When we moved house to the Apple Chapel, I had to box up everything I owned on the few weekends I had free between commuting backwards and forwards to our old home, our old kitchen. It was a torturous time filled with mixed emotions, amongst them were the feelings of shame over how many of the soulless, multipack cardboard boxes were mine and in particular, were labelled “books” or “kitchen”. It’s safe to say, over the years I have collected quite a bit of kit but I do make use of it all on a regular basis and it’s always nice to have a hobby, right? So when I was approached and asked if I would like to review some of my favourite products from KitchenCraft I absolutely jumped at the chance! When I went back and looked at what I already had in my kitchen, I was surprised how many of their products I have, use regularly and love already. The branding is clean and minimal and I hadn’t noticed until I did this little stock take that I must think quite of lot of them, given how many things of theirs I own. So here is the first of my posts about KitchenCraft and it’s rather marvellous kitchen kit.
I give you, simple white baguettes. Made using this rather fantastic baguette crisping tray. What we have is a heavy duty, perforated metal tray which you bake your baguettes in. As you can see, it allows you to make two at a time so when I tested it for the first time, knowing I would have enough dough to make four which meant I could do a side but side comparison of how I usually make them to see if the KitchenCraft kit passed the test…
To test this tray, I turned to Dan Lepard as I frequently do when looking to try something new in the bread line. I used his pain blanc recipe from his book Exceptional Breads as it looked as if it would deliver that crisp crust, light fluffy inside, French bread style baguette you can buy certainly here in England. Now Dan isn’t keen on us blogging his recipes but shhh, I found a source here if you don’t have his book. The method involves making a poolish, or sponge, which is a very liquid mix of flour, yeast and water that you leave to ferment over night before adding to the remaining ingredients. It is an approximation to sour for those who lack the commitment to a starter. I know I do. Actually, it is rather marvellous as it delivers big on the flavour without producing an inch thick crust as sour dough can do. But I digress.
My usual technique for shaping, proving and baking my baguettes is to use a piece of reusable silicone paper which I curve up to mimic the wave profile of the KitchenCraft crisping tray. It is a little on the fiddly side but it has worked enough well for me in the past. As you can see, the silicone sheet wasn’t long enough and the two baguettes on the right have hammer head ends! Also, and this is really interesting, I had to return these to the oven to bake several minutes longer as the two which I baked in the tray were crisp, top and bottom with a hollow sound when tapped but the two in silicone were very soft underneath! I hadn’t appreciated that my technique borne out of necessity previously meant a longer cooking time before so for me, it is totally worth using the crisper. Very handy to prevent the upper crust browning too much or becoming too crusty.
Once we had our baguettes, or more correctly, our demi-baguettes (you would never get a whole one in a domestic oven!) there were two ways to eat them which immediately came to mind. Steak baguettes with garlic griddled mushrooms and caramelised onion relish on the first day then turned into garlic bread the second night to go alongside some vegetable pasta. You know it makes sense.
I’ll be sharing more reviews of some of my favourite KitchenCraft products in amongst my regular posts so stay tuned for more. There will be print-friendly recipes attached to them too. This baguette crisping tray will most certainly remain in my kit and I am really looking forward to trying out other doughs with it.