Baguette Recipe

There are a million bread and baguette recipes out there and I was looking for one that worked in my electric oven in the 78°F of a/c Florida life. I know what a baguette tastes like and how it is made in Europe, and I wanted it here. This recipe has thirty minutes of ‘hands on’ time over a five and a half hour timeframe. “Easy’ is prevalent in our recipes as thirty minutes is unacceptable for most of us. "Easy" recipes are rarely acceptable. In my world, this is easy and much less expensive than a weekly ticket to France. Click HERE for King Arthur Flour professional video link for the ‘easy’ shaping techniques to make the bread great.

Enjoy Munchkin.
  • 1 cup cool water
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 cups King Arthur Bread Flour
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 6 oz lukewarm water (414 g. water; 600 g. flour; ~69%) *
  • all of the poolish
  • 3 cups King Arthur Bread Flour
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
*Use ~1 oz less in a humid environment, ~1 oz more in a dry climate, or somewhere in between.

1.     Make the poolish by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours, or overnight.
2.     Mix active dry yeast with the water, then combine with the poolish, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together at a lowest speed to incorporate the ingredients (and make adjustments) until you've made a soft, somewhat shaggy dough - it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough.
3.     Cover and let dough rest for 30 minutes.
4.     Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer. The dough should then be smooth and elastic showing good gluten development.
5.     Place the dough in a medium-size lightly olive-oiled bowl, cover, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours. The deflating and turning can be done on a lightly floured work surface - the final one should be - stretching it and folding all four sides, tamping gently to degas.
6.     Divide it into three equal pieces. Pre-shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval. To shape, slap/pat gently with the heel of the hand to degas and then pull and fold top 1/2 over, then pull and fold top corners, then small folds from the top with fingers curled over the top edge and the thumb and palms pushing/oscillating forward on the work surface until it forms a smooth and soft long oval.
7.     Cover with towel/plastic wrap or greased plastic wrap, and let them relax for 20 to 30 minutes.
8.     With the seams up (ends right to left), pat out the gas, flattening. Fold top 1/3 over and press in with fingers removing more gas, turn 180° and repeat. Start at one end working to the other end and fold top third+ over and down with one hand (fingers wrap over and thumb buries in), pat/press the dough with heal of other hand to meld and degas, fold & press, fold & press... Repeat, but take fold and seam all the way over to the surface edge.
9.     With the seam-side down, cup your hands and very gently roll the dough into a 16" to 24" log. Finger tips and base of hand stay in contact with work surface when rolling. Start in middle and roll back and forth out to the ends. Place the logs seam-side up onto a lightly olive-oiled or parchment-lined sheet pan.
10.  Cover them with a floured towel/plastic wrap or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they've become puffy, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on room environment.
11.  Preheat oven to 435°F to 450°F.
12.  Using a bread lame or sharp knife, make 3 to 5 angled slashes in each baguette. Mist the baguettes heavily with warm water to help them develop a crisp crust.
13.  Bake the baguettes until they're a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30+ minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Optimum time and temperature varies with different ovens.

~6 hours


Bread Lame

Homemade Bread Lame

To make bread rise in our home non-steam ovens, it takes a good cut and some serious water misting. I like stuff that lasts, not plastic or such garbage and after seeing the King Arthur Flour video (link at the end here) I realized how simple a lame was.

So, I made one with stuff I had lying around. All you need is a piece of 1/8 inch brass hex rod, available at your local hardware store, a pack of old-fashioned razors, and optional is a small piece of wood for a handle.

Squeeze the razor by the ends and it will curve and slide onto the hex rod and when in place will not turn or slide. It has a nice curve to get under the dough surface. Add a bend in the hex rod of about 15 degrees for more comfort.

If you want to get fancy, you can fashion a handle - drill it for the hex rod and glue or just add a slight kink in the rod to hold it tight. More fancy, taper it to make the hand feel more yummy. Fancier yet, sand the wood and let some olive oil soak in. And, if you’ve gone this far, might as well rub it with a candle and then a small cloth to melt the wax into the wood for a nice shine.

To view a video of scoring bread, click here to visit the King Arthur Site.



Introperspectives Preview

Another Blurb book preview.

This book reflects the first toss up in the air of some of my photographs to see how and where they will land. The book size required 76 images and the first run through my photos revealed about 4 I liked, which would have left 72 pages blank white. This seemed wasteful. So, I explored again, which was the point of the exercise anyway. The exploration revealed some good stuff that will, with hope and perseverance, provide for more clarity going forward. The book, therefore, represents a point before the beginning. And, yes I know Introperspectives isn't a real word.

(Excerpt - woohoo)
Introduction, as it were...

It's quite easy to take a photo, it is really hard to hold on to them.

The drive to take a photograph is not something I understand. Sure, I can philosophize, especially after drinking a few glasses of limoncello, but knowing or pretending to know the answer has so far not altered the drive. I will, for the moment, not worry about it.

