save some “quicker” ones for summer when I won’t have as much time.  To that end, in March I will be making Traditional Croissants and Pains au Chocolat (page 242).  I may even try the Almond Croissants (page 249) with some of the leftovers.  I will share my results with you on March 26!

4 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Bouchon Bakery Challenge: Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins

Welcome to my first “results” post for my Bouchon Bakery Challenge!  Did anyone else make the Banana Muffins?

I have been thinking long and hard about whether or not to share the actual recipes each month, and I have decided against it.  I don’t feel comfortable sharing recipes from newly-published books.  Also, when I share recipes I like to paraphrase them a bit, and these recipes are so specific and verbose that I am sure I could not do them justice!  If I make significant changes to a recipe, then I will share my modified version.  I will always share any modifications for altitude, if I make any.  If I find a recipe published somewhere else on the Web I will include a link to it.

Banana Muffin Bite

Now that we have that business out of the way, how were the muffins?  I have to say, they were quite decadent and delicious.  I *loved* the streusel topping!  The crumb was very light and tender.  These muffins are more “cake-like” than “quick bread-like”.

I have a few minor quibbles with the recipe (actually the book in general).  All the ingredients in the book are given in both weight and volume measurements.  I actually love it when cookbooks do this because I have really grown to prefer weighing my ingredients when I bake.  But many of the weights are given in tenths of a gram, and my scale is only precise to whole grams.  My biggest quibble is when it comes to the eggs.  Here is what the recipe says for the egg:  “80 grams, or 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon”.  No indication of how many eggs that might be.  Turns out to be about 1 and a third eggs.  I get that the weight of the eggs is more precise, and that these recipes are scaled-down versions of the bakery recipes, but really!  The authors suggest breaking the eggs into a bowl, lightly beating them, straining them, and then weighing the mixed egg .  Then you end up with just a little bit of leftover egg.  It made me long for the more pedestrian call for “1 large egg”.

Bouchon Bakery Banana Muffins

Recipe Notes

  • The recipe instructions are for 6 large muffins.  I made 12 standard-sized muffins and baked them for roughly 28 minutes.
  • The Walnut Streusel Topping recipes makes enough for 2 batches of muffins.  Plan on having extra, or cut the recipe in half.
  • The recipe states the muffins are best the day they are baked.  While is it true they are *best* the day they are made, I still found them to be quite tasty after several days.  I just reheated them in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

Altitude Adjustments

When I adjust cake-like recipes for Reno’s altitude (~4500 feet) I usually add an extra egg or egg white.  I was unsure how to proceed given the way eggs are measured in this recipe (see my rant above).  I decided to see how much one egg + one egg white weighed.  It came out to about 100 grams, 20 more grams than the recipe calls for.  I went with it!

I also usually adjust the amounts of baking soda and baking powder, but I forgot to this time.  While my muffins were moist and delicious, they came out a little flat, as you can see in the picture below.

These muffins are a little flat...

These muffins are a little flat…

In an attempt to fix the “flat muffin syndrome” I made a second batch of muffins.  This time my egg and egg white weighed only 91 grams.  I reduced the baking powder and baking soda by 1/16 of a teaspoon each.  The muffins came out a little better, but still flatter than I’d like:

These are a little better but still flat.

These are a little better but still flat.

Next time I will see what happens if I use 2 whole eggs in addition to my baking powder/soda adjustments.

Next Month

February’s recipe is going to be Dutch Crunch Demi-Baguettes (page 318).  I will publish my results on February 26.

Did you make the Banana Muffins or anything else from Bouchon Bakery?  Let me know in the comments!

7 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Bouchon Bakery Challenge 2013

In 2012 I challenged myself to improve my bread-making skills.  While I did most of my baking in the first half of the year, I really enjoyed the challenge and feel like I learned a lot.  Specifically, I learned what adjustments I need to make to account for my altitude, and I feel more confident kneading and handling the dough.  I no longer feel intimidated by the idea of making bread and am ready to try branching out a bit.

For my 2013 challenge, I want to do something a little different.   For Christmas I received Thomas Keller’s new cookbook, Bouchon Bakery, co-written with Sebastien Rouxel.  It is a gorgeous book with so many wonderful-looking recipes.  Many of the recipes look fairly straight-forward, but there are also a lot that look time-consuming and challenging.  They all look delicious!

This is the type of book that I might enjoy looking at and dream of using, but potentially not get around to making many of the recipes.  To ensure I actually use this beautiful book, my challenge for 2013 is to make one recipe from Bouchon Bakery per month for the entire year.

There are 1o chapters in the book that contain recipes:

  • Cookies
  • Scones & Muffins
  • Cakes
  • Tarts
  • Pate A Choux
  • Brioche & Doughnuts
  • Puff Pastry & Croissants
  • Breads
  • Confections
  • Basics

I will make sure to hit each chapter at least once during the year.

Do you have a copy of Bouchon Bakery?  Would you like to join me in this challenge?  I will share my results the last Tuesday of each month, and will announce the following month’s recipe at the same time.  Feel free to join in and share your results each month!

For January 2013:  I decided to keep it simple this month and will be making Banana Muffins (pg. 81).  I will post my results on January 29!

6 Comments

Filed under Cooking