I’m up and getting ready to bake. Not quite “Baker’s Hours” bu close enough. I had to start the coffee manually earlier than it is normally set to go off.
Today I’m practicing baking four times since I can only fit two Dutch Ovens in my oven at a time. Pretty much “cottage baking”.
Aside from my poor shaping due to my yet to develop “baker’s hands” I believe it’s gone OK to this point. My goal this morning was to have loaves baking by 0530 (check). It was also to be moving ahead of that time so I didn’t do something silly like burn my hands, forget to turn off the home alarm or forget to take medicine (check, check….oops! Be right back!)
Take medicine (check).
Today I’m experimenting a bit with temperatures and times. I preheated the oven 10°F more than I normally do bumping it to 430°F (Convection). Thought being I’m going to be opening/closing the oven door and taking the lids off repeatedly. Might be good to bump the oven temp a bit higher. I’ll balance that by taking the lids off at 20 minutes vice my normal 25 minutes to check the oven bloom/color of the loaves.
I’m also experimenting with lightly dusting the loaves with rice flour and decorative scoring on the loaves and/or slash patterns.
I’m liking the light dusting contrast to rest of the crust. Blisters are present and the ear is pretty good. Probably not as dark a coloring as artisan bakers. I may try extending my times on the next bake by 2 minutes in both covered/not covered sessions.
Coloring is good. I like the “Plus 2” add on to the baking durations.
I tried a different slash (circle) on the Boule #2. I used a stencil that was supposed to look like a bear. Looks more like a Rhino wearing a saddle blanket… Need to up my stencil game (and get a better stencil)!
Bake #3 is done. Went back to the “Plus” slash on the Boule. I’m going to try a square slash pattern on the last bake. Additionally, I’m going to go back to a slash with no decorative scoring on the last Batard. I’d like to see if there is any difference in the oven bloom and ear development.
Bake #4 is done! My oven bloom on the Batard was a slight bit larger. The ear is probably not a result of my attention to the slashing angle. I like the square slash on the Boule.
My final baking time was just under 3 hours. I’d planned on a pair per hour. The final baking time average is 40 minutes. I can allow 45 mins going forward to give me a bit more time to stabilize oven temp/reheat the covers.
As I baked I checked the final bake weight of each loaf. What is clearly evident is the need to be more consistent when weighing initially. Maybe just pick a standard gram weight (800g prebake?) and have a residual bit of dough for a smaller “taste test” loaf.
Overall I’m very pleased with this test run and what I’ve learned along the way!