Problems with Baguette Rolling and Oven Spring
Hi all, long-time lurker and first-time poster here. I've been having a few problems with my baguettes (Anis Bouabsa's recipe) and I wonder if someone here would be kind enough to help me figure out what I'm doing wrong. I've made them 3 or 4 times so far, but I consistently have the same 2 problems.
First, I cannot for the life of me roll the shaped dough out! It's not just me being overly gentle with it, either; the divided logs are very, very resistant to elongation, and snap back to short blobs following even the most heavy-handed attempts to roll them out and lengthen them. It kills me to do it, but I eventually have to resort to pulling on them from each end if I want them to be long and skinny! I'm not sure why they're like that, as I'm letting the dough rest, proof, etc. at all the right times.
Second, I always get a pretty dense, hardly holey/waxy crumb, a crust too light in color, and essentially zero oven spring -- they come out the same size as when I put them in! I think I'm not turning up my oven to a high enough temperature (~425F); should I really set it to 500F? I heard somewhere that that's the key to getting these baguettes to explode during baking.
I am using KAF Bread Flour and SAF Red Instant Yeast (along with a bit of diastatic malt powder, too.) For what it's worth, I am not using a couche, either. Maybe that has something to do with the first issue. Anyway, if anyone could help me out, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!