Results from Francine a l’Ancienne!

Finally Francine got to work for me!

wpid-20140218_095833.jpgi’m awake!

If you recall yesterday morning we were here:



So I was pretty thrilled that we got Francine a l’Ancienne to wake up. Next time, I will probably feed her and leave her out overnight before I mix up another batch.

wpid-20140218_100040.jpghappy mess

wpid-20140218_100443.jpgnot my prettiest work, but this dough is wet.

wpid-20140218_100739.jpgit’s okay, i’ll eat the ugly pieces.

wpid-20140218_110444.jpgbaked up, my new gigantic cooling rack.

wpid-20140218_111102.jpgholy moly!

Well, I definitely scored on the crumb! I gave it a taste test and unfortunately, we do need some improvements. Too much whole wheat made the bread a little more bitter than I would like. It will be great with soup or to scoop up sauces in, but it could be better. I had planned on using more bread flour in my ratio (I think I ended up with 70% whole wheat and 30% bread flour) but the dough firmed up before I got to the ratio I was planning on, which was six cups of flour, not four and a half or so. So lesson learned for next time, however I don’t think there’s going to be a problem getting this bread eaten!

While Francine was baking I went out and fed the wild birds and scooped a poop zone aka turdundra for the greyhound. I don’t know about you, but I would not like to poop up to my elbows in snow. I took a few snaps so you could see how snowy it is here!

wpid-20140218_102455.jpgdoesn’t do it justice

wpid-20140218_102642.jpgsad flamingo

wpid-20140218_102600.jpgi almost had to borrow some huskies to get over to the tree

wpid-20140218_102631.jpglast years hops

It needs to warm up here before I go crazy!!!

Cinnamon Rolls and French Bread

What a baking day I had yesterday! I was finally getting over this cold and I decided I should skip one more day of work. But, um, I should, um, bribe my coworkers. With cinnamon buns. Because who couldn’t be bought by home made cinnamon buns?

wpid-20140211_060405.jpgain’t nobody. i could buy you with the smell.

Also I had to make bread for R, as she is trading me an ironing board. So I decided to try a french bread with 100% mother starter (since named Francine) instead of commercial yeast. So here we go!

Sunday I did the pre-frement, again with 100% Francine (mother starter) and I decided to omit the salt that I usually use in that pre-ferment because I have read (and noted) that mamma starter with her wild yeasty beasties tends to be a slower grower than commercial yeast.

wpid-20140210_092126.jpgpieces of the pre-ferment, mixing with the final dough

wpid-20140210_092244.jpgwhen i make bread and things are looking this shaggy, i usually pull it out of the bowl and just start kneading.

wpid-20140210_093632.jpgfrench bread on it’s way!

Phew! Now the cinnamon rolls. I’ve never made these before, so God willing and the creek don’t rise, it will not turn into a grapadora or anything other than delicious.

wpid-20140210_113831.jpgthere is a lot of butter in there…

wpid-20140210_114656.jpgnot going to lie, i tasted the dough, just to make sure it didn’t taste like a grapadora

wpid-20140210_144135.jpgand now we rest.

wpid-20140210_114755.jpgyou can see why i made enormous towels for bread baking. i can’t be the only person crazy enough to make two kinds of bread at once?

My plan was to do all the proofing and shaping for the cinnamon buns and then leave them in the fridge to bake off this morning. So they’ll be hot when I get to work. My cold shall be forgiven!

wpid-20140210_152110.jpgshaped baguettes. i never bother to score them. that’s just me.

wpid-20140210_145100.jpgthis is what rolled out goodness looks like. plus, i am an idiot.

wpid-20140210_145940.jpgcutting them down

And we rest…

wpid-20140210_152155.jpgbread takes a lot of rest. I took a nap too.

