|After the bulk ferment|
I'm working with just a natural levain, no added commercial yeast. The long slow ferment should result in a mellow flavor and a slight tang, not sour like sourdough. The result is a lovely, wet dough, full of gas bubbles.
|The shaped dough ball|
Next step is to divide the dough into two roughly equal portions. Each piece then gets shaped into a ball. The object is to create a tension in the outer skin that results in a medium tight ball.
|In the basket for final proof|
Finally it is taken out of the basket and baked in a dutch oven. First, for 30 minutes with the lid on which allows the steam to be trapped, and encourages the rise and develops the crust. The last 20-25 minutes with the lid off caramelizes the sugars in the crust to create the rich dark color and produces a chewy crust with a soft crumb inside. Yum!
|The finished product|
So what happened to the baguettes yesterday? Using Ken Forkish's levain in the Tartine recipe was a success in terms of the dough produced. However, following the Tartine recipe calls for three baguettes. Rolled them out, proofed them and went to bake. That was when I found that the baguettes were about four inches longer than the width of my baking stone! Baked them anyway and finished up with three baguettes with droopy ends that caught and tore in the oven racks when I pulled them out. Probably could have done with 4-5 more minutes to develop a darker color but a great chewy crust and soft crumb. Next time I will divide the dough into four.