A photo represents an experience for me. One may look into it and think it is about the objects or subjects being seen, but that's because we look at photos from above instead of from behind. A photo is me looking back at myself. It is connected to a time and a place, or maybe my mood, or something as simple as the bent of humor in my mind.

The problem in this digital age is the speed with which we can process and view a facsimile of the image on the monitor. At this point, only two real things were done - I was there and I pressed the shutter. The image does not yet really exist in any permanent, touchable, or materially crafted form. Similis vulgus, I see it, process it, get a nice feeling about it, and then go on with my life.
A while later when viewing the photo (not sure how long as time is a bit out of control at the moment) it elicits a more critical reaction. Missing are the sympathetic gray-matter synapse firings representing a more tactile reliving of the experience. The image is now only one of the one-hundred or maybe two-hundred billion photos taken on planet earth that year.

It is rather amazing the way most people view images these days. Incredible marketing has programmed the masses that it is all about them. Images are viewed with such inwardness that those that don't press an immediate Warm & Fuzzy button are cast aside without any thought or appreciation. The point of all of this is that the sheer number of images taken and this affliction of the masses somehow lowers the net worth, even in my eyes, of images that may have had some potential when taken, but not a time later. This is my problem, of course, and I do not presume to blame anyone else.

And so I make this book as an indication of some permanence in a world dominated by linear electron flow trans-matrixed into blinking walls of photons that when focused on the back of my eye, even upside down, make me think I am looking at something real. The book is minimally hand-crafted, but nonetheless, provides one something to touch, to hold in ones hands, and find a good patch of light in which to view the ink printed images.

I thank friends like Jim Cohoe, Dick Robertson, and Ben Dallas for giving me the basis to take this seriously enough to put together a collection no matter how bored I am with the lot. Going forward, I promise I will process the images during the time that they pique my interest and save them in an appropriate format so that they may be stuck into another one of these books.



Valencia - Las Fallas Photography tour

I am pleased to announce that I will be joining Edi Finamore with Spain Adventures leading a photography tour to Valencia, Spain for the Las Fallas Festival March 14th to the 21st, 2012. Photography workshops are included and the tour is for all levels.

Las Fallas is one of the most unique and exciting festivals in all of Europe. It is a spectacular celebration of local tradition which takes place in the form of an incredible street party. Enormous sculptural compositions, elaborate traditional gowns, music, fireworks and fantastic nightlife are part of the party that lasts for days. Plan to be there with us to capture it all!

It began as feast day for St. Joseph, patron saint to carpenters, and has evolved into a month long event that culminates in a five day art, food, and entertainment filled street-party celebration that ends in a frenzy of fire and fireworks.

During the year, hundreds of Valencian communities construct the colorful and artistic fallas and ninots sculptures. The sculptures are ephemeral, ornamental, and satirical symbols of humorous, social, or political comment. The very large sculptures are human, animal, or vegetable in form, portraying a critique of a local, national, or international incident, personality, or character.
On the 15th of March, the sculptures get placed around the City of Valencia and the city explodes with festivities. Each day begins with a desperta, which is the traditional firecracker wake-up call signaling the beginning of another day filled with excitement. The streets teem with colorful flowers and every food stand through-out the city beckons to you with buñuelos and rosquilletas from morning until the wee hours.

Every day there is the mascletá that occurs in the Plaza Ayuntamiento at 2pm. String-lined fireworks are ignited to thunderous rhythmic sounds emanating a primal beat felt throughout the area. An important event is the Ofrenda de Flores a la Virgen de los Desamparados, a very beautiful ceremony on March 17 and 18 that honors Valencia’s patron Virgin. Members of the Fallas arrive from around Valencia and take to the streets wearing intricately decorated costumes winding their way to the square. The flowers they carry placed at the base of the enormous statue of The Virgin and are then put into place by men who climb the structure filling her gown.

The closing ceremonial burning on the 19th, when all the fallas and ninots are reduced to ashes is known as La Crema. Beginning in the early evening, hidden holes in the statues are stuffed with fireworks. The crowds get bigger and more excited. In the streets are dancers and entertainers. The city's streetlamps are all turned off and beginning around midnight, the fallas and ninots are set on fire. An incredible barrage of fireworks is launched in to the air above the Valencia as a grand finale.

For more detailed information, please CLICK HERE to visit my website. For information on Spain Adventures, please CLICK HERE.

SM Boris robinson


Real Photographs

My Thoughts...

Photographs represent memories. Memories of your children, of the times when you and they were young. Memories of grandparents, of parents, and special occasions. Cell-phone pictures and point & shoot camera images are for right now - you won’t have them years from now. I take pictures and print them on archival papers so they can be framed and instill into the future the history of you, your family, and your friends.

Everyone looks good when you look at the back of a small point & shoot camera, and most people look good when you look at a typical image on the computer. Capturing the true beauty and personality and making a large print of the person being photographed takes more than point & shoot luck - it takes a natural talent, and it takes training and experience. We learn our art over time with effort and a passion for perfection.