ficelle – two ways

Well, it is past time I started my journey toward making a great baguette. I’ve read Samuel Fromartz’s wonderful little book, received encouragement to stretch my baking boundaries from reading Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and for Christmas received Bread Illustrated by America’s Test Kitchen as a gift from Jack, my dog. Also, I’ve spent the last quarter of 2016, honing my baking chops through my month-long focus on baking a single type of bread. So, to kick off the new year, January’s bake is essentially a little baguette, the ficelle.

I’m calling my January baking project Ficelle – two ways because for one version, I’ll use yeast while for the other, I’ll use only natural leaven. Let’s get to it.

Reference Points

As always, step one starts with a look through my bread baking library – really consists of only like five books but they’re good ones – and an internet search to see what other bakers think about, are doing or have done with ficelle. Four stood out to me:

  • Bread winner by Mimi Thorisson – Finding this story…it represents simply everything that I love about bread and why I started to write about it – the people, the culture, craft, tradition – all of it. Anybody can follow a recipe but for me, Mimi Thorisson captures the essence of French bread.
  • Moisan: Ficelle Aperitif by David Lebovitz – Similar to the story above, David Lebovitz helps me to understand what makes ficelle, ficelle, and not baguette. The ratio of crust to crumb as a result of the smaller size means the ficelle isn’t really just a small baguette, the ficelle is a different experience.
  • Ficelles made with Anis Bouabsa’s baguette formula by David Snyder – I found this post on the everything bread site The Fresh Loaf. David Snyder, like me, is a self-trained home baker and shows what is possible through dedication to craft. Very encouraging.
  • Ficelle with sourdough by Weekend Bakery – I returned again to the folks at Weekend Bakery who consistently provide one of the best resources I’ve found for anyone interested in at-home bread baking.

Finally, to make this all work, I needed to get a baking stone for my oven. After much consideration, last week I purchased a 15×20 inch FibraMent-D baking stone through the manufacturer’s website. Hopefully, the stone will arrive some time this week so I’ll have it prepped and ready in time for baking this weekend.

Till then, and oh, I wish you all a wonderful new year.

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