Friday, June 22, 2012

The Straight Dough Experience

Couronne, after the bake! What a wonderful color this loaf achieved.
Hello Everyone!! I know that I have not posted in a while. I have been submerged in the job hunt and I am happy to say that I have been making progress.  I am looking for the best opportunity for me and before long I will find what I am looking for.

This is a bread from Hamelman's book that I did not bake last year because I had made it in the past. IN fact, my very first class with Chef Miscovich we made two baguette recipes, one with a poolish and one as a straight dough. So it has been quite some time since I have made this bread. 

If you are a seasoned baker you will know that poolishes and bigas really do make bread significantly better in so many ways. If you are not a seasoned baker, proceed to place salt and pepper on your head (you are know a seasoned baker). 

Preferments add:
·       Flavor
·       Gluten development
·       Shelf life
·       Enhanced nutrition 
When you make a bread, such as the French bread that I made this week, you have to compensate for the lack of a preferment by multiple folds. In this bread, the fermentation and proofing are really extended. This allows the dough to develop some really nice gluten and to remain fairly wet while maintaining strong structural integrity. 

This bread is unique in that the goal of the mixing procedures is not to create the complete gluten structure, but to make sure that the ingredients are combined into a smooth consistency. Oddly this bread is mixed on first speed for three minutes, then mixed on first speed for another three minutes. Finally, the dough is mixed on second speed for one minute. The dough will seem loose and underdeveloped but be patient and just roll with it. This dough has two folds and two and a half hours of bulk fermentation to make sure that the gluten will be strong enough in the finished loaf. The dough is placed in a bowl and is folded after fifty minutes and then again after another 50 minutes. 

Here are the photos of the dough as it passes through the mixing and folding and fermentation processes. You can see that it gets progressively more structured after each fold. 

The dough after the first set of three minutes on first speed
The dough after the second set of three minutes on first speed
The dough after mixing on second speed for just one minute

The dough after the first fold

And after the second and final fold

Now, I could have simply made baguettes, but I only have one peel and rather than getting frustrated, I made a "couronne", which looks like an enormous bagel. I really like this shape because it produces a bread with a lot of crust and a very open crumb. And … looks AWESOME.  Someday I am going to make an awesome Couronne shaped sub with grilled vegetables and feta cheese. Keep your eyes open for that!

The shaped and proofed couronne 

I truly like this bread because it really highlights the importance of a gentle touch. The dough is fragile and needs to be treated kindly and meaningfully. I am still a poolish kind of guy, but that is not to say that you can not make a straight dough of comparable quality with some attention to detail. 

The finished bread 
As you can see, by this picture, this bread took on a wonderful dark color. This is the color that I like in my breads. They are baked to the point just before they begin to burn. Remember that there is a very fine line between caramelization and carbonization. Sometimes 30 seconds can make all of the difference in the world. That is 30 seconds between "perfection" and "burnt". It takes a keen nose and a lot of practice, but you will all get there! Pay attention to the smells that the bread gives off during its final stage of baking. Wait for that light earthy aroma. That is how I know when the bread is ready. Tip of the Day: If you are not sure what you are smelling anymore, use the old wine-tasting trick to clear your nostrils: sniff the skin on your hand to clean your air ways. It really works!!!  

In the words of Tucan Sam "Follow your nose!"

Bake On 

1 comment :

  1. "The dough is fragile and needs to be treated kindly and meaningfully. I am still a poolish kind of guy." You are the best blog writer ever. The bread looks amazing.