"Recipes are meant to be shared"...Ann Thibeault

Monday, April 27, 2009

Potato Leek Soup and Sour dough French Baguette

Today was a "bake" day. Sour dough French Baguettes and a couple of small rounds. Just before the last loaf of bread came out of the oven, I put a pot of Potato Leek soup on to simmer.

This soup is another dish that I don't measure for exactly.
Simple instructions for a Leek and Potato Soup

3 or 4 leeks, cleaned and the white part cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 to 3 large baking potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove
fresh thyme
salt, pepper
chicken broth
heavy cream
Chives (Optional)

Saute the leeks and potatoes in butter for a few minutes or until leeks start to soften.  Add the garlic, chicken broth, salt, pepper and fresh minced thyme.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until the leeks and potatoes are soft.  Puree with a stick blender or pour mixture into a blender and puree.   Add the cream and serve.  (top with chives if using)

I've included two versions of a Potato Leek soup, Julia's and Jacques. Use them as a guideline.

We had a late lunch or an early dinner depending on how you want to look at it.

If you are interested in making French Baguette you can't go wrong with using Julia Child's recipe. I use this recipe as a guideline only.

Today's bread was sour dough based. I fed my sour dough starter before going to bed on Sunday night. I had four ounces of starter leftover so it was used to make a biga and then left to develop overnight.

The biga was added to about four cups of flour along with about 3/4 teaspoon of yeast and enough water to make the dough. (I measure yeast in the palm of my hand) Once the water was added I left the mixture to rest for about 20 minutes. This allows the flour to absorb the water and makes kneading easier. This step is more important when working with a wet dough. Like a Ciabatta, but regardless of what type of bread I'm making I always include this 20 minute rest. At the end of 20 minutes I added the salt. Again measured in the palm of my hand. I have a Magic Mill that does most of the kneading. I still like to finish kneading by hand.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

French Baguette
Julia Child

1 package dry active yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour (bread flour) (NOTE: I use 4 cups)
2 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups cold water plus 1/3 or so additional water

Place the flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of the food process. Pulse to mix. Add 1 1/3 cups of water and process until the dough comes together. If the dough doesn't form a ball, add a little of the extra water. Process for about 60 seconds, turn off machine and let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Turn on the machine again and rotate the dough about 30 times under the cover, and then remove it to a lightly floured work surface. it should be fairly smooth and quite firm.

Let the dough rest for 2 minutes and then knead roughly and vigorously. The final dough should not stick to your hands as you knead (although it will stick if you pinch and hold a piece); it should be smooth and elastic and, when you hold it up between your hands and stretch it down, it should hold together smoothly.

Preliminary rise - 40 to 60 minutes at around 75°F. Place the dough into a clean dry bowl, (do not grease the bowl), cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place free from drafts. (note the French do not grease the bowl because they believe the dough needs a seat to push up from). This first rise is sufficient when the dough has definitely started to rise and is about 1 1/2 times its original volume.


Turn the dough onto your lightly floured work surface roughly and firmly pat and push it out into a 14 inch rectangle. Fold one of the long sides over toward the middle, and the other long side over to cover it, making a 3 layer cushion. Repeat the operation. This important step redistributes the yeast throughout the dough, for a strong second rise. Return the dough smooth side up the bowl; cover with plastic wrap and again set to rise.

Final rise in the bowl - about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or longer. The bread should be 2 1/2 to 3 times its original bulk. It is the amount of rise that is important here, not the timing.

To Shape,

Cut the dough in half. Set one piece aside and cover with a towel.

On a lightly floured work surface pat the dough into a 14 inch rectangle, squaring it up as evenly as you can.

Fold the rectangle of dough in half lengthwise and using the heel of your hand, firmly press the edges together whether they meet. Seat well. Pound the dough flat. Now repeat - patting the dough out again and folding it over and sealing the edges. Pinch the edges well and Rotate the dough so that the sealed edge in on the bottom.

Repeat with second piece of dough.

Cover with plastic wrap or loosely with a towel and let rise to more than double again at about 75°f.

Place stone in oven and Preheat oven to 450°F. Slash three long cuts into the loaves and place on the hot stone. Immediately toss a number of ice cubes on to the bottom on the oven to create steam. Bake until bread is golden and has an interior temp of 200°F. Takes about 30 minutes.

Making Dough in a Mixer or by Hand

When you are making dough in an electric mixer with a dough hook, proceed in the same general way with the rests indicated, and finish by hand. or mix the dough by hand in a bowl, turn out on a work surface, and start the kneading by lifting it up with a scraper and slapping it down roughly for several minutes until it has body. Let it rest several minutes and then proceed to knead.

