Foodiva's Kitchen: Malted Grain Dragon Tail Baguettes

Monday, August 22, 2011

Malted Grain Dragon Tail Baguettes

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

After a year of having a go at it, I am just slowly beginning to take pride in my bread baking skills. But then my confidence would endure a slapdown every time I peruse through the weekly contributions on Wild Yeast blog's "Yeastspotting" (I can't help torturing myself). Compared to all those artisan breads, my quickfix, yeasty creations only deserved a place at the periphery of great bread-dom. In fact, my breads are probably among the lowest of the bread castes. There are so many rules in bread baking, and because I'm naturally not good with rules, the thought of baking with starters, multiple proofings steps, employing various hydration methods/ratios, etc all tend to make me shudder. 




Then one day, I came across these beauties called Dragon Tail Baguettes and I felt my heart leap out of my chest (or a very close sensation to it). Susan of Wild Yeast herself posted about these and more than anything else, I wanted to replicate them. But once I saw the recipe, my heart sank because it called for the use of poolish and diastatic malt powder. Okay, what on earth were those? 

I did a bit of research and poolish is apparently a type of fermentation starter. According to Wikipedia, "a pre-ferment and a longer fermentation in the bread-making process have several benefits: there is more time for yeast, enzyme and, if sourdough, bacterial actions on the starch and proteins in the dough; this in turn improves the keeping time of the baked bread, and it creates greater complexities of flavor." So there you have it. I could do poolish. In this case, the poolish required 0.1g of yeast, which meant I would need some seriously precise weighing equipment. 


Delicate machines like the above. Luckily, I have a digital scale at home, but even that doesn't go below 1g. As it happened, when I moved house about two months ago, my friends gave me some cool kitchen-warming gifts which included a digital spoon scale that measures down to one decimal point!  Thank you again KJ, Eyezar and Layloo...you guys are the best! So if you want to know what 0.1 g of yeast looks like, that's it in the above right picture. Can you see the yeast grains? To be practical, you can actually use your fingers to take a very small pinch of yeast. No real need for all this ultra-fancy stuff. But wait, to measure out the flour and water, you would need a digital scale as the weights are very precise. It's artisan, people. Creating true art is never going to be easy!

Look at that lovely grains and my bubby poolish!

I had no idea where to get diastatic malt powder but the bread gods must've been looking out for me because I suddenly remembered seeing a pack of organic malted grain bread flour in my pantry. It was about to expire in 2 months' time, so this recipe had come along at the right moment. I substituted a cup of regular flour with the malted grain flour and then made up the whole mixture to 425g using regular flour. It's roughly a 1:4 ratio, I think. 

First proofing

I started the poolish the night before and 12 hours later, it was all happily bubbling at the surface and ready for use. My baguettes were not as long as I wanted it to be because my baking sheet was not that big, so I placed each loaf diagonally across the sheet. Just before baking, I scored the baguettes with a pair of scissors and pulled the cut dough bits over itself to form a series of 'tails'. 


You can see how I did it above, but if it's still not clear, here is an excellent video showing you how:



I'm really glad I made these. Hardly artisan-class just yet, but the baguettes were so delicious it was worth whiling a whole Sunday afternoon away to bake them. Thanks, Susan for sharing the recipe. I'm going to send this post back to Yeastspotting and I'm crossing my fingers that you'll approve! 

These were so good and crusty when they were fresh out of the oven.

Look at those yummy grains!

I was not a child of the 70s, but I know all about the trends of that era - bell bottoms, halter necks, thick hair with bad partings (and now we have Justin Bieber), neon-like sweets laden with additives... Here's another very good thing to come out of the 70s - Bread's "I Want To Make It With You". Yes, the choice is perfectly intentional, but what a great tune! You can sing along to it while you're kneading your dough, and should you desire, change the chorus to "I want to bake it with yoooooou....." Anyone within earshot would be none the worse for it.




Malted Grain Dragon Tail Baguettes
(Adapted from Wild Yeast)

Poolish:
219 g flour
219 g water
0.1 g (a small pinch) instant yeast

Final Dough:
425 g flour (I used 1 cup of malted grain flour and made up the weight difference with all-purpose flour)
219 g water
3 g (1 teaspoon) instant yeast
12.7 g (2-1/8 teaspoons) salt
All of the poolish

Method:
Before baking day:
The day before prepare the poolish. In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the poolish. Cover and let ferment for 12 – 15 hours, or until the surface is creased and pebbled with bubbles.

