Today's baguette bake part 2
Yesterday I did the first load of baguettes using a version of the BBA basic sourdough recipe. I had figured to do some more today. I created a dry biga to begin with and made enough of it for 3 batches, one yesterday and two today. Yesterday went so well that I was full of confidence and plans for careful, scientific comparisons today. Alas, it was not to be. Although the BBA says the biga is good for up to 3 days, I didn't read anything about the crust that formed on the top of mine. I had a disasterous bout of trying to incorporate it into the dough, and other problems, ending with me up to my elbows in wet sloppy dough at midnight trying to smash out the largest of the lumps. Eventually it turned out OK, except that the dough ended up being wetter than yesterday's, although I am very careful about my hydration measurements. So, I'm figuring the wetness came from:
Blending the biga with water with a wand immersion blender for several minutes (only moderate success) or
Fissaging the heck out of the pile of wet dough well into the fermentation process or
the overnight ferment was at room temperature and it was cloudy and a warmer night than the previous night or
something else or some combination of everything.
In any event, what I had to work with was dough that was too wet to work with. It wouldn't hold it's shape much at all when it came out of the couche and getting it off the heavily floured linen took patience and careful scraping. The resulting baguettes were too flat, they got some oven spring, but not much. Imagine shaping baguettes with ciabatta dough.
What to do? There's a lot of dough here. Time to get creative. I made a mustache and changed my avatar. The dough was very maleable. I made cheese bread by taking some of the dough and adding enough flour that I could roll it out. I made a crust and filled it with layers of the high hydration dough and cheese - that worked remarkably well. The last thing I did was to refridgerate the remaining 1 baguette's worth of dough and bake it straight from the 'fridge. The coldness made it able to hold it's shape. With cibatta dough you don't do any kind of folding to shape it, and this stuff already had plenty of fermentation time for flavour. I did one fold before I remembered that I didn't want to do any. The ends sprang more than the middle where I had done the fold. So, I think it would have worked if I had remembered to just sort of nudge it into a baguette shape and bake it. Not really a baguette, but an approximation.
There's the mustache in the foreground, a sliced flat baguette, the three cheese breads in the back left, a couple of small rounds on the right, also flattish.
The surprise hit was the cheese bread. The lower hydration outside gave a form for the wet inner dough and it merged nicely with the layered shredded cheese to create a very moist and delicious cheesy crumb. Can't wait to toast it! I'll be doing a variation of this on Tuesday with a fermented tomato loaf.