Home Cookin 4.9 Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Basic Leek and Potato Soup
Julia's and Jacque Pepin's Versions
2 Tablespoons butter
3 cups sliced leeks, white and palest green, trimmed and rinsed.
1 1/2 cups sliced onions about 6 ounces or 2 medium.
2 tablespoons flour
6 cups water
4 cups peeled diced potatoes, preferably russets, cut into 2 inch chunks about 1 1 /2 pounds
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste
1/2 tsp fresh ground white pepper or to taste
Melt butter in the saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in the leek and onion pieces to coat with butter, cover the pan and reduct the heat. Cook slowly , stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft but not coloured. Uncover, sprinkle on the flour, stir to distribute it well and cook for 2 minutes over moderate heat. Remove from heat and let cool for a moment.
Then, stirring continually, gradually pour in 1 1/2 cups of the water and bring to a simmer. When the liquid is smooth and starts to thicken, stir in the rest of the water, then add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Quickly heat the soup to a gentle boil, cover the pan, and lower the heat . Simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Correct seasonings.
To serve, mash, blend or puree the soup to he desired consistency and adjust the seasonings. Garnish or vary the soup with additional ingredients. To made Vichyssoise:
Finely puree the soup base through a food mill or other appliance, then chill thoroughly. Before serving, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream or a mixture of cream and milk, and a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh chives and adjust the seasonings. Sprinkle More chives over each serving.
Jacques Version:
2 tablespoons canola or corn oil
4 cups sliced leeks, trimmed and rinsed
1 1/2 cups sliced onion, 1 inch pieces
6 cups hot chicken broth, homemade or low sodium canned broth
4 cups peeled, diced potatoes, 2 inch chunks
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in the saucepan, stir in the leek and onion pieces and saute for 5 minutes, over moderate heat to soften.
Add the chicken stock and potato chunks, and season with salt to taste and the pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, cover the pan, and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Mash, blend or puree to the desired consistency and adjust the seasonings. Serve the soup right away or set aside until serving time. To make Vichyssoise: Puree the soup base through a food mill or other appliance then chill thoroughly. Before serving stir in 1/2 cup to 1 cup heavy cream or a mixture of cream and milk, and a tablespoon or two of chives. and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle more chopped chives over each serving.


  1. It stormed for the better part of the day today - that would have been a perfect lunch for me! :) Yum! Btw, I love how nicely your loaves brown - my don't ever seem to get that beautiful color. Gorgeous!

  2. I haven't ever made this soup. I love eating it though! I guess I should try my hand at making it. This recipe looks great!

  3. We really enjoy potato leek soup as well, and both of your recipes look very appealing and delicious.

    Your bread is GORGEOUS!

  4. This is the first soup that I learned from Julia Child's book, and it remains my favourite to this day. Most soups require a stock of some sort to make them tasty, but for some reason this recipe just doesn't require it. For those who don't believe that these simple ingredients can make a tasty soup, just imagine mashed potatoes but in soupy form.
    It's easy on the tummy, too...I remember a few times when I was sick that this was just about all I could eat!

  5. Yum! I love a good potato leek soup. I have the Julia Jacques book, too - thanks for reminding me to take a look! :)
    And your bread looks truly fantastic. I have no idea how to work with starters, etc., but someday I aspire to make great bread. Great blog.

  6. I always use water for steam but it gets messy and often spills. Ice cubes are a great idea, I'll that next time.
    And btw - your bread is gorgeous!!!

  7. Everything looks great. I love leek-soup, I make it very seldom... But the bread. I imagine the delicious aroma in the house.

  8. Thank you for posting the potato leek soup recipes. I saw a rerun of the episode in which the two recipes were demonstrated recently and wanted very much to try them both during the holiday season.

    L. Prater

  9. You are very welcome. You can't go wrong with either recipe. Although I do prefer the soup made with chicken broth and not water.

  10. I'm dropping by from The Schnitzel and the Trout to see your French Bread. Susan made it and it looks perfect. I love Julia and her recipes always work. Thanks so much. I'm not much of a baker and have a lot to learn.

  11. Wonderful recipes, Ann. I can't wait to try my hand at baking this bread recipe. And I agree, I would much prefer the soup made with chicken stock.

  12. I am new to looking up recipes on the Internet, and needed a potato leek soup recipe. These are great! You can bet I will be back to your "Table" again. (I plan to use the broth.)

  13. Juia's version has been a favorite of ours for years. Intended to make it but did not have the recipe. Went online and many, many versions claimed to be hers but yours was the only one the sauted the leeks then added flour which was the way I have always made it...so glad to find it. Thanks.


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