Hello from Florida
Hi, my name is Sergio. I live in central Florida so I've been taking advantage of the cold weather so I can use the oven to help warm up the house. I started baking not too long ago, weeks maybe a month or two, on a regular basis. I made a Challah, and that was very edible.
Lately I've been trying to make French baguettes. A Parisienne I met said that they were so good and crunchy on the outside and for some reason I have an image of them with giant bubbles and a lace of dough, or whatever the stuff inside is supposed to be called, on the inside (not at all like what I get at the grocery store). I haven't been able to get big bubbles. The first ones I made were okay but the bubbles were far from fantastic. The second one I made came out totally flat-- well, not totally flat but somewhat flat. The flat one I tried to proof while it was already shaped: mix ingredients (including Patty F (the pate fermentee)), roll out baguettes and let rise for about two hours. I don't know if they came out flat because I didn't proof the dough first then shape and proof again like I did the first time, or if it had everything to do with how I forgot to put flour on the parchment paper on which I proofed the baguette so it stuck when I tried to move it... maybe I should have just baked it while it was stuck... anyway--
Question 1: any advice about how to get big bubbles and a lacy inside in my baguettes? (OOPS! I just scrolled down and found the bubbles thread-- Sorry!)
I'm also trying an experiment in my refrigerator with a pate fermentee. I've heard that they usually last for no more than three days. I'm trying to use half of the PF up to every three days in the bread I'm baking that day while adding a cup of bread flour, 1/3 cup of water, a quarter teaspoon of yeast, and 1.5 quarter teaspoons of salt to the remaining PF and the same amounts to the bread I'm baking that day (this is the recipe I've been using halved). I've heard that with a sourdough, adding equal amounts of flour and water is a way of feeding the starter, so I'm hoping this will work to feed the PF and that way I'll always have a PF on hand so I only have to wait a few hours to make bread. This way I also don't make so much bread at a time so I bake more often and, more importantly, have more opportunities to eat fresh baked bread.
Question 2: Any predictions on how Patty (the PF) will do? I guess I should also ask how I'll know when Patty has moved on to a better place (when the PF has gone bad/sour/unusable).
And at long last, finally--
Question 3: I've been using the packets of yeast, the Fleischmann's active dry, but I want to get the little jar of yeast instead. The problem is that the only jar I could find at my grocery store said it was for bread machines-- can I use this without a bread machine, or are there some kinds of computer chips in the yeast that have to communicate with the bread machine or something? Just so that it's perfectly clear, I don't really expect that there are micro-chips in the bread machine yeast.
Thanks in advance! Sorry for going on and on,