I never got around to posting last week, but I did get around to making yet another batch of poolish baguettes. The only real change was to use King Arthur All-Purpose flour in the final dough (making up 2/3 of the total flour with the Bread Flour in the poolish). Also, thinking that my lame was getting dull, I tried scoring with the other side of the blade (switching from "Method 1" to "Method 2" as dmsnyder terms them). I wasn't enturely impressed with the results.
The results were okay--crumb had a nice texture, flavor wasn't bad, crust was well carmelized but kinda chewy. Bottoms burnt, scores are a mess. The previous two weeks the results had been so much better. My fault or the flour? Probably mine, but I'd had such luck before...
Partly discouraged, partly looking for variety, partly because I've been craving a sourdough baguette for a couple months now, this week (#15 if you're keeping track), I swapped out the poolish for 300g of 100% hydration starter (still used commercial yeast in the final dough though). The dough wasn't nearly as easy to handle as the standard poolish dough--it was looser, stickier, and gave me grief shaping (somehow I managed to have one end sticking while the other end was over floured and sliding instead of rolling). I did take steps to prevent burnt bottoms, raising my stone one level in the oven--this seemed to do the trick.
I wouldn't call this a success, per se--the crust and crumb are pretty ugly, no?--but the flavor was very nice, and the crust had a nice texture to it -- chewier than I'd want for a normal poolish baguette, but quite good for a sourdough.
Now here's the question: I really ought to give the King Arthur AP flour another chance in a normal poolish baguette. But I think the sourdough version has a lot of potential--if I could get more used to handling this dough, I think I could get something pretty nice here. Which do I pursue?
(In all likelihood, this will be determined by whether or not I remember to take out and refresh my starter on Wednesday or Thursday next week, mind you.)
Happy baking, everyone. I got some King Arthur durum flour as a Christmas present and tomorrow I'm baking Pugliese :)