48-hour Baguettes, and beyond
Last weekend I had lunchtime occasions lined up on both days. On Friday morning, I began a large batch of Bouabsa-style dough at about 72% hydration. I baked half of it on Saturday morning and put the remainder back into refrigeration. Lunch rolled around, and I collected the usual lot of compliments and superlatives (only I could see the imperfect slashes, the slightly under-caramelized crust at the flanks, and so on).
Sunday morning I baked the second half of the dough, after fermenting 48 hours in the refrigerator instead of the prescribed 24 hours. I was afraid the long fermentation would produce a flavor that I don't know how to describe, but that is outside the spectrum for baguettes, more like a strong sourdough.
In the event, they came out just fine, even better perhaps than the 24-hour product. This time, at lunch, even I thought they were pretty good.
How long can this process be pushed? Can we make dough on Sunday, and then proof a single baguette from it every morning until Thursday or Saturday? I've done that with pita before, that is, I kept a batch of dough in the frigde, and scaled off what I needed meal by meal.