Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tai-Chi Poolish Baguettes

Tai-Chi and Baguette sound like east and west.  But I decided to dub this baguette just that - the "Tai-Chi Poolish Baguettes".  My intention is not to disguise someone's recipe idea and make it into mine, but really, I basically kneaded my dough Tai-Chi ball style.  I got this recipe for the Poolish Baguettes, which I thought is a 'possible' method to use my natural grape starter that I have been culturing (nurturing) since April.  I have made quite a few artisan breads with it, but not to my satisfaction.  This particular formula sounded promising, so I gave it a try.
One thing I noticed with my grape starter is that anytime I mix it into the dough, the dough results in a very interesting texture.  It is silky smooth sticky glue.  After several testing, I honestly told myself that I need to sit down and do the baker's percentage calculation before using it in a recipe and 'hoping' that the product would turn out.  For now, my strategy is to incorporate it into a recipe that has proven to be successful, then, record my starter's behaviour.  This will give me a base in how to use it more properly with higher success rate.
The original recipe came from - Baguettes with Poolish.  I love to browse through this site and admire those beautifully home-baked artisan breads.  I got so used to using the commercial mixer that I've forgotten about the good ole fashion hand kneading and elbow power.  The last few times I made the bread at home, I noticed that my Kitchen Aide Artisan mixer is not powerful enough nor the dough cook designed well to knead the dough the way the commercial mixer would.  I almost gave up on baking bread at home.  On top of it, it's summer.  Heating up the oven to 460'F in the summer is not too fun.  But my solution to knead-by-hands the Tai-Chi style worked out.  After watching the "Kung-Fu Soccer" - just so happened to be on Fox-Latin channel in my area (in time for World Cup), I got an idea of kneading the dough the way the young lady was making the Chinese "bao".  Surprisingly and I am very pleased that it worked.  I love the texture of the bread it produced.
Ingredients I used are as follows.

Tai-Chi Poolish Baguettes
666 g Naturally cultured grape starter - 2-1/2 mths old

Final Dough
1 lb 10 oz All Purpose Flour + 6 oz for work surface and during keading for hands
10.6 oz Water
0.6 oz salt
1-1/2 tsp Instant Yeast
666 g Starter (above)
Calculate the DTC

Combine flour, yeast, salt together.  Add water to the 666 g Starter and mix well with hand.
Add flour mixture to the Starter.  Mix well. 
The dough is very sticky at the beginning.  It will become tacky. 
Keep flouring your hands and keep the dough rolling between your palms with right hand on the top and left hand on the bottom.  The motion is in the Circling motion.  As long as the dough is in the motion, the dough would stay in shape and remain tacky.  Flour hands as often as needed.  As soon as the motion is stopped, the dough would drop out of the hands in a blob like.  Continue kneading for 15 min to 30 min.  Give some good roll and knead on the floured work surface every 5 minutes for 3 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled, covered container.  Ferment for 1-1/2 hours.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces by weight.  Round it to a shape.  Bench rest for 20 min.
After the rest, shape each dough into a baguette and place in floured sack cloth. 
Hand pleat each section to keep baguette in its shape during the 2nd fermentation.
Let rise less than double.  **This is where I always miss.
Bake in preheated 450'F oven for 20 min with steam - first 10 minutes.
* I used baking sheet pan with Silpat on top.
*  Pizza stone is preheated in the oven during the preheat - baking rack is set at the lower 2nd level.
* Home Steam Injection Remedy for my overn:  A pan of hot water pan at the bottom of the oven.
A spray bottle to spray dough every 2 minutes for the first 10 minutes.
*After forming the dough into baguette shape, place the baguette on top of the Sipat.
Spray a plastic wrap with vegalene and cover the baguettes.  Cover the top with another bake sheet pan  to ferment for 30 min.  Then, remove plastic wrap gently and Score.
Open the oven, place the baking sheet on top of the pizza stone.  Spray with spray bottle.

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