Made my first successful Baguettes!
Just wanted to crow a little today. I've been a member of this wonderful group for quite a long time and have always made bread but in the normal way most people do, not really understanding what's going on and making the same mistakes. I'm still stuck when I see a recipe I want to make but it starts out with "200g starter" - I would like to figure out how to make that a "yeast, water, flour" portion since I don't make starter (at this point, I'm not a sour dough fan).
I have always had my dough quite firm when it's time to bake and it is always a dense bread - sometimes gooey. This weekend I followed a recipe for baguettes from this list - I'm sorry I don't know who submitted it. But it was wonderful. There was a lot less kneading and more letting it rest (including in the frig for 22 hours). I stopped with the flour before the dough got to the normal consistency I get it to (gloppy like the recipe said) and and a little sticky kneading, I started to let it rest like the recipe said, and fold it every 20 minutes. Then I put it in the frig until the next day.
This is the first time I have ever had a dough feel like a rubber band! It was wonderful. I let it get to room temp and shaped it into baguettes (next time I will put in just a smidgen more flour to let it form just a bit more). I scored it then (was afraid it would do something if I scored after letting it rise the last time). I could see those big holes developing!
It was wonderful. I ate one whole baguette (but I got some exercise getting up and down to get another piece each time!). It had great holes in it and the crust was crunchy buy thin. This is so different from my normal heavy, gooey loaves.
My breakthrough was letting not making the dough so dense and doing more of letting the dough rest and folding - not kneading for 20 minutes at a time! It was fun to see it change so much just by resting.
I don't have a digital camera and my remaining loaf is 1/2 eaten already at work today. Next time I'll turn the overn down just a bit but whoever posted that recipe - THANK YOU - I've had a breadthrough!
Now I need to go out and get a scale - what a difference that would make!
I still have to learn how to make good whole wheat bread - it is too dense and gooey. But I'll get there some day.