closed slits and little oven rise with baguettes
i apologize for adding my lamentations to such a frequently voiced issue, especially when there are so many helpful forum threads on it already. I am a long time lurker, and let me say that you all are an inspiration and such an incredible and generous cache of knowledge and experience to grow from. so in advance, and for everything you've all done already, a heartfelt thank you.
now onto my issues of the day, these sad baguettes. oh the poor things! the crust sings and crackles when it comes out of the oven and is a nice shade of chestnut with a crisp crunch, the crumb is not something to complain about either. i am really at this point just working on the appearance and consistency of the baguettes. I've included some pictures below in which you can see that the scoring and rise of the loaves runs from bad to embarrassing. i have been using Hamemlman's Baguettes with Poolish recipe and have had some success in the past. unfortunately right now my kitchenaid is still in ny where i recently moved from so i made this batch by hand. to aid in the process i used an autolyse (45 mins, which i included in the time for the bulk rise), then i mixed in the salt and kneaded by hand for about 6 minutes. i don't think it was long enough to develop strong gluten network, but i thought the autolyse ought to help and couldn't bare the loud smacking at 8 am with the boyfriend asleep in the next room! i then let it rise for the remainder of the two hour rise time, with one fold after 30 mins. I let it rise an extra 15 mins on top of this because i wasn't fully convinced that the autolyse should be included in the bulk rise. i think that is where i first went wrong. the dough was fluffy and smooth but still pretty tacky (pic below). i was feeling positive when i preshaped. i let the preshaped loaves have a bench rest of about 15 mins, then proceeded to shape them into a few different sized baguettes because i have minuscule baking pans. i also don't have my scale so i am absolutely not claiming that the loaves are anywhere near consistent weights. once shaped i let them have a final proof in a makeshift couche for about an hour and a half, covered in plastic. here is where i think i went wrong for the second time. first of all, i can never prevent a slight crust from forming on the tops of my loaves, which drags and wrinkles when i attempt to score (i must, must invest in a spray bottle, amongst many other things, clearly), so that is quite unattractive in the baked loaves. also to add to the shopping list is a lame, because right now i am using a small serrated knife which i like to partially blame for my lack of scoring ability. so my main issues are this: once i baked (on parchment on sheet pans with steam) i got very little oven spring and the slits barely opened at all on most of the loaves. they were such a sad sight to behold!
so, do we think overproofing is the culprit? or, if it is the skin that formed on top and thus prevented the loaves from coming to a full rise in the oven- though i feel like that can't be the only reason, how might i better avoid that, in addition to misting once said water bottle is purchased? or, maybe initially a strong enough gluten network was never formed?
thank you thank you thank you in advance for any and all help you all can provide. I am attempting another batch as we speak which i kneaded for 14 mins after a 30 min autolyse, and will update with more pictures when I have a result!
below are some images of the first sad batch:
- the dough after one fold:
- worst to best from top to bottom (just a selection of three, there were plenty more!). the bottom was a much larger loaf to start.
- again, best and worst:
- a not so great shot of the crumb, post avocado attack:
thank you TFL for any wise words you can provide!