Ken's Bakery Country Blonde Batards do-over

Ken's Bakery Country Blonde Batards do-over

Not quite the same as a comb-over.  Back from my northern voyage where I was able to handily empty out the freezer from the warehoused batards for the in-laws, I had a hankering’ to make a batch of Ken’s Bakery’s Country Blonde batards.  (vs. the FWSY version)

Retarded fully shaped and couched, these rested comfortably in the refrigerator for about 18 hours.  

I really like the cold retard method of already shaped dough as there are some distinct advantages.  The bake day is shortened considerably and the cold dough is easy to score, especially for high hydration doughs.  

The downside is that it extends the prior day, the mix/ferment/shape day, by another hour or more.  And also that the couche requires a significant amount of flour to be applied lest the dough sticks nastily to it upon being moved to the oven peel.  Which has two disadvantages of its own: the dough retains a lot of the raw flour, especially on the underside and which is something that I really don’t want in my product, and the couche, over time, starts to grow a layer of permanent hardened flour on it’s surface, even after some vigorous scraping.

With a somewhat slack high hydration dough, as this is, the additional flour on the couche is a necessity – specifically because of the extended contact with the couche during the long cold retard.  Lower hydration doughs do not need nearly as much additional flour. 

The do-over is because the last time that I baked these, I had erroneously taken the batards out of the refrigerator way too soon, and sitting in a warm kitchen alongside a 500dF oven, they were murder to score.  Aside from wanting a tasty bread, I wanted to prove to myself that it was indeed the warming up of the prior batch that made it a struggle to get a clean score, hence this morning’s bake and blog entry.

These are just over 78% hydration baked at 470dF.  

15 minutes steam, rotated, 23 minutes more and then 2 minutes vented.

For whatever reason, the batards, both inside and out seem to always appear in these photos more red than they actually are.  Crust being browner and the crumb being a little whiter.

Here is what the sad prior bake looked like – someone should call the cops:

A pretty gory crime scene, hopefully not to be repeated!

And here is today’s bake.  Happily baking away in the oven, and the finished product

And here is the underside and my poor couche (after scraping!)


Source: Fresh Loaf