Peter Reinhart Artisan Bread Everyday - Lean Bread Recipe
I just bought P.R. Artisan Bread Everyday and baked the template dough ie lean French bread. After I stretched and folded 4 times as indicated, I put it in the fridge for the cold fermentation. The dough doubled in size after 1.5 days. Two hrs before baking, I pulled the dough out of the fridge, used half of the dough and shaped it into a boule for the counter rise. After the first 60 min, the dough barely rose though. I decided not to take the plastic off as instructed and left it on the counter for the last 60 min rise. Baked it and the bread JUST came out of the oven. The crust’s color is BEAUTIFUL, but bcuz it just came out of the oven, I can’t cut the bread to taste it yet (am supposed to wait an hour) - will follow up later on the taste.
Me again...reporting on that taste.
For a beginner making bread for the first time in her life...the bread was wonderful, close to perfection! The taste was excellent. After 30 min on a rack to cool, my impatience and curiosity got the best of me so I decided to slice my bread. The crust was not as crunchy and crispy as it was when I just brought the bread out of the oven. The crumb was very moist, tender, soft, tasty and flavorful. I splurged some butter on the warm bread and my hubby and I thought the whole thing to be divine.
There weren't big, irregular holes like I saw on other pictures and other people's breads so that is why I said "almost perfect" (but then again, are you supposed to have big and iregular holes???). The crumb's texture was almost the white sandwhich loaf type. If one expects the "pain croute" type of bread, mine was not it. The look was very, very artisanal and had a beautiful golden brown, but the taste was similar or identical to an enriched white bread loaf.
I am puzzled that the counter proof barely afforded any rise. Was the dough supposed to rise again on the counter during the 2, sixty minutes proof? What did I do wrong? I measured the ingredients according to the recipe, using a scale (but I cut everything in half cuz I did not want to make such a big batch – first trial and going on a diet soon!). Any idea or thoughts??? Also, I would like to know how I can keep the crust crispy after it is done cooling off. Mine, just after 30 min, is quite soft already. If I buy a baguette at the store, the bread's crust will still be crunchy even if it is not just out of the oven. How can I achieve that texture?
I am definitely going to do it again til I get this bread the way it's supposed to be...meanwhile, if anyone can explain why I did not obtain any counter rise (ie proofing for 2 hrs was not sensational - see posting just above this one) and how I can bake a crunchier crust after it has cooled off, I would very much appreciate.