It just POPPED up? What the....?
Alas, It was one of those days when things just weren't going right. I’d decided to try Alex’s recipe from that video, but my schedule went way off, and that included making the levain. As a result, it wasn't ready when I needed it to be, so I gave it another hour. It didn't pass the float test, but by then it had lots of bubbles and gluten strands. I decided to go for it; autolyse went fine, but then it came to mixing in the salt. I followed the instruction to add a splash of water...only it was WAY too much water. OOPS! I mean, this moat appeared around the dough. I poured out at least 2/3rds of what I'd splashed in, hoping I wasn't losing all the salt in the process. The resulting dough was wetter then it was supposed to be. I could tell by comparing the dough in Alex's video to what I had.
I next followed the slap-and-fold instructions. But I forgot to set a timer and I went on a bit too long maybe? The dough I finally put aside to proof spread out flat, sticky and lifeless. Not a bubble in sight. Well...shoot. I've got to at least try to save, this, right? The recipe said to give it four hours—just leave it alone for 4 hours, but I decided to try and save the dough with coil folds. I did a couple every half hour or so. The dough remained wet and lax at first, but by fold three started coming together. Bubbles appeared. I was heartened.
And when I finally did shape it...it shaped up very nicely thank-you-very-much! I thought, "okay, this might just bake up right." Into the refrigerator for a good 16 hours final proof. Today, I heated up the oven to 475° just a tad hotter than the 450° that gave me my best loaf the last time—I wanted to get the cast iron combo cooker nice and toasty. I tipped the bread into the preheated "pan" part of the combo cooker—it looked good—slashed it—fine—into the oven, pot lid on, and took the temp down to 450°.
And then something odd happened...twenty minutes in I lifted off the upper part, ready to be disappointed. Darn. The loaf was pale gold and very flat. No oven spring at all. Oh, well. I closed up the oven and re-set the timer for 25 minutes. Time up, I opened the oven door to pull out the finished product and....
It had popped up! Like in those old Jiffy Pop ads! Saved! I thought.... Alas again, it was too good to be true. Here’s the interior....
Clearly it popped up thanks to some very large, last minute bubbles. Can someone please explain to me what happened? Obviously, next time I will do the recipe correctly. ;-) (on the plus side...the bread *tasted* good).