Fermenting-Shaping-Proofing: Now that this is my third time making this same recipe, measuring and mixing has become a lot easier since I know what to expect and I also am getting better at timing myself. I made the Poolish last night at around 8:30pm, knowing that I would have all day today to make the bread. I’m never quite sure how much yeast to put in my Poolish since it calls for 0.1 grams of dry yeast and my scale only measures whole grams. Perhaps I should invest in a fancier scale…
Woke up to my Poolish looking extra bubbly this morning so I’m hoping I didn’t add too much yeast to begin with but it’ll be interesting to see the end result of overdoing the yeast.
I felt that I was able to shape the two loaves much easier this time, compared to the first two times. I’m starting to get a feel for what the dough should actually feel like, which is helping me shape the dough correctly. I still obviously need a lot of work but I can feel myself improving.
I always mess up the shape of the bread when I place it on my baking sheet. According to the recipe, you’re supposed to transfer the bread from the bread linen, to a pizza peel, to the baking sheet but since I don’t have a pizza peel I just lift the bread from both sides and place it on the sheet instead. I think this really affects the shape and size of my batards. Lifting from both sides actually pulls the loaves and makes it longer. I really need to think of a different way to transfer the loaves to my baking sheet so I can keep the shape intact.
Baking: Again, I had a difficult time trying to add the loaded baking sheet into the oven whilst also adding a cup of ice to the bottom rack. The oven keeps staying open far too long and I think a lot of the heat is escaping in those first crucial moments of my bake. I need to think of a better process to add steam to the oven. I left the bread in the oven for 31.5 minutes.
Results: I felt like I could have left the loaves in the oven for even longer since I am still not getting the deep golden brown color I’m seeing in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook photos. While the shape of the loaves is an improvement from my last two times, I still need a lot more practice. The texture of the bread was a little more spongy compared to the mocchiri (chewy) texture that I liked so much in my last two loaves and I found the loaf to be quite salty. I’m not sure why the bread tastes so salty this time when I added the exact same amount of salt. The bread still tastes fine but I think I prefer the texture and taste of my other loaves. I gave my extra loaf to my cousin and she loved it as did my parents. Perhaps I’m my harshest critique, but I know practice makes perfect and I still have probably 100 more loaves to bake before I actually perfect it!