As promised, I am keeping you up to date with my recent baking adventures. I have a love for baguettes but nothing has given me more grief than this elusive bread. I have baked these loaves a number of times but have failed to develop the nice open airy crumb that beckons me to bake them as often as I do.
Today’s bake started as a result of needing bread for dinner. I had a hunger for chicken seasoned with garlic, oregano, thyme, and s&p with a piece of provolone cheese melted on top, sandwiched between a baguette slathered with garlic basil mayo, tomato, and lettuce. This was all in my head however; I still didn’t have any bread.
So I removed the pate fermentee from the refrigerator and cut it into small bits to remove the chill. I mixed together the flour, pate fermentee, salt, and yeast. The water was added and I mixed everything into a coarse ball, and then poured the contents out onto the counter. I worked the dough until it was smooth and silky tacky not sticky. I wanted to experiment with higher hydration this go around, so I added an additional tablespoon or two of water to the dough. In the future I will use warmer water because I have not been able to increase the internal temperature of the dough to around 80 degrees through kneading.
The dough was put into a lightly oiled bowl and covered with plastic wrap. My house is a chilly 62 degrees so I have to be creative with finding a warm place to let the dough rise. I place the bowl on top of an electric heating pad set to low, turn on overhead heating lights, and plug in a space heater. The thermometer in the room reads around 78 degrees with all of this extra heat. I let the dough rise until doubled while stretching and folding every 30 minutes for the first hour and a half.
When I was satisfied with the dough 2.5 hours later, I removed the dough and scaled it down on the counter top. Each scaled piece of dough weighed approx. 390 grams. I let each scaled piece of dough rest for about 20 minutes and then formed each portion into a baguette utilizing the counter to create surface tension. The baguettes were allowed to rise for about 45 minutes, then were scored, and baked. The oven temp was 500 degrees for the first 2 minutes with steaming every 30 seconds of that period. The temperature was lowered to 450 and the loaves were allowed to bake until golden brown and the internal temperature was 205ish.
The loaves were Fantastic for dinner tonight and I have decided to look into a job baking with a local bread company; I might as well considering I love making bread anyway.
The recipe for the main dough is as follows:
5oz unbleached AP
5oz bread flour
16oz pate fermentee
1½ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoons active yeast
¾ cup water warm to touch plus a few tablespoons extra
That ever elusive crumb continues to fight me but i will not waiver I will not lose hope, I will continue baking baguettes.