When the norm is not the best - being a food snob while trying to raise a conscious child (and my son's baguettes)
For quite sometime my son has been a white bread with poppy or sesame seeds kind of person, meaning that his dad could go and make bread for the two of them on a single batch, because I don't touch white bread if I can avoid it. I believe I must have said it before, but my day needs to start with a bread that has at least three different flours thrown into it and an array of cereals, seeds and dried fruits packed up as well. I'm built that way, I guess, and so my bread is my bread, while my hubby and our boy have their bread. Mine is a loaf, theirs has plenty of different shapes.
For instance, there was a time when my husband would shape his bread into braids, now he makes small chapatas. Soon he'll be going for another shape, or maybe not, because this one seems to be the easiest one, and the poor guy spends his sundays kneading and baking batch after batch of good breads for the whole family. He has a trusted recipe that he reverts to everytime, as it always works - he has tried many, and this is the one that agrees with our stomachs, our kitchen and our ovens!! - but as I said many times before, the way you shape your dough before putting it in the oven will indeed affect the way your bread tastes, trust me. So he uses the same white bread recipe as a base for all the breads in the house, only adding stuff to it.
But this Summer our son became quite a huge fan of my soda breads, He never seemed to want to try them, until this Summer when he asked for a slice with butter one day as I was bringing a soda bread out of the oven. It was made with different flours and it had cereals and seeds and fruit in it, and the kid went ballistic. He loved it, and he asked for a slice of that same soda bread every morning for his breakfast, which I was happy to oblige! When that one was over, he kept asking when was I gonna bake another batch, and so I kind of spent my Summer baking soda breads for me and my son. He became a grand fan of breads that are packed with cereals, with fruit, seeds and have different flours, especially spelt. He's a fan of spelt.
So even before the Summer hols were over, there he was, from the top of his barely made eight years of age, telling his dad that once school was back on, he wanted to change his bread and he no longer careed for white bread with sesame or poppy seeds alone. Now he wanted bijoux that were ripe with rye and spelt flour, and had seeds, of course, but also some cereal and some dried fruit, as he had become a fan of that kind of bread for his afternoon break. But being such a creature of habit as my kid is, he still wanted his two slices of homemade baguette for breakfast, so he proceeded to inform dad he would now be asking for baguettes that had as many flours, seeds, cereals and fruit as mom's loaves, or mom's soda breads. Dad was in for a run.
The truth is I was very happy with it all, as I have been telling both of them they should eat bread that has more variety in it and it's not just white bread per se. My husband has been adding seeds to his chapatas, but remains a white flour kind of man with sometimes a little spelt added - I count this as a small victory, but a victory nonetheless!! - and now kid's wanting breads that are more filling, and more nourishing, and all the way better for him, so I'm happy, I won't lie. I want them both to eat well, with care to what they consume, and attention to their food. Most people don't believe when my son says he doesn't like candy except for chocolate, they assume I don't let him eat candy, but he really does not like it and I'm proud and glad about it. He'll sooner ask for fresh mushrooms than gummy bears, or a pack of sundried tomatoes instead of lollypops.
He also detests junk food and never eats at McDonald's or Burguer King, nor does he eat take out pizza. He eats hamburgers, yeah, but homemade ones, on homemade buns. He eats pizza as well, and he makes his own. People act really shocked at that, the kids at school find this all so weird, so strange that he does not go out for lunch or dinner at those fast food places, they find it unbelievable, but hey, I find it unbelievable that as young as they are, they eat there so many times. I discard when kids come asking me why my son does not go to those places and I tell them we don't like that kind of food, but I find it really offensive when an adult tells me that I'm the one who won't allow my son candy, or that we do everything homemade because we're snobs and because it's fashionable now to pretend one enjoys cooking. I'm pretty sure I am right in doing what I do about my son's eating habits, so I completely block out those voices, but they do offend me and annoy me, because, quite frankly, they are the ones who are wrong, and they are the ones who are not showing their children how to eat properly...
And so here it is my hubby's new and improved baguette recipe for our son's delight, one that has been homemade, yes, and I don't care if that makes us snobs. I rather like being one...
- 200 gr strong white flour
- 50 gr rye or spelt flour
- half a coffee cup of mixed cereals, dried fruit, poppy seeds and linseed
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 10 gr fresh yeast
- 30 ml vegetable oil plus extra for oiling
- 180 ml water.
Start by turning on your oven at 200º (220º if it's non fan). Place the flours on a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Pour in the yeast, the oil and the water onto the hole and start mixing everything together with your fingers or a fork - you can use a food processor or a blender with a hook attachement. Add the salt and pour the batter onto a floured surface. Now knead the dough until it's smooth. Oil another bowl and place the dough inside to prove for two hours. After this time, pour the dough onto an oiled surface and flour your hands lightly, then divide the dough into two. Stretch the dough, then fold it, and then roll into a baguette shape. If you have a baguette oven tray - we recently bought one, and it's pretty handy! - place the baguettes on this tray and cover with a piece of clean cloth. Leave it to prove until it has doubled in size. Slash the top of your baguettes three times, or leave them as they are, if you prefer. Bake them for about 30 minutes with fan on, then turn off the fan and let them bake for ten more minutes before taking them out of the oven. If using a non fan oven, cook for 30 minutes on 220º mark then lower to 200º for ten minutes, using a trey that has some water in it to create steam, then take them out and allow them to cool.