52 weeks of baking – 5 ingredients or less
On Bounty every watch had a chore to do, most of it was dishes, galley clean up, sweeping and mopping floors and cleaning the heads (toilets). The best chore of all was on the midnight to 4am watch, making bread.
This was the captain’s idea, the bread that the crew was producing went right back to them for snacks, it gave the cook one less thing to do. One afternoon the whole crew was gathered for a bread making lesson, the captain didn’t measure anything, just threw together flour, yeast, salt and water. Most of the loaves turned out not so great, hard bricks, I think it was a combination of using too hot of water and not kneading long enough. Eventually the cook had enough, she was tried of having ingredients go to waste, the bread would sit out and not get eaten because it was a poor texture. She no longer let the crew make bread in the middle of the night.
I was really disappointed; my watch group had not rotated to the 12-4am watch so I didn’t get a chance to make bread. One afternoon when I saw the cook making bread I asked her if she would teach me, I knew there had to be more to it than just what the captain had shared. For whatever reason she saw potential in me, I followed direction well and we had a good relationship. From then on I was the only one allowed to make bread in the middle of the night. Eventually I came to her with recipes I’d picked out myself, soon those became everyone’s favorite and I perfected a variety of breads.
It was time to get serious about bread, I did a lot of research, eventually I discovered cold fermentation; make the dough, let it sit in the fridge for a few days, then bake it. Having everything sit together for a few days allows for more flavor development from the ingredients and the environment. Letting the bread spend up to 4 days in the fridge makes a huge difference, it develops so much flavor, I’d say it not even worth if if you only have time for it to sit overnight. This baguette is rich in flavor with a fluffy interior and a crunchy crust, take the time to make this and you’ll never want to buy a baguette again.
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