03 August 2009

pain de beaucaire / beaucaire bread, p. 157 + my affinity for awkward mouse drawn images

beaucaire01beaucaire bread. yet another bread from mr. clayton’s the breads of france and how to bake them in your own kitchen. the bread is pretty normal until the moment before you bake it… because you bake it vertically. you stand the dough up and in it goes! i know i’m not making much sense, which is why i’ve drawn a little diagram below:

beaucairebreaddoes that help? if not, it will eventually if you decide to try to make this bread. but before you can shape it, you have to make the dough. so here are the ingredients one should gather:


1 cup unbleached or all-purpose flour

2 package dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105F-115F)


All of the starter

1 1/2 cups warm water (105F-115F)

1 tbs salt

5 cups unbleached or all-purpose flour, approximately

1 tbs melted butter + a brush

The night before, or at least 12 hours before baking, mix all the ingredients of the starter together in a large bowl. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature.

The next day, add the water and salt to the starter. Stir it up, then stir in the flour one cup at a time until it becomes too shaggy. Then, switch to your hands and make sure it’s nicely mixed.

Knead it for a (miserable) 15 minutes.

Let it rest under an inverted bowl for 15 minutes.

Now, the fun begins. The numbers I use will correspond to the diagram, but I also have some photos. So whichever one works best for you!

1. Roll the dough out to a rectangle that measures 18in x 10in. It should be approximately 1/2 inch thick.

2. Let it rest (covered, as usual) for a moment, perhaps 5-10 minutes.

3. cut it hot dog style, in half. use a sharp razorblade or a pastry wheel, you don’t want the dough to “pull” as you cut it.

beaucaire02 4. the original boulanger, monsieur moureau, strongly disapproves of this step… but mr. clayton finds that it works better for him… so you decide! brush one rectangle with water, then place the other dry strip on top of it.

5. mr. clayton says to sprinkle a surface with cornmeal to place your slab of dough on so it can move around as it rises, but i didn’t have any so I just used flour. flour your surface, then cover it with parchment paper and let it rise for 2 hours.

20 minutes before baking, slide an empty baking sheet into your oven and preheat it to 400F.

beaucaire03 6. once it’s done resting, cut your slab into six pieces.

beaucaire04use a sharp knife, and cut it back and forth rather than straight down – you don’t want to pinch the dough together. do it right,  and you will see an “open network of bubbles”

beaucaire057. Now, it’s ready for bake time! Take out your hot baking sheet, and gently pick up a piece of dough and set it on a cut edge on the baking sheet. the diagram might be more clear in this case. ideally you’d get smooth perfect rectangles that stand…. but this isn’t cardboard, it’s dough! so it’ll be lumpy and slumpy.

if the cut edge on top is not obvious because it was squashed when you tried to slice the slab, just use a sharp knife dipped in water to re-cut the original line.

beaucaire06 here’s the dough outlined so you can see the shape better.

Bake it for 30-35 minutes. Halfway through, rotate the baking sheet so the bread is baked evenly. 10 minutes before the end (paradise), brush your loaves with melted butter. if not, they’ll look really pasty, and you’ll lose out on that buttery smell that will emit from your oven.

beaucaire07and ta-da! almost vegan except for the butter. but the butter makes it smell, look, and taste so good. butter = better, and I could never be a vegan. sorry.

beaucaire08 so far, this has been my favorite bread from mr. clayton’s book. of course his instructions are better than mine, so definitely check it out if mine aren’t sufficient.

ps i would like to note that the pencil drawn version (original sketch) of the diagram took 5 minutes, and the awkward mouse drawn version one took 3 hours. this is a product of procrastination and not wanting to memorize irregular german verb tenses. but i think i’ve finally found a reason to dust off the old wacom tablet laying at home… if it’s still there.


wee trifles said...

Wow that looks so delicious! I never have the guts to make my own bread. mmm... fresh bread :)

Mark Aguhar said...

Oh hey, is that a drawing you spent all evening working on instead of studying German? Awesome! Lulz.

Rebekka said...

Woah. Adorable.

kk said...

wow!! That looks amazing! how strange to bake it this way. I can't wait to try this recipe! thank you for the great diagrams...they're so cute!

Erika said...

hey cathy!

so, first off, thanks for stopping by blog and commenting! that was so nice... i almost forgot about it... well, i didn't forget, but since i'm not traveling at the moment, i don't really know what to say. but i like your blog a lot and i noticed that you talked (at least a little) about your past travels, so i may do that as well... inspiration!

secondly, i love your blog. already. i am actually starting to read it from the beginning. i've gotten through september 08 and i am excited to read more! i love your images and i love the way you describe things. i am definitely bookmarking this site and coming back! i'm so interested in seeing where it goes... yay!!! :)

Jayme Duke said...

I love the mouse drawn diagram!

I might try my hand at this bread simply because it's different and a bit unusual, yet seems like it's rather simple. Gotta love the French, they always seem to do things differently when it comes to making food. That is always an inspiration to me :)

Ancarol said...

Really love your explain with the cute drawn : )

cathy said...

@wee: no guts needed, it's super relaxing and easy :)!
@mark: LUVZ
@rebekka: thanks!
@kk: i thought it was strange too, but it works
@erika: thank you so much! hope you enjoy reading it... there's lots more to come!
@jayme: unusual indeed, but oh so tasty. and just fun, i like to think of them as little boats.
@ancarol: thanks!

Fifi Flowers said...

That bread looks DIVINE!!!

Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said...

Hi, I love your drawings! Admiring your tai yang bing pic too! I want to make them.

Anonymous said...

Love the drawings, especially the "Zzzzzzzzzzzzz" comment. Love this bread. I brush it liberally with butter and salt as soon as it comes out of the oven. Takes me all the willpower I have not to eat them all.