So it has been a while since my last post, I guess it was a busy summer, LOL.
I made some simple baguettes today. I did a 4 hour poolish and then mixed up an ordinary french bread recipe (water, salt, flour, poolish). I then put the dough in the refrigerator, since I wanted to go to bed (9pm). My wife took it out at five this morning and this is what it looked like at seven, when I got up:
I cut the dough into four somewhat equal pieces and shaped them into logs; I set aside the fourth piece for my next batch.
Then I let them sit on the "bench" for an hour.
After pacing around drinking coffee for the longest hour ever, I flattened out all of the air...
...and rolled them into baguettes.
Now, I usually cover my french bread with a big pot, to emulate steam injection, but alas, these baguettes were too long! My solution was to start off at 550 degrees preheated for an hour and then carefully pour 1/2 cup of water into a small cast iron skillet, closing the door quickly. I think the key is keeping the oven above 450 degrees the whole time, since the evaporated water will make the temp drop dramatically. My water never stopped boiling and the steam cloud upon opening the door was impressive. CAUTION: A lot of steam comes out of the oven when first opened up, don't go sticking your face down there!
After proofing for another hour I scored and then brushed them with plenty of water. Once they hit the stone I turned the temperature down to 500 degrees for four minutes, then removed the skillet and turned the temp down to 450 for the remaining time.
I am pretty happy with the results, although they could be darker, but they taste wonderful!
I am making a country style next, with the old dough I saved from this batch!