My Baguette and Questions
I have finally managed to create a light crumb bread. Here are my baguettes that I made today. It was wonderful with the perfect crisp crust and a nice open light crumb. I also succeeded in kaiser rolls yesterday, but I am wondering why I had so many failures first.
I was following recipes to the letter. Maybe that was the problem, but several recipes for kaisers or baguettes resulted in a heavy, very chewy and sometimes very tight crumb. The flavor was great, but the crumb was not. Also the crumb was usually in various shades of gray or streaky looking. I used many different recipes, mostly using a biga or poolish and calling for a lot of kneading. Fermenting and proofing were said to last until doubled in volume and the estimated time was fairly short.
I wonder if my problem was too much kneading, too short fermenting or proofing? That is the only thing I have changed. I am now using the very same flours and other ingredients. The difference is in my technique. For these successes,I am using the fold and rest technique instead of kneading. I mix the dough just until it is all incorporated, take it to the table and knead 1-3 minutes just till it feels cohesive and like a dough. Then I fold at 30, 60, 90 minutes. At 2 hours it is ready. This worked with BBA's kaisers and Baguettes. Both used a pre-ferment. Although the book called for kneading and traditional fermenting, I used the other method.
Do you think too much kneading can cause the tough gray crumb? I'd appreciate suggestions. In the meantime, I am pretty impressed with the fold and rest method. I am wondering if I can use the technique with all recipes.