Baguettes made with liquid levain
I had thought that, when I retired, I would tackle more complex breads and pastries. So far, my inclinations have been otherwise. I have been working on simpler recipes that can produce good breads with lesser time demands. Go figure.
This bread is an example. A baguette sur poolish is a classic bread. It can be produced in 5-6 hours (not counting the overnight fermentation of the poolish) and is at its peak of quality as soon as it has cooled. Yesterday I baked a sourdough adaptation of this classic bread, starting in the late morning to have fresh-baked baguettes with our dinner.
Firm starter (50% hydration)
The “Flour mix” is 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% whole rye flour.
I used my stock starter to feed the levain. It is kept at 50% hydration. Adjusting for this, the actual levain hydration is 89%.
Mix the levain ingredients and ferment for 8-12 hours. (My levain quadrupled in 6 hours and was refrigerated overnight.)
Water (80-90º F, if cold levain)
Note: The final dough hydration is 66%, accounting for the water and flour in the levain.
Dissolve the liquid levain in the water.
Add the flour, and mix to a shaggy mass.
Autolyse for 20-60 minutes.
Add the salt, and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.
Bulk ferment at 75º F for 3 hours with stretch and folds at 30, 60, 90 and 135 minutes.
Divide into 3 equal pieces and pre-shape as logs.
Rest for 15-30 minutes, covered.
Shape as baguettes and proof on a couche for 75-90 minutes.
Transfer baguettes to a peel and score.
Bake at 450º F with steam for 22-25 minutes. (I baked for 12 minutes with steam at 450º F then for 10 minutes at 425º F convection bake.)
Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
The crust was thin and crisp – as close to a classic baguette crust as I have produced with sourdough. The crumb was moderately open and chewy. The flavor was moderately sour – more sour than I expected. It was very nice with our dinner of soup (krupnick) and salad (lettuce with pecans, dried cranberries and Point Reyes blue cheese with a mustard vinaigrette).
Submitted to YeastSpotting