Next Project

Why the obsession with the baguette? It's quick and it cools quickly. Although it's tempting to eat bread when it's warm, it's a no-no. The loaf is supposed to cool completely before cutting in and eating. That's probably the biggest reason I like the baguette shape. Good crust to crumb ratio and with all that surface area, it cools quickly - all the way to the center.

So, speaking of daily bread, can I optimize what I have to have a loaf in the oven in the time it takes to preheat it (say 20 minutes) or can the loaf be ready and proofed as I walk in the door; preheat, slash the top and go? A neighbor of mine asked me the other day about freezing dough. I had never done it but it put a thought in my head that won't go away. I figure it's just a matter of experimentation to get the thaw/final proof time and temps. It's got to be better than those torpedoes of overly-conditioned crap from Pillsbury. Here's my initial plan. Although this plan only has two rises, they're each pretty slow. I think it'll work. But, unlike most real scientific literature, I'll actually disclose the results whether it works or not. Failures are always more instructive than the successes.

1. Mix baguette recipe and machine knead for 15 minutes or so and plunk in fridge for first rise (12-24 h).
2. Scale dough to dinner size loaves, ca. 400 g (320 g post-baking weight); good for a small family.
3. Form into loaf shape and place on baguette pan or other cylindrical holding device (lined with freezer paper) and cover loosely with plastic.
4. Now, the tricky part. Remove from freezer in morning before work and leave on counter probably in the pan it'll be cooked in and covered with something that doesn't touch the surface of the dough (so it won't stick). It might have to be sitting on parchment in the bread pan too to prevent it from adhering to the pan too tightly because the pan's perforated.
5. Come back 8-10 hours later, slash top and bake away.

I'll be thinking about this for a while. Chime in with any suggestions in the comments.