It's about frigging time for a new post. Giada's nuts was a good chuckle, but it's time to move on.
Historically, I've had problems achieving good crackly crust on anything but my baguette. I think it's primarily an issue of humidity attacking the new loaf on all sides in the oven when the yeast is experiencing its final gasp of life (a.k.a. oven-spring). The perforated baguette pan simply allows the steam to hit the loaf from the bottom (and all other sides are simply exposed, so they get it too). Today's experiment involves the application of a perforated, thin, flat pan I found the other day at good 'ol Giant Eagle. ANY size loaf could fit on this thing and best of all, you don't need stones in the oven or a peel to get the loaf in and out. This thin pan, I hypothesize, should heat up quickly and permit my steam shot (ca. 60 - 120 mL water, tossed into the hot oven floor or squirted from a bottle) to completely bathe my loaf in steam, regardless of shape, producing a crackly mosaic of crust surrounding a tender inside (a.k.a. "Papa's good bread" Frankie calls it and I stand proud).
Additionally, since I'm making a boule today (a round bread), I'm using a nifty item my love bought for me a year ago called a Brotform (2nd image). It's a bamboo-like bowl used for the final proof. There's surprisingly little (I've found) on the web for using these. Do they need extensive seasoning/use? Is a slack dough going to stick? I'll be exploring these and other questions in weeks to come.
Today's recipe is not a good control. It's not the simple baguette recipe; there are a lot of variables tossed in. Life is simply too short for rigorous factorial experimental design everytime you need some bread. So phthththth. And, I need this for dinner at Amy and Mario's tonight!
My recipe for today is:
water, 250 g
honey, ca. 1 T
olive oil, 1 T
Montana Sapphire unbleached white, 375 g
rapid rise yeast (Fleischmann's), 1 packet
salt (not kosher), 7 g
First kneading and rise in the bread machine (my kitchen slave), 2nd rise will be about 20 minutes and the final proof somewhere around 20 minutes (cold kitchen today, we'll deal with the final proof when it comes). Baking will be at 450-deg-F (convection) until deep golden color. I'll post the results.