Pain d'Épi

The next best thing after making bread that tastes fantastic is making bread that looks really cool. While I have more than a healthy appreciation for a perfectly browned, thick crust with little crust bubbles showing a long, slow rise, I also enjoy the fun and showy shapes that people just don't make much in America. I made these on a whim one night after someone had posted a question to a baking community I read asking how to shape the epi loaf. I found this PDF that explains it (with pictures!) much better than I could do here.

For the bread, I used this recipe, which is totally inauthentic, but pretty tasty, and good in a pinch when you don't have good flour or time to let the dough rise overnight. I can see I should have cut at a lower angle, and kept the angle more consistent throughout. Rolling the dough out into a thinner baguette would have helped as well. All in all though, it's not bad for a first try, and it tasted pretty good.

Though, I would make this with a more authentic recipe in the future. Because each grain-piece is so thin, it cooks very quickly and burns easily. Plus it ends up with a higher crust to crumb ratio than an ordinary baguette, so choosing a recipe with a fantastic crust would be a good idea. Brushing it with oil instead of just water (or did I use egg...?) would probably help in making a better crust too, along with the usual spraying of water during baking.