Baking day:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook, combine all of the final dough ingredients but with 90% of the water. Mix on low speed to incorporate the ingredients, add the remaining 10% water as needed to achieve a medium dough consistency. Continue mixing to a low-medium level of gluten development.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment at room temperature for about one hour and 15 minutes.
3. Turn the dough into a lightly floured counter. I divide the dough into three pieces. Pre-shape each piece into a cylinder, cover, and let rest for 20 – 30 minutes. Shape the dough into baguettes and place them on parchment or silicon baking sheet. Leave to proof again for the second time, covered, for about one hour, or until the indentation left by a fingertip in the dough springs back very slowly.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240ºC. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking. I placed a cake pan with hot water at the bottom of the oven.
5. Just before baking, make the dragon tails following the method shown in the video above. When the loaves are in the oven, reduce the temperature to 230ºC. Bake for 7 minutes with steam, and another 10 minutes or so without steam (take the cake pan out). Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves for another 5 minutes, with the door ajar, to let the loaves dry for a crisp crust. Cool on a wire rack.

54 comments:

Torviewtoronto said...

Maya I haven't heard of this name before but I love the look and texture of these baguettes looks fabulous

Three-Cookies said...

I make my own regular and sourdough but there are so many terms in your post that I am not familiar with. Back to the books, I have lots more to learn:)

yummychunklet said...

How pretty! I like the Bread song at the end (my mother's favorite!) and I like how you're putting quotes at the beginning of the post.

Manu said...

Ohhhh My!!!! That is the most beautiful baguette I have ever seen! I love it! And the inside looks just perfect! I wish I could taste a little piece!!!

Foodiva said...

Akheela, if you do a search, there are not many hits for dragon tail baguettes, so yes I was excited to make this because so few people have made it and posted about it!

Foodiva said...

Three Cookies, I ave a good hunch that your bread baking skills are way more advanced than mine ;-).

Foodiva said...

Yummy chunklet, I'm glad that your mom and I share the same taste in music. But let me repeat, I was just a child in the 70s... Hahaha, a little fearful that I could be old enough to BE your mother! ;-))

Foodiva said...

Manu, these are the most elegant baguettes I've ever made. Wait... They're the FIRST baguettes I ever made! Isn't that funny? I should've started with the regular ones first, but as usual, I jumped in at the deep end... Thank you!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I actually made French baguette twice two years ago (even though I said I'm not a baker). Both time I used this "poolish" method and I think it was really good method. Anyway, your dragon tail baguettes are SUPER COOL and such an attention getter!! It was so fun watching how you shape up the dough! You are amazing... always unique and extraordinary, Maya!!!

Lizzy said...

Oh, these are stunning! You really have mastered bread making...this one is extraordinary, Maya!!!

shaz@feedingmykidsbetter said...

Never heard of these, but what a name! :)

Foodiva said...

Nami, you're a closet baker...I KNEW it!! LOL.

Foodiva said...

Lizzy, thanks but I'm just starting out in bread baking. Once I've truly mastered it, you'll hear of a Foodiva's Bakery opening somewhere near you! Haha...

Foodiva said...

Shaz, I never heard of it either before I made it! For now, dragon tails are still quite rare :-).

Kelly @ Eat Yourself Skinny said...

What a great idea, I LOVE these!! So creative and looks delicious, impressive! :)

Ann said...

These are STUNNING! I've worked with a poolish before - I made ciabatta and it was amazing. Worth the extra effort.

I love the song from Bread....I, too am a product of 70s music!

Trix said...

Now see, the only kind of baking I really LOVE to do is bread! This is soooooo cooool. HEART dragon tails. I just looove that smell of the fermenting starter, it's peaceful to me somehow. Even though I've made yeast breads I actually just made my first baguette yesterday, so clearly we are 2 great minds thinkin' alike. You are clearly a natural at it!

Lilly said...

I have never seen a baguette like this before…so pretty! Not bad for someone who claim not to be a baker =)

Foodiva said...

Trix, I checked out your baguette pizza...that's some seriously delicious makeover, girl! Your baguette vibes must've travelled all the way here because I'm not even sure what prompted me to make these dragon tails, on a Sunday too, when I'm supposed to be resting and spending quality time with the familia!

Foodiva said...

Lilly, I'm just taking baby steps in bread baking...LOL. There's so much to learn!

Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchen said...

TOO cool! I definitely want to try this :)

5 Star Foodie said...

Neat! I love the way these dragon tail baguettes look! And I bet they are fantastic made with this malted bread flour!

Michael Toa said...

I think you're an awesome baker Maya. I need to practise my bread baking skill. I really like the look of this dragon tail baguettes. Such fun.
I tagged you in a game. If you have the time, feel free to play along. Details can be found on my latest post.

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

You get an A+ in researching and getting new ingredients. Wow what a scale. I have a digital that starts at 1 g too but that fancy one nice! Very cool way to shape the bread.

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I never used this type of flour but I'm glad now I have a well tested recipe to try it out :) Amazing job!

