Square One - with Pain de Campagne
Now, where were we?
I have left baking bread for a while now. I moved to the so-called big city into an apartment with a decidedly large living area but comparably small kitchen. Sharing with three other people caused issues and I really need reign over the whole thing when baking bread. I couldn't have it, so I instead gorged myself on what was locally available--and there are a decent amount of bakeries here in Halifax. I never stopped admiring and eating bread. Just stopped baking it, really.
Well, it's a new year and a fresh start. I've been in a new apartment for several months now which houses only me and my partner. He is quite happy to let me take over the kitchen, especially since he often reaps the benefits. I am determined to start again.
I've started my journey with a batch of Pain de Campagne from The Village Baker. I can already say that it's not a success. But all things relative, it's a success in that I'm starting again.
What a monster!
I can tell you what the problems were. Overproofed. I think the creation of the poolish was probably fine, but a warm kitchen assisted in causing this dough to rise too quickly. At a couple points in the proofing, I thought to myself, that's done now, you should move it forward to the next step. I ignored my instincts because it was a fraction of the time called for in the recipe, and it's been so long, I thought I should follow the steps to the letter.
I still moved things along a little faster than I was supposed to--rising for 45 minutes instead of an hour and a half, for example--but not fast enough, I don't think.
What can be done? The taste is fine, and the crust is actually lovely. The crumb itself is not terribly impressive--not even photogenic enough to show you, though.
However, I'm determined not to be upset about this. This bread will still be good for toast, for serving alongside a hearty winter stew, and for the first step of hopefully many.