I've been practicing making french baguettes at home and am currently exploring the poolish method. I've collected numerous recipes and tried different variations.
My baguettes are OK but I'm looking for a way to improve all of my steps to make the end result as good looking and tasty as possible (still lots of room for improvement).
One thing I noticed is my dough doesn't look as soft and elastic as I would like after kneading it.
Here's how I would love it to be:
Source: https://youtu.be/DkHsbchF2-g?t=228. It looks very soft and elastic, you can stretch it and it looks like a veil, making it almost see through (AKA the window pane test).
What I end up with it this:
It looks like an over-chewed bubble-gum and does not really stretch; but rather breaks apart.
I have a few ideas to improve that texture, but I'm afraid trying them all (and their combinations) would take me a long time, so I'm sharing them with you:
- Try another flour. I bought mine at my baker's place asking the one they use for baguettes, but I'm afraid the shop assistant didn't hear this and gave me another one (or they add some other ingredients I'm not aware of).
- Knead less. I'm currently relying on my home stand mixer and knead for about 5 minutes on low speed and 1 on medium.
- Knead by hand. I haven't tried yet as it can become messy with kids running around :)
- Change recipe ratios. I compiled my recipe research in that tool (personal-use and French only for the moment) and am currently using the default (Baguette > Tradition) settings. See below for details.
- Adapt temperatures. Same here, I'm using my tool's bottom calculator for the water temperature.
- Prepare poolish with 2g fresh yeast, 196 g water and 196 g flour
- Let rest covered for 3 hours at room temperature
- Knead poolish with 196 g water, 6g fresh yeast, 12 g salt and 392 g flour, for 5 to 10 minutes on low speed and 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed
- Let rest covered for 1.5 hours
- Steps after that don't matter ;)
Here's how my recent batches looked like:
What do you think?
Is one of those numbered steps the obvious reason to you?
Or do you see something else that could lead to my not-so-pretty texture?
"A few days later" Update
I bought a pack of T65 flour and tried another batch. Here are its nutrition facts:
And here's the resulting dough:
Sadly I don't see any improvements. I guess the flour wasn't the issue and I still have to do my research. Any help is appreciated!