I've been away from The Loaf for awhile and I thought I'd post an update to my bread-state.
I got away from baking baguettes over the summer/fall. I became comfortable with the 40% caraway rye bread recipe that I was toying with when last I was here regularly. But I forgot how to do a basic white bread. I've remembered/reinventing now. The last two batches of baguettes have been stellar, for me, after a run of really bad boules and batards. My old notes were all double and triple fermentations. I needed something simpler. In Colorado with a bread machine I used to keep a pate in the 'fridge and I got some really wonderful sour flavours, such as I have never achieved while working at it this past year. Now I have a substatial pate in the 'fridge, 1,000g right now, that I use to make about 3,000g of dough. That gives me 6 300g baguettes, prebaked weight. I can only bake them 3 at a time, so when I preshape the first 3 baguettes I degass the remaining 900g of dough and leave it in a cooler place while the baguettes proof for a little over an hour at about 80 degrees in a heated proofing box. When they go in the oven I can then preshape the remaining dough for another bake in 2 hours or so. I'm doing that and keeping track of how long I feel will be optimal for the pate to have been in the 'fridge.
Current baguette routine: Combine 1000g pate with 790g 105F water, 60g mature starter, and 1212g flour (10% ww or rye). Couple of stretch and folds at 45 minutes each, ferment until nearly double, divide, preshape etc. steam/bake 550 5min 500 5 min and 470 12 min. I think the stone is too close to the top of the oven, so I'll lower it one. The ends of the baguettes are getting a bit burnt, although they're nowhere near as wide as the stone. I remember this fix from before the summer.
The strangest thing happened while slashing the baguettes last night. I did one and had my usual drag-the-razor, ripple-cut slash, and then suddenly the slashes were working, smooth, deep, angled, perfect. That never happened before. I hope that on the next baguettes that I can do that again.
I've gone through 100 lbs. of Giusto's white flour. I'm picking up 50 lbs. of Bob's organic white flour in the next couple of weeks. I'm familiar now with Giusto's so I should be able to tell the difference if I handle the new flour the same as I've been handling the old flour. I made some bread at my brother's house in Crescent City awhile back using Bob's organic white flour from a local store and it had a wonderful taste. But then it was an unfamilar kitchen and I didn't really know what I was doing at the time. So, we'll see.
A little while ago I made my first Danish, since then we've been pursuing the perfect Danish for us. I liked to make pockets so that I could load plenty of filling inside and not have it run out onto the baking sheet. The problem was that the pastry didn't puff up under the filling, just the flaps that covered the filling. Currently we're trying a roll, but that's having problems as well. I'm going to post that problem to a forum once they come out of the oven today.
I'm so happy to have my baguettes back. I don't know where the bread journey will lead from here. I just saw someone's posting of a high percentage rye that looked wonderful. I may try something like that.
Hi everybody! I'm happy to be back.