proth5's Sourdough Baguettes/SylviaH's Spa Treatment
I planned to try proth5's sourdough baguettes this weekend, per Brother David's recommendation. And that turned out to be an especially good idea. It's rainy. My wife and I both have colds (or maybe we each have half of the same cold). Perfect time for chowder. And we have several pounds of Alaska Halibut in the freezer, caught by our neighbor. And chowder just needs to be accompanied by baguette.
My previous attempt at baguette was with the Anis Bouabsa formula. It was a very trying experience for a near-novice working with that high-hydration dough (though the results were really good). My wife wanted something a bit sourer, and I wanted to believe that Pat's 65% hydration formula would also make a superb baguette. Now I believe.
I followed proth5's formula, as reported in David's blog (http://tfl.thefreshloaf.com/node/10852/baguette-crumb-65-hydration-dough), using KAAP flour. I wanted to make three 9 oz baguettes (about 14 inches in length), so I increased the formula by 30%. And I used Sylvia's magic-steam-towel technique (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20162/oven-steaming-my-new-favorite-way) for pre-steaming and supplemented it with the usual lava rocks in cast iron pan.
The dough was much easier to work with than the Bouabsa dough. And the result is just the crispy-crusted-creamy-crumb-slightly-sour baguette I was going for. I think I'm becoming a better baguetter. The hot towels were also helpful in clearing my sinuses.
The chowder was exceptional, too. A variation on my favorite clam chowder (Taddich Grill recipe), but with meaty chunks of Halibut.
Hasn't cured the common cold, but I'd feel worse if I didn't have such good soup and bread.
Thanks, Pat, and David, and Sylvia.