Soooooo close... I can almost taste it!
Finally, a (near) success!!
Using a couche, or more accurately a chunk of heavy cotton cut from a painter’s dropcloth (yes, new but washed) and a very generous amount of rice flour/UAP mix (50/50) rubbed into the cloth, there was NO STICKING issue whatsoever. So the loaf had no opportunity to deflate. The result is, at last, a non-flat loaf. The oven was set at 440ºF (although it should have been 475) and watched carefully through the entire baking process - I've been having Oven From Hell issues of late.
A distinct improvement from the last batch!
Things to do or improve next time:
- Slashing: Much work needed with this. Needs to be deeper and, perhaps, at more of an angle into the dough. The new cheapy dollar store knife I just got worked well though, no snagging the dough.
- Cover couched dough in plastic film to avoid top side drying more than bottom while it rises. Otherwise the two different crust textures cause busrting and (likely) hold the dough back from fluffing up as much as we want.
- Rig up better couche board.
- Less salt! Accidently added too much, though I’d taken out the excess, obviously not enough. Edible, for sure but just a touch too salty!
- Find a “softer crust” recipe; my SO still wants his bread to be more like packaged white bread: soft center with tiny holes, and a non-crusty soft crust. :shudder:
- Still need a reliable oven thermometer. I've hunted numerous kitchen sections in this town and no one's got anything better than the little coil types.
And here's the loaves:
Nice crust colour, crumb is good although it could be a little fluffier, the crust isn’t too thick n’ chewy. Overall, not bad! Minor tweaks and it should improve considerably nest time.