Well, this week was a little disappointing one in baguette land.
I only made two seemingly minor (intentional) changes from last week: First, I endeavored to proof until the baguettes "felt ready" (about 65 minutes this week), rather than waiting for a 75 minute proof. That I think went well. Second, I switched from KA Bread Flour to Stone Buhr White Bread Flour. I generally prefer the Stone-Buhr, but my local grocery stores stopped stocking it. Last week, all of a sudden Save-Mart had a small supply with a "Close-Out" price-tag, and I snapped up 3 bags while I had the chance. In the past, I've gotten much more sweet, nutty wheat flavor out of the Stone-Buhr in breads that rely heavily on the flour for flavor, such as baguettes. In particular, Stone-Buhr gave better results than the KA, Gold Medal, or the Sunny-Select store brand with Peter Reinhart's formula for pain a l'ancienne, which I used to make pretty frequently. For several editions of my weekly baguette quest, when I've liked the shape and scoring, but not the flavor, I've wondered if a little Stone-Buhr would fix everything.
Anyway, the big problem this week is that the poolish over-proofed after only 10 hours on my counter--I could smell the booziness of it but forged ahead, and ended up with somewhat pale, chewy bread. Ah well. The big question is this: why did it overproof so fast? I have a few potential theories:
- The flour is to blame: Perhaps Stone Buhr has more free sugars, which explains my experience of great flavor, and a fast proof.
- The yeast is to blame: I may have over-yeasted the poolish. I've been trying to approximate 1/16 teaspoon of yeast by half-filling a 1/8 teaspoon measure, and it isn't easy.
- My apartment is to blame: The apartment was a bit warmer than usual Saturday morning when I took temperatures in order to figure out the right water temp.
Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Anyway, here are the results. Only two baguettes are pictured because I sent one home with my parents (who had stopped by to see their grand-daughter) prior to taking a picture. Take my word for it that baguette #3 looked much like #1 and #2.
Crust was pale, and very tough and chewy. Scoring placement was pretty good, although I'm thinking part of the problem is that I'm not scoring deep enough. Crumb was moderately open, but oddly dry. Flavor wasn't too bad despite all that.
At least I had more luck with my Sunday bake, a rendition of dmsnyder's lovely San Joaquin Sourdough. Haven't sampled the inside, but the outsides look nice and they smell phenomenal. Still, for a picture I decided they needed a cute-ness enhancer.