After my recent baguette disaster, I decided to go back to my basic boule recipe that is based on Julia Child's baguette from Mastering the Art of French cooking, volume 2.
It turned out very well. Every time I make this recipe, it gets a little better. I guess that's what happens when you don't jump around too much. The biggest improvement this time was in shaping. I used Steve's awesome videos (shaping a bouton d'or shows how to shape a boule) and David's tips and finally got a decent boule without that terrible doughy middle that results from bad shaping. I also got really good slashes for the first time (probably good surface tension and wetting the blade in water). Proofing in a bowl lined with a towel worked a lot better than my usual 10 inch skillet lined with parchment method.
Another break through was using a KitchenAid mixer to achieve good texture. As much as I like to knead by hand, it can be a little tricky with a baby that can cry at any minute. It also makes my already dry hands even drier. This time I used Steve's wonderful tip of mixing only some of the flour (I used half) with water and beating it with a whisk attachment to get in some air, then adding the remaining flour and switching to a dough hook. I also used my rearranging method during the dough hook mixing that I discovered when working on focaccia dough (basically, you scrape out and rearrange the dough 2-3 times during a 10 minute mix). I also kneaded just a little by hand in the end (about 1-2 minutes). Not sure if it was necessary. Maybe next time I'll trust the mixer to do all the work.
Boule with a little rye
500g ap flour
20 g rye
1 3/4 c water (65F)
10 - 11g DCK
1 tsp yeast
Mixed 250g ap flour, salt and yeast with a whisk in kitchen aid. added water and beat on speed 8 for 2 minutes. added remaining four a bit at a time. when got too dense, switched to hook. kneaded 10 minutes dislodging after 5. kneaded some more by hand. let rise to tripple (about 4 hours), fold on a wet counter with wet hands and kneaded a little to get rid of bubbles. let rise again until more than trippled (3-4 hours at room temp, then fridge overnight). Brought to room temp for 1 hour, shaped into a boule, proofed upside down in a salad bowl lined with a towel and flour, covered with proof box and put a cup of warm water in the box. Proofed for 3 hours. Flipped onto a parchment lined board. Slashed with a wet blade. Baked in a dutch oven preheated to 500F. when bread went in, reduced to 425F. Baked covered 30. Reduced to 400F, baked uncovered 30. It was not too brown, so turned up to 425F and baked another 5. Registered 210F. Turned off the oven, cracked the door, and put back in the oven for 5min.