[New York]: The Baking Project Continues
Inspired by my success baking a Classic Country-Style Hearth Loaf last weekend, I decided this week to try Daniel Leader's baguette recipe (recipe available on request).
The first advanced-technique type thing about this recipe is that it tells you to let a gloppy yeast/flour/water mixture (called a "poolish," possibly named after the technique of Polish bakers who went to France) sit in your pantry for a full 24 hours. I had never let anything sit that long before, and I was very impressed by the way it was bubbling by the end and the faint alcoholic odor it gave off.
If most food does that kind of bubbling, you throw it out as fast as you can manage. But I forged ahead and put the starter in my bread dough, which at the end of the day looked perfectly fine.
So everything went great until I had to get the darned thing into the oven. I had four puffy, gooey baguette-shaped dough sticks, fully risen, ready to go into the 450 degree oven on the bread stone.
Aaand.... determined to have the dough be less floury so it would develop a better crust, I had apparently created a very *sticky* dough. And the dough stuck to the plate. And I couldn't get it off. And so eventually, in a total panic, I peeled it off with my fingers and - with the oven wide open losing heat all this time - I managed to get the now totally deflated loaves onto the baking stone.
They turned out delicious the first hour after they were baked, but after that they were break-your-tooth chewy (I guess all their moisture got sucked out of them by being baked at too low a temperature?). And I'm starting to think it's impossible to get a professionally browned crust in a home oven.
Luckily this is a cheap hobby. To be continued!