Ok…. This post is why I started this string of posts in the first place.
On my journey of learning to bake sourdough I’ve come to realize it is a mixture of science, art (sometimes black art), whimsy, luck and my ever-present Sous Chef (do bakers even have these?) Murphy.
I’ve gone through all the effort to get these loaves to the moment of baking. The oven has preheated, I’ve a sheet pan already in the oven to help me generate steam and water be a pot of boiling water ready to dump in so there will be lots of steam for my crust early in the bake.
I pop them in the oven, pull out the tray a bit and pour in the boiling water. Whoosh! I’ve more steam than I even imagined possible. I slam the door shut and think “success!”.
Murphy is snickering behind me unnoticed.
At about the 20 minute point I pop the door open and pull out the water tray. As expected the tray is virtually dry. The loaves have risen but not as I had hoped. There is some color so I think “First attempt…don’t over bake and burn them!”. I add another 15 minutes onto the timer and wait.
Time passes and I go to check the loaves by cracking the door and checking them. The color is virtually unchanged. I check the oven and it says 420°F Convection. I add more time.
Timer goes off. I check the loaves. No color change. They’ve been in the oven 50+ minutes at this point. The oven says 420°F Convection. I open the door further and poke the loaves with my finger. They’re squishy and they’re unbaked!!!
(Here’s where a Minion asking “Whaaat?!” Would be appropriate)
My oven is OFF!
Murphy starts slapping his knee, laughing uncontrollably and falls to the floor rolling around gleefully.
Evidently my burst of steam put out the oven flame. It indicated as on at the temperature but was just cooling down. I hadn’t noticed when I pulled the pan out initially. Come to think about it I hadn’t noticed that I had no rush of heat to my face when I had cracked the door to check the next time. Note to self!!
I reset my oven and set it to 450°F convection and left the bread. My thought was to take them out when the oven got to temp.
THAT was a learning experience!
For all my baking travails they came out OK. They tasted really good and I learned a number of things on this bake. I was actually pleased that I was able to recover and get edible baguettes despite my errors.