At about 5 pm I started to bake the french loaves and put the cinnamon buns in the fridge, lightly covered.

wpid-20140210_175528.jpg wpid-20140210_175514.jpgthat just looks tasty…

This morning I hauled my bulk out of bed at 5am (ok, I am usually up at 5am, but I’ve been sick!) to make the buns, hon.

wpid-20140211_051941.jpgfrosting. which is literally milk and powdered sugar. if you buy frosting out of a can, you clearly have not lived.


They took quite a bit longer to bake, but that’s probably because I am an idiot and cut too many. So the pan was overstuffed. Alas and alack, I made it work.


Whew! With an hour to spare before I have to bring these babies in, I am going to make some coffee!

wpid-20140211_063742.jpgafter the frosting soaked in a bit. damn, I should’ve saved some for my coffee!

Italian Baguette with Mother Starter

Ok, last post, I PROMISE.

Sorry, when I have time off, I get to work. So I did a bunch of stuff today. Last, but not least was an italian baguette in which I used the mother starter.

wpid-20140204_112110.jpgjust being stuff

I was planning on an italian baguette for my neighbor who has been plowing our driveway. Or, maybe he’s just playing with his bobcat. Either way, my fiance nor myself have had to shovel our very long driveway. Can’t complain at all.

However, I discovered, to my dismay, I was very low on commercial yeast. I guess making a mother starter means you completely forget that you might need commercial yeast eventually and just pretend you never need to buy any more. Also, I was in pajamas and I do not go out in pajamas and I am really, really lazy. I couldn’t make it to the store, obviously.

Ugh. Apparently you can roll your eyes at yourself.

So I thought, since I was technically going to make a biga and I didn’t have time to let it chill in the fridge over night, why not use the mother starter, which has been in the fridge eating and farting whatever yeast eats and farts?

So I did. Ok, more accurately, I took a stab at it. Totally just went by the seat of my pants. What, would I put it in the oven and it would turn into a stapler? Worst case scenario, my fiance and I could eat bread stored in the freezer and I could make the neighbor’s baguette some other time. Most likely scenario, bread. Taste, a mystery. But I was fairly confident it would be bread.

So I mixed up the biga as I would normally and added several heaping spoonfuls of mother starter.

wpid-20140204_112258.jpguh, hi. no, we don’t know what she’s doing either.

A very, very wet, sticky biga was suddenly on my hands. Literally.


i know this is a spatula. spatulas for every occasion!

Adding flour until, gee, I don’t know, it became somewhat solid…

wpid-20140204_113139.jpgif i threw it at the ceiling, it would’ve stuck. like a turtle?

And then I left it to rise. Or, make itself into a pancake…

wpid-20140204_142906.jpgnot unlike my chest…

Eh, the dough was still awful wet, but again, seat of my pants. Keep on trucking

wpid-20140204_144903.jpgthat is unlike my chest.

wpid-20140204_144956.jpgback to the bowl with ye!

And then I looked at the clock, did some math and went, wow, Brittany, you’re an idiot. There was no way in ever loving Heaven that this was going to be on time. Corner cutting time! I left it to rise again until mostly doubled.

wpid-20140204_170436.jpgi do not lie when I say my fiance said, while I was taking this picture: “it looks like a butt.”

wpid-20140204_170602.jpgthere’s something wrong with that butt.

wpid-20140204_170624.jpgpinch, roll, pinch, roll


At this exact moment I had, ohhhh, an hour to finish up. And I needed about an hour and a half. Eh, whatever, this is the “screw the rules” bread. Again, I don’t think it’s going to be a file cabinet when I take it out.

wpid-20140204_175254.jpgit’s a lamp!

The oven spring was insane. It easily doubled or tripled in the oven. And, last bonehead move, promise:

wpid-20140204_175904.jpgcut it too early, but we were hungry!

It turned out really, really tasty. Just a little sour from the mother starter, but it was spot on delicious!

Tomorrow I am going to bring the neighbor his loaf, it’s late and cold and terrible out there. Also I wanted to give him instructions on storage and I wanted to make sure it didn’t taste like a desk chair.