Working london mummy said...

Wow how adventurous to make your own starter too. What a lovely way to have a bread for sharing at dinner parties. Looks nice inside too. x

Foodness Gracious said...

Just the word "malted" makes me excited. I love deep dark breads full of flavor and mystery. Less fluff dough and more duff dough I say!
Thanks for sharing...

Amy said...

These are beautiful and they have such a perfect crumb! I can imagine they would be fabulous dipped in olive oil with a light dinner!

Jenny (VintageSugarcube) said...

I had no idea homemade bread could be sooo stunning! I don't think there's anything you can't cook or bake Miss Maya. You the hot sizzle!!! :)

Gina said...

I want to bake with you, too! lol. My dear, you belong up there with the yeasty elities, don't be so hard on yourself. I think they are beautiful, wish I had one actually.
-Gina-

Erin said...

Wow! That is just beautiful! I do not have a talent with bread! Amazing!

Roxana GreenGirl said...

Maya, you know I love making bread and this is definitely a must try!! I have never made a dragon tail before and you just inspired me. Keep on baking yeast breads, I'll be drooling every time!

Michelle said...

Just beautiful! Thank you for the detailed instructions!

Foodiva said...

Michael, thanks for the tag! Will post my thoughts on it sometime this weekend...oh god, dreading the controversial one!

Foodiva said...

Evelyne@CEE, thanks Miss! It's been a while since I got an A+ in anything, especially bread baking...haha.

Foodiva said...

LOL, Jenny, thank you sooo much! But for your info, I'm still a failure at macarons :-). Working on it, though!

Foodiva said...

Gina, just admit it, I KNOW you sing to this Bread tune whenever you're kneading dough! Thanks for your utmost compliment about my being amongst the yeasty elites, and I wanted to say "yeay, bring on the thrush!" but then remembered I've got to keep things fairly clean on this blog. So I'm refraining. ;-)

Foodiva said...

Roxana, I just checked out your apple bread, it is GORGEOUS! I'm going to have to learn a lot more from you.

Rita D K Simmons said...

Great job Maya, it looks perfect and sounds delicious. Thanks for the recipe and video demo too.

PFx said...

And just like that huh, you're an amazing baker!?!
You make it so easy. Hahaha. Stunningly done Maya!
Song's too 70s for my taste, tho I like the rock of that era ;P

Tina said...

Very well done. The instructions and the step by step pictures are crystal clear. I love all the grains in there-your baguettes are stunning. Please send bread-Yum!

the [sugar] apothecary said...

So inspiring! I am a terrible bread baker. Similar to my history with houseplants, my yeast-wrangling skills have yet to produce anything remotely alive and/or gas-producing. The inside of that finished baguette just looks SO good... I might have to buck up and try this. Oh, the glorious scent of freshly baked bread!

PS: I love the look of the unbaked, scored baguette. Is it wrong that the first thing that came to mind was a row of marshmallow chick Peeps? Come on, you can see it too, right? http://puppybunnyguineapretty.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/colorpeeps.jpg

Foodiva said...

Pierre, yeah just like that...haha! Of course, there's an art to making things look easy, even when they're not ;-). This music is not to your taste probably because you weren't BORN yet in the 70s!

Foodiva said...

Thanks Tina, if you give me your address, bread will be couriered ASAP! LOL.

Foodiva said...

Christine@the sugar apothecary, I have a lousy history with houseplants too...is it related to our crappy breadbaking skills, do you think? What an inspired observation about the peeps! Now that you mentioned it, that's all I see in that photos above ;-)). LOL.

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

WOW! this looks unbelieveable! great job Maya:) thank you for sharing this.

Adrian (Food Rehab) said...

What an epic baguette this is! So big it can last me weeks! Thanks for this- I can use it for a house party. This anda whole lotta olive oil will be the entree LOL

Foodiva said...

Sarina@BBK, thanks! And glad you came by, it's been a while and you were missed :-).

Foodiva said...

Adrian, it's not actually as big as a regular baguette, as my oven is standard sized, not industrial. I think the close-up and name (dragon) probably created the illusion that it's HUGE...LOL.

Shirley said...

King Arthur Flour sells diastatic malt powder online: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/diastatic-malt-powder-16-oz

You'll probably need it as you bake more bread. This is truly impressive! I've never seen a bread shaped like this one. So cool.

luciacara said...

Thanks for posting the recipe - your baguettes look great and I love malted wheat flakes...I will have to try this bread!

Foodiva said...

Shirley, thanks so much for the link! I wouldn't know where to start looking for that malt powder.

Foodiva said...

Luiacara, I hope you'll try making these baguettes. They were so much fun to shape!

Winnie said...

Your baguettes look so beautiful!
Nice job, I really love it

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