BBA French Bread & Chanterelles

Mushroom Bruschetta

It’s Chanterelle season right now in the Bay Area and I have finally given in and purchased a bunch of these headily fragrant fungi, showcasing them in a Mushroom Bruschetta recipe worthy of their heavenly flavors. With Peter Reinhart’s French Bread next on my BBA Challenge list, we had an indulgent Saturday lunch sitting in the fridge waiting to happen, I just had to put it together….a few days in advance.

As is the case with most of Reinhart’s bread formulas in his book, the French Bread begins its existence as a pâte fermentée, a 20-minute affair of mixing and kneading followed by some resting time and and spending a night in the fridge. While it might seem like a lot of trouble to have to prepare a dough before you start on the real thing, this is, in Reinhart’s words, “one of the baker’s most effective tools for manipulating time”, as pre-ferments give the final loaves a flavor and structure comparable with those found at your favorite bakery. And comparable they were. The soft crumb of the long slender loaves were packed with flavor and a sweetness only achieved through an extended fermentation process. My pâte fermentée ended up with a three-night sleepover in the fridge before I set to work on making the final product, giving the yeast plenty of time to break down the complex starch molecules in the flour and release its sugars in the process.

Mushroom Bruschetta

With this formula, you essentially make the same dough twice – one is left in the fridge for a few nights, while the second is made on the day that you bake and incorporate with the earlier batch along with a substantial amount of kneading, throwing, punching and stretching. I shaped them into three baguettes, scored the tops and left them to rest and rise while transforming my home oven into a steamy one: like Ciabatta, French Bread is hearth-baked,  where direct heat and bursts of steam will cause my loaves to “spring” and develop crisp crusts. The baking process went without a hitch and after about 20 minutes, out popped three freshly-baked baguettes. The verdict? I was happy with their firm crusts, sweet flavor and soft crumb, which made the perfect foundation for an aromatic blend of mushrooms, thyme and parsley. However, the loaves looked a tad too pale for my taste and I’m wondering what could be done differently to achieve better caramelization in the crust. I’ll have to work on my slashing technique too as I was clearly too gentle when scoring the dough, resulting in loaves without the trademark slashes usually associated with les baguettes.


Compared with the lunch we had though, these were just cosmetic distractions that had nothing to do with the bread itself. M, the pain coinnosseur among the two of us, pronounced it delicious, and more importantly, we had an ample supply of bread on hand for our bruschettas.

Mushroom Bruschetta recipe
Makes about 12 pieces

I used a mix of Chanterelles, Shiitake and White Button mushrooms in this version, but there an infinite number of combinations and possibilities.

2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
Half a white onion, diced
8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
3 to 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
A good glassful of dry white wine
2 tablespoons créme fraîche
1 garlic clove, halved
1 baguette, sliced into half-inch pieces
A handful of fresh parsely sprigs, finely chopped

Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan, then add the garlic and onions and let them sweat for two minutes, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and thyme, mix until they start to soften, about a minute, then add the wine and let it bubble off. Add the créme fraîche, stir, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Let the pan sit and the flavors meld while you prepare the bread.

Rub the garlic halves on one side of each slice and toast them in a pan on the stove-top, garlic side down, until the edges start to turn a dark brown.

When the bread is ready, serve, either heaping the mushrooms on each slice and garnish with parsley or place the entire pan on the table with the bread by the side for everyone to help themselves.

For more BBA French Bread stories and step-by-step photos, check out these adventures:

I’m submitting this French Bread to YeastSpotting, a weekly round-up of all things good and yeasty by Susan at Wild Yeast.

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  • Beautiful way to showcase those perfect chanterelles! Yum!!!ReplyCancel

  • When are you having a get-together at your house so you can have us Foodinistas taste these lovely creations?! (Hehehehe)ReplyCancel

    • Oh Elaine you’re too funny! A house-warming is in the works and you ladies are definitely on the guest list!ReplyCancel

  • Gorgeous photographs.. Oh I wish I could lay my hands on some chanterelles. I see them all over blogosphere from people in sunny areas.. makes me so envious! :))

    Btw for the scoring, do you use a knife? If so, use kitchen shears or scissors.. fantastic results. it opens out ye wide nice and gorgeous. Also you can try slashing before the last rise. Allows the gash to open up while rising and then complete in the ovenReplyCancel

    • Yes I used a serrated bread knife, but I’ll definitely try your suggestion the next time! I need to get a better caramelization in the crust too so these baguettes will be making a reappearance on our table :) Thanks Asha.ReplyCancel

  • The photos are absolutely gorgeous. I love chanterelle mushrooms but they only come in dried form. And it is a must that butter and cream is added. I think they’re inseparable.ReplyCancel

    • You could try this recipe with dried mushrooms as well (as long as you have fresh mushrooms too) – just soak the chanterelles in hot water to reconstitute them and add some of the soaking water to the mix for a stronger flavor. I use dried morels when making mushroom risotto and a short soak in hot water always does the trick. Try it and let me know :)ReplyCancel

  • […] French Bread & Mushroom Bruschetta […]ReplyCancel

  • I love this dish because it’s so versatile. It looks great for dinner or for guests. Now if I could only find fresh mushrooms!ReplyCancel

  • Mimi

    What a fabulous lunch you must have had!!ReplyCancel

  • Oh that mushroom bruschetta looks so good…definitely saving the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • I absolutely love chanterelles; this is a great recipe, thanks for posting!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle, you are awesome! Make me feel like I was there. :)ReplyCancel

  • Danielle, this looks amazing! I love it!!!ReplyCancel

  • Just amazing. Amazing. The crumb and crust on your bread looks perfect.

    Question for you – have you baked much from Peter’s artisan breads every day? How do you rate it compared with BBA?ReplyCancel

    • Thanks Julia. I don’t have a copy of Peter’s latest book, but from what I’ve seen (from a recent class he gave), the formulas seem to be less time-consuming and can be completed within a day or two. I believe he’s also updated the section on kneading techniques so if you haven’t got a copy of any of his books, I think Artisan Breads would be a great place to start :)ReplyCancel

  • This french bread looks even better than the storebought kind! I love the mushroom bruschetta you topped it with. The perfect combination for an early spring day.ReplyCancel

  • Oh my! What a beautiful way to eat up the French Bread. Wait until you get to Pain a L’ancienne. That bread will blow you away!ReplyCancel

  • […] La bruschetta es uno de los aperitivos más populares dentro de la cocina italiana. Se trata de rebanadas de pan tostado, rebozadas con ajo y puestas a la parrilla hasta que se doren. Se riegan con aceite, sal y pimentón molido. De todas formas nos ofrecen un número inmenso de posibilidades al momento de prepararlas. En este caso haremos unas deliciosas bruschettas de champiñón. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Italian Bread is the 15th in Peter Reinhart’s book and follows the same process used for his French Bread. A pre-ferment (called biga in this case) consisting of water, yeast and flour all mixed together, […]ReplyCancel

  • How have I JUST come across your blog? Everything you post is so beautiful!!ReplyCancel

  • […] two days ahead for the French Bread to carry a Fava Bean and Pea puree and a bunch of mushrooms for Mushroom Bruschettas, as well as a batch of pâte brisée for the Bacon-laden Quiches that we were going to have. The […]ReplyCancel

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