First Loaf and Questions
I decided act on my desire to start making bread and baked my first loaf this weekend! I took the recipe from the Poolish Baguette in "The Bread Baker's Apprentice", but I decided to shape the dough into a boule instead of tackling the baguette just yet. My wife and I absolutely loved the result, but, of course, I had some issues and questions. I made the poolish Saturday afternoon, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next day I did shorten the fermenting times to 3 hours (1.5 hour rise, stretch and fold, then another 1.5 hour rise instead of two 2 hour rises as indicated in the book) due to time constraints. My main issues, I think, were in the shaping phase. In addition to degassing the dough more than I would have liked (I think I lost at least 50% of the volume from where it was after the second rise), I could not create a seal on the bottom of the dough at all. No matter what I tried, I could not get the dough to meld together to hold the surface tension as I had hoped. I simply pulled the bottom together as best I could and lay it flat and hoped it would stay together (which it did for the most part). I scored the bread in a # shape, but I think I should have scored them a bit deeper as one side exploded outward during the oven spring. I also think I should have baked it a bit longer, but I am still waiting on my probe thermometer to come in to know what 190-205 degrees actually looks like. All and all though I was very proud of how my first attempt turned out and I can't wait to see my skills improve! Thank you all for any advice!