Today was similar to yesterday in that we mixed dough for three types of baguettes. It was very similar to David's Day 3 except I interpret we did different doughs but I am not certain. Once again the scoring fairy visited and our loaves were better. Not what I want yet, but...getting there.
As in David's class we discussed flour - types, milling, characteristics, additives, oxidants, agers, etc. But the hands on experience was the highlight. And we began much more actively participating in mixing, baking, etc.
Our three doughs today were improved mix (our standard reference), an improved mix with a short autolyse, and a high gluten dough made by the improved mix formula (70 % hydration). Each person made five baguettes using each dough. The improved mix is becoming familiar as this is the third time we have made it. Shape and slashes are improving but the flavor and open crumb are now what we expect as is the dough handling.
The improved mix with autolyse combined all of the flour and almost all the water for 30 minutes autolyse before mixing in the yeast and salt (remaining water added to the salt at the start of the autlyze to aid in mixing. The autolyse jump starts the enzymes which means there is more sugar when the yeast is mixed in. The mixing and processing were similar to the improved mix baguette dough but with a shorter second mix since the autolyse allowed for good gluten development. The window test after the autolyse and short mix was "amazing". The best I think we have gotten. And the dough is a bit softer and more extensible.
The high gluten baguette dough was exactly the improved mix but with higher protein dough. So it was arguably underhydrated relative to the improved mix. And more elastic. Most of the loaves took two shaping passes to get them long enough.
There is little reason to show photos. They aren't remarkable and take me a good bit of time to upload so I will concentrate on flavor.
The high gluten dough yielded a baguette somewhat similar to the intense mix from yesterday. No bad tastes, but insipid, and familiar as the loaf you pick up from the local Mega Mart. It did have better (more open) crumb and the cell walls were much prettier but...not a loaf to lust after. But easy to handle, easy to shape and score (except for the elasticity), and good for large production schedules.
The improved mix reference was very good. A bit more challenging to handle but repetition pays and my handling of dough was clearly improved today. Wonderful, open structure, good flavor. Nice!
The star of the show, however was the improved mix with autolyse. A bit more challenging to handle and a bit gassy (like the short mix). A bit harder to get a good, taut loaf but it was the last of the day and I thought I did pretty well. Wonderful crumb, darker crust due to the additional sugar in the dough and crust. Flavor was slightly sweeter, with more acid both acetic (just a touch of bite) and lactic (slight buttery flavor). This was a real star and is to be repeated. The technique of beginnn a straight dough with a short autolyse is straightforward and is guaranteed to give your straight yeasted breads more flavor.
Like David's class we will make five different breads tomorrow - none baguettes. It will be a busy, hectic day! But a pleasant change of pace. Then, Friday we will make four different baguette doughs, a hand mix dough and three using preferments (poolish sponge, and dough).
Now for dinner and sleep!