Sunday, December 27, 2009

Explosions. The Earth is Moving.

I love making bread at the bakery. I love getting up early and opening the chain gate, turning on the oven and the proofer, and spending hours alone with the giant mixer, and hours chatting with Lily. People seem to be buying and enjoying the bread, too, and I really appreciate that. But I'm having a technical problem that I can't seem to get the better of, one that almost never happens in my home oven.

No matter how well I score them, almost all of my loaves are exploding, some picturesquely, and some much less so. I've tried underproofing, over-proofing, nothing really seems to work. I've baked with and without a baking stone, and it didn't seem to make much difference. The only major difference between the bakery ovens and mine is that the bakery ovens have fans, which make them hotter and move air around better. My new theory is that the fanned air is drying out the score marks before the bread gets to the expansion point, making them useless. Yesterday, I tried re-scoring a loaf partway through the bake, and while it wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing solution, it did seem to work somewhat.

Anyone who knows something about bread, I could use some help here...oven too hot, too cold, ways to deal with the fan (it can't be turned off), improve steam, etc...Any ideas are welcome, it's starting to drive me crazy that I turn out picture perfect loaves at home and can't do the same for paying customers. (I know the taste is outstanding, though, and that keeps me going).

This week, Christmas got in the way of my usual night-before preparations, so I made Hamelman's pain au levain (floured) from scratch yesterday morning (compare to the previous post for some indication of my aesthetic issue), as well as his pate fermentee baguettes, to which I added sunflower seeds. I did half the recipe as country boules (front, with crosses) and half as actual baguettes. They were a bit twisty, but I was actually quite satisfied with them, and plan to try again, although Lily prefers to call them 'breadsticks' in deference to baguette purists.

1 comment:

Judith Motzkin Studio said...

These look perfectly gorgeous to me!
Very wabi sabi.