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Swiss Dark Baguettes

An easy to make and fun to shape tasty baguette to which pretty much any savoury ingredients can be added for extra flavour. This baguette recipe is adapted from a formula known as the pain paliasse. Devised by a Swiss bakery it is unusually rustic (well, for the Swiss anyway) and is also less technically demanding to make than the traditional French baguette. Fermented all day (or overnight) then baked as soon as they are shaped, these Swiss Dark Baguettes fit easily into a busy schedule. Purists shouldn’t worry about skipping the proofing stage: the long, cold fermentation provides all the dough development and flavour you need. Be very gentle when handling the fermented dough during shaping. It’s the secret of success. A baking stone is highly recommended for this recipe. I regularly use chopped olives or sun-dried tomatoes (in photos), but fig and walnut is a great combination, as are roast peppers, chillies, preserved lemons, fresh rosemary and many more flavours. Feel free to experiment. Finally, don’t forget to use the Swiss Dark flour and add the diax malt: they add extra dimensions to the taste.

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* Poolish 1st Build: 8-12 hours/overnight
* 2nd Build: 9-15 hours/overnight
* Rest (Autolyse): 30 min
* Mix & Knead: 10-15 min (by hand) / 4-5 min (stand mixer)
* Bulk Ferment (cold retard): 12-24 hours refrigerated + 1 hour recovery at room temp
* Shape: 5 min
* Bake: At 250/230℃ for 22-26 min (turning down to 220/200℃ when you release the steam at 11-13 min)

Makes 3x large baguettes


1st build poolish:

* 35g Swiss Dark flour
* 35g water
* Pinch of Instant Dry Yeast / 0.5g fresh yeast

2nd build poolish:

- All of the levain
- 75g Swiss Dark flour
- 75g water

Main dough:

- All of the levain (220g)
- 240g plain wheat flour (11%)
- 240g strong bread flour (13%)
- 330g water, divided

- 6g diax malt
- 2-3g IDY / 3-4g fresh yeast
- 10-12g salt

- 120g drained Kalamata olives / sun-dried tomatoes (or whatever ingredients you choose).


1. Make the Poolish: Mix the ingredients for the first build in a small bowl. Make sure no dry flour remains.
2. Cover then ferment for 8-12 hours/overnight at room temperature (18-22℃).
3. Add the flour and water of the second poolish build and mix again thoroughly.
4. Cover and ferment once more for another 8-15 hours/overnight (the minimum period again depends upon the room temperature).
5. Autolyse: When the poolish is highly active—its surface covered with bubbles—combine it with the flours and 300g of the water. You are aiming for a final dough temperature of 24℃ so here’s where you tweak the heat of your water to achieve this. Usually 30-32℃ does the trick but, according to the season, you may have to experiment.
6. Rest the dough for 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile rinse and halve your olives / drain and chop the sun-dried tomatoes / dried figs / nuts etc.
8. Final Mix: If using fresh yeast, dissolve it in a teaspoon of remaining water
9. Now add the diax malt, yeast, and salt to the dough. Mix to combine for one minute.
10. Adjust hydration with the remaining 30g water (or more, if required)—you are looking for a soft but not runny dough.
11. Knead: For 4-5 min (using dough hook & stand mixer at medium speed) / 12-15 minutes (by hand) until medium gluten development is achieved.
12. Add the halved olives/ chopped sun-dried tomatoes etc. and knead gently until incorporated (usually one minute suffices)
13. Bulk Ferment: Place the dough in a 30x40cm plastic container (or any suitable bowl) and cover.
14. Store in a refrigerator (ideally at no more than 7-8℃) for 12-24 hours.
15. Shape: Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for one hour.
16. Pre-heat your oven (ideally with a baking stone on the middle rack) to 250/230℃ (fan). Place a high-sided roasting tin on the base of the oven (this will hold the water for the steam).
17. Dust the surface of a baking sheet. Heavily flour both the surface of the dough and the worktop.
18. With the help of a bench scraper, gently turn out the dough onto your work surface.
19. Stretch-and fold each edge of the dough (think envelope-folding a sheet of paper), pressing it back into the original 30x40cm rectangle and then flip it over.
20. With your bench scraper, cut the dough lengthways into three roughly equal strips. Try to avoid getting flour on the exposed cuts.
21. Now cut the first strip in half (lengthways again). Again, ty to avoid getting flour on the exposed interior.
22. Gently roll and twist those halves into a two-strand shape. Imagine you are gently wringing out a towel.
23. Transfer the baguette to the baking sheet then repeat the cutting and twisting actions with the remaining strips.
24. Bake: Pour 100ml (approx. half a cup) of water into the roasting tin.
25. Slide the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake under steam at 250/230℃ for 11-13 minutes.
26. Turn the oven down to 220/200℃. Open the door to release the steam (pour any remaining water in the tray down your sink), then rotate the sheet front-to-back and continue to bake for another 11-13 minutes.
27. When the baguettes are golden-brown (if you have a probe thermometer they should have reached an internal temperature of at least 92℃), remove them from the oven and place on a rack.
28. Cool for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Added by: MartinB

Tags: Bread Swiss Baguette

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