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Shaping and Sealing French Bread

httStart by dividing the dough into desired portions, round and form into logs.

Flatten the dough using the heels of your hand, make sure the thickness is even.

Fold the short end of the dough and press using your fingers.

Roll the log using the heels of your hands, i am using my right hand to take the pictures since i have no one else in the house to take them, (you can view the complete steps in my ebook if you want). Honestly, i just watched the bakers at Purefood's Flour do this maybe 8 times and practiced it at home for another 8 times before i managed to make a decent looking baguette.

Pinch to seal and pan. I left my baguette pan back home, this one is too small i bought on sale for $9.99 just to please myself but i am not happy with this buy.
Way too small for my baking style.

Proof the baguettes until they triple in size, yes, triple.

The proofed dough, and the baking (see how they puff up once inside the oven). I am not baking these golden brown since i will be freezing them all. Baking golden brown is fine when you are serving them on the same day and i am not.
The baguettes bursting out of the pan, see i told you that is why i hate this baguette pan. Part of the learning curve is knowing how much dough is needed for the size of the pan, i know i used too much but i am too tired to grease another improvised baking pan. My baking pans which i shipped to my sister's apartment in Manhattan is still there gathering dust. We are waiting for her friend to drive the whole box to our house so i am scratching my head in frustration. You cannot be happy when you bake with very inferior tools and gadgets and in this case, irregular sized baking pans.

My own version of Subway, healthy whole wheat sandwich. Please see the simple recipe under sponge and dough page. Again, happily baking at normal proofing temperatures of 79 F- 82 F. This one was a lucky batch. Always record the room temperature or the proofing temperature if you are a beginning baker, every room in our house here in New York has a thermometer so i can tell what temperature is all the time. Write down also how long it took to get to the size you want. More on the proofing troubleshooting on my ebook, i wrote extensively on mixing, proofing and baking pretty much how i learned to adapt to varying degrees of temperatures, mixers, and ovens...

My old large baguette pan (shown here below) with WHOLE WHEAT FRENCH BREAD, inside my large deck oven back in the Philippines. As i have previously posted, this deck oven has been with me since 1998, fits the largest baking pan you can imagine, even a whole pig! It cost me only P6700.00 but you can buy it now for a reasonable P13,000-P15,000.00 which is a huge blessing to you if you are planning to open a business. Most of these suppliers deliver in the provinces such as Cabanatuan, Bulacan, Batangas so do check it out. I have a former student who can give you a discount just mention my name to him, his shop is in Divisoria.

This baguette pan, will fit only 4 pieces, the 1 kilogram batch in the ebook can make 5 of these, so you can see i have to place the 5th baguette on a separate baking sheet. Not the same. The cradle design creates a round bottom, baking them on a flat baking sheet will cause the baguette to spread. Now you know why i need this perforated baguette pan. I tried to fit it inside the Johnny Air balikbayan box, no can do. This one i bought for only P700.00 in a trade fair in Pasay. I am looking for the same design here, same size but they cost like $45 to as much as $100.00+++.

Here in the U.S., deck ovens such as this one would rack up a humongous gazillion $10,000-$35,000! I would rather pack up my bags and just stay in our beach house in Baler, Aurora, watch the sunset and eat as many  "buko" (young coconut) and "banana cue" as i can than set-up a bakery here. It is ridiculously expensive, so you guys in the Philippines are fortunate. You can start a bakery in your kitchen like most of us do, get a permit (some do not), inspected by a Food Sanitation officer in one day, (if your locality requires it) and spend less than P5,000 total in processing fees, no fuss. In a weeks time, you can operate a decent looking bakery in your own front yard or rent a small space etc., for so much less than you would up here. 

 Oh boy, I am so glad i did not sell my baking equipment, baking pans,etc. I realized that i am more of a teacher than a baker after all. Looks like i will be coming back to my baking school sooner than i think.

One time peek through my oven and baguette pan, i got nostalgic. It does bring you back in time, especially if you cling to that perfection in your craft and you cannot practice it. I love to teach, i like to talk about breads, i like to make people happy through baking, so not being able to teach and just bake is like eating bread without the "palaman" (filling) to me. Still good but not that good.

The banner image you see on top is the most recent 2nd day session i had with my students. The baguette on top is baked on the same baguette pan as the whole wheat french bread (featured also in the ebook). Unlike the smaller pan above, this is heavy aluminum steel, and has a thick heavy support base at the bottom so it does not warp under extreme high temperatures.

The specks of cracked whole wheat on the dough, low fat, low sugar but satisfying enough to gather guests at the center of the table to sample this. If i want to brag about my baking, i bring this to the a friend's table. I used a sponge and dough to create this flavorful bread.


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