A Few Newbie Baker Questions (regarding equipment and Pain A L'Ancienne
Hey all, I'm very excited about baking some good breads in the future. I picked up Peter Reinhart's BBA and I decided to attempt the Pain A L'Ancienne recipe first!
A few equipment-related question first:
1) I've been using a food processor to mix my dough. The recipe calls for an electric mixer with variable speeds and different attachments. I know that's not REQUIRED, but what effect does using the dough blade in a food processor (with only one speed) have on the dough? I've also had trouble figuring out exactly when it's "done", and when I took the dough out it was still sticky, but didn't leave much on the sides or bottom of the mixer.
2) I placed the dough in a metallic bowl rubbed with oil, and rubbed oil on the dough. I covered this with plastic wrap. After letting the dough rise, in order to remove the dough I found it difficult because it stuck to the sides of the bowl (just a tiny bit). It stuck enough so that I felt like I degassed the dough more than I would have liked to get it out of the bowl. Are there any standards that are used for storing dough that will hold in the fridge and for proofing? If the dough is sticky, will it stick to a cotton cloth lined bowl? Could it just mean that I left the dough too wet? Should I use different bowls for placing the dough in the refrigerator and for proofing?
Now, a few bread-specific questions:
The bread came out tasting great, and I would venture to say that certain sections of the bread came out like I was hoping them to be, but much of the bread did not. It was a bit flat in some sections, and most of the holes in the bread were very small.
3) The dough got a decent rise in the refrigerator, as I left it in there for over 24 hours due to a hectic schedule, and then finished rising over 2.5 hours. Is there anything bad about letting the bread rise so much in the refrigerator?
4) I used a baking stone to bake the bread. When I opened the door to place the dough on the stone, I also added water to the metal pan beneath the stone, and when I closed the oven, I had lost about 75 degrees in heat. What would a loss in heat do to the bread?
5) Lastly, HOW DO I GET BIGGER HOLES IN THE BREAD! When all was said and done, the cut and shaped dough looked remarkably like the dough in the picture accompanying the recipe. It just didn't come out the same as (or similar to) the finished product.
Sorry for the questions en masse! This is me, trying to solve all of my bread baking issues in one swoop, though I know it will take many batches before I get bread coming out like I'd like!