PATE FERMENTEE

by Shumaila

This pre-fermented dough is perfect for making many French Breads like the baguette.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/8 cups unbleached bread flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp instant yeast

3/4 cup to 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water, at room temperature

DIRECTIONS

1. Stir together the flours, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add 3/4 cup of the water, stirring until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball. Adjust the flour or water, according to need, so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff. (It is better to err on the sticky side, as you can adjust easier during kneading. It is harder to add water once the dough firms up.)

2. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. The internal temperature should be 77° to 81° F.

3. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour, or until it swells to about 1 1/2 times its original size.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to degas, and return it to the bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze it in an airtight plastic bag for up to 3 months.