Double down... ...let's just say that I am a poor excuse for a gambler, but I am learning when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.
What? You didn't see that coming?
OK, so there had been a bit of a problem with the Twin French loaves last time. The problem being that no one could not tell the difference between the baguette with poolish and the baguette with pate fermentee.
Yeah, there was that little issue of garlic scape butter, and trust me, that stuff would have made warm cardboard taste darned good. But still, I had given some to the neighbors, sans garlic, and it did not seem to matter. No one seemed able to taste the difference.
And trust me, at this point they are not as bashful about saying what they like and dislike. For instance, the Twin Boys next door. "Hey Mister Steve, when are you gonna make me a banana creme pie?" , says Twin Number One. Followed by Twin Number Two saying, " Forget him, I am older and I want pecan pie."
They have quite gotten over the issue of shyness around me, and I am very pleased and satisfied by that fact. These are boy's boys, through and through. They love to play in the dirt, and if it is wet dirt, as in a muddy old river, they are even happier.
Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent. What was my point?
Oh, yes, to explain that, if there was a difference between the two breads, they would have had no hesitation in telling me so. At. All.
So today, we would do it again. And of course, as long as it is going down, why not add some plain french bread and some of my old sourdough standby? Sounds like a plan. But this time it would be done by the book. No more cups and hand full; this time, the scale would find good use.
Before being introduced to the Mellow Bakers, the sourdough was my reliable old standby for French of baguette bread. Because of a book called "Ratios", this was the recipe that was used the most in our household for French baguettes.
Five parts flour, three parts water, two parts starter, and one Tablespoon of Kosher salt. I made a lot of it, and people liked it.
I liked it!
The plain French bread is from Hamelman's 'Bread' book, page 233.
It is a straight yeast bread, and it gets it flavor from a long bulk ferment time. Good stuff, but it gets a bit of a bad reputation because, as Hamelman himself admits, he likes the fuller flavor of a pre-ferment bread.
But, I liked it!
The baguette with poolish is from page 101.
The poolish was dutifully started last night by adding flour,
water, and a little yeast, mixing well, and setting it to wait for at least 12 hours. This time it was clearly marked, even using radically different bowls for each preferment.
The baguette with pate fermentee is from page 103.
The pate fermentee- ( Aw, come on. I hereby proclaim it to be 'fermented dough' from this point on!)
The fermented dough was dutifully started last night by adding flour
with water and salt and yeast.
As you can see, it is definitely
a much stiffer base to start from.
Again, it was clearly marked and was set off to work.
While yours truly set off to sleep, perchance to dream.
This morning - well, it was still morning after all, even if it was not the usual 5:30 a.m. - the breads were mixed and set out for bulk fermentation.
For the poolish dough, the flour
were mixed with salt and yeast and the poolish was was added in as well.
Want a better look at
the consistency? It was a large sponge-like mass. Smelled great!
For the fermented dough, the flour
and water were mixed with salt and yeast, but then the fermented dough was added in.
This was indeed a different beast, at least in shape and form.
Then, off to the screen porch for bulk ferment. An hour later, each yeast-based bread got a fold. An hour later, another.
The 5-3-2 sourdough prefers not to play the same games as the other breads. Understood, and with some amount of empathy on my part as well.
Then it was time to form and final proof the poolish.
It was set in two batches, as there is only one baguette pan in my house. I am already getting suggestions to reduce. I was really happy to find out it was not my waistline she meant - this time.
The cake sheet helps capture stray sesame seeds.
And it was starting to look a little scorched after only twenty minutes at 455 F.
Ol' Luke is like that, flaring up like an alcoholic relative after New Year's Eve.
And here is the first outcome, one right side up and one upside down to show those all-important 'dots'.
Next, the plain vanilla French bread goes in...
(Probably shouldn't use that phrase in a cooking post, huh?)
Correction, the plain French bread goes into the oven.
It was a lot harder to score that the prefermented breads, but I still had hope. Besides, there is always that garlic scape butter, calling to me from the fridge.
Honestly, it is becoming an addiction.
But I have not seen any vampires.
And here are the two loaves of plain French bread.
I had only made a half batch of this and the sourdough, since I wanted to make sure that the neighbors would still be willing accomplices to the taste-testing.
I will have two complete sets of four types, with two poolish and two pate, er - fermented dough loaves for myself and the neighbors down the road. Hey, you never know when they will see me walking around delivering bread in my shorts, tennis shoes, and a tee shirt.
Wrapped and numbered for delivery...
...you will notice that there are no number 4's. On purpose!
Finally, and for sure a lot later, my old stand by sourdough came off the super-peel onto the baguette pan. I could handle the other doughs, but that sourdough stuff can be like sub-floor adhesive; some of the best glue out there.
But I'm gonna keep those sourdough; I tried it, and I still like the sourdough the best!
Some of these neighbors have hinted, rather broadly, that they are starting to feel 'left out'. Boy, they don't know the half of it. The neighbor to the north has gone on a diet since this whole bread baking thing got underway.
I can only hope!
Here are the loaves made with fermented dough.
It will be interesting to hear what they all think of the differences. For myself, I can only say that I like them all.
Good thing I have lots of willing neighbors.
What's that? Oh, sorry, Emma and Phoebe. You have been more help than I could have hoped, my thirteen year old puppies!
Yeah, OK, you get some, too.
Tomorrow I will update this with the results, if there are any!