Advice on baking a huge loaf
This weekend I made Thom Leonard's Country French bread, as written in Glezer's Artisan Baking.
I absolutely LOVED making the dough, it had great gluten development, as you can see in the first photo. However, I took a huge lesson in humility and the dough almost brought me to my knees - no wonder it is listed as "advanced".
anyway, it has to rise for 4 hours after shaping - being a huge loaf, I did not have a suitable banetton, but used a pasta colander instead.. With a linen HEAVILY floured. I turned the dough out onto parchment paper to bake it, and when I tried to pull the linen out, it was GLUED to the dough in several places. It was like Nightmare on Elm Street, except that my street has a different name.
As I am pulling the linen out (and using quite a bit of profanity in the process), the dough is deflating right in front of my eyes, and turning from a nice, tight round, into a flying saucer shape, threatening to expand out of the parchment.
I had to rush it into the oven, no way to bake with steam as my original idea was to inverted my roasting pan on top of it, but then it spread so much it would not fit.
I had zero hope for the bread, but amazingly enough, the crumb was still airy and the taste amazing. (I took a very careful picture, not showing the completely messed up top of the loaf... :-)
My question for your guys: what is the best way to approach a loaf of this size? (Please, don't tell me to go buy a huge banetton....)
Is there anything I could have done to help remove the linen without harming the dough? Would it help start baking it with the linen on and pull it a few minutes later?