Thesee baguettes are based on the formula given to Janedo by Anis Bouabsa, with Jane's modification - adding 100 gms of sourdough starter to the dough. The formula and method have been described in some detail in my last blog entry:
If these look substantially similar to those pictured in that entry, they are. My point is that this formula appears to be reliable and is yielding consistant and gratifying results for me.
That said, this batch was superior to the last in a some respects: First, the crumb is even more open. Second, the flavor is much better. It is very mildly sour but also sweeter. Third, the crumb has a chewier texture. Fourth, the shape of the cross section is more round. Fifth, my scoring was more consistant.
I did make a few modifications in ingredients and method. While these may seem trivial, I believe those of us who have participated in "The Great Baguette Quest" have found that these sorts of small differences make the difference between "good" and "great" results.
So, my modifications from the previous baguette bake were:
1. My starter was more fully activated when I mixed the dough.
2. I included the starter in addition to the flour and water to the initial mix that autolysed.
3. I got distracted and forgot to add the yeast and salt until the last set of stretch and folds. In other words, shortly before putting the dough in the refrigerator. The gluten tightened up dramatically and quickly after the salt was added, but it was pretty fully developed already. (This is not recommended, and I'm not sure what if any difference it made in the final product.) Because I wanted to be sure the yeast and salt were well distributed, I ended up doing more folds - probably 15-20 more, and this probably resulted in fuller gluten development which may have contributed to the open crumb.
4. Following foolishpoolish's lead, I rested the dough only about 30 minutes after dividing and pre-shaping, and I proofed for only 30 minutes. (Bouabsa rests 45 minutes and proofs for 60 minutes.)
I am not much of a baguette fan, generally speaking, but this batch was good enough to motivate further baguette adventures.