Ok, I am a super busy mom of 3 young kids, barely able to get a meal on the table, but I thought I would give the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" a chance. I've baked all my life, I can read a recipe and I have a pretty solid knowledge of food science.
But something went gravely wrong with my first attempt at a basic boule (free form loaf) and I wonder if I did something wrong. I know there have been a few other threads on this subject, but I just don't have the time to go back and digest them.
I made the dough yesterday and I let it rise on the counter in a big bowl for about 4 hours. It looked bubbly and wet when I put it in the fridge last night. This afternoon I pulled off a chunk for my first loaf and the cold dough looked very dry and crumbly...not wet and stringy. I managed to form a round loaf, but it definitely was not smooth (nothing like the beautiful pictures in the book!) and I let it sit for 40 minutes. It was still somewhat cool when I put it in the oven and it did not rise as much as I expected. In fact, it looks more like a very large bun! The crust is gorgeous and exactly the way I imagined it, but the interior is dense, with no holes at all. And the loaf is barely five inches in diameter. Maybe I could have baked it longer, but my oven is calibrated, so I had the temperature right. Could it have failed because the dough was cold? Has anyone had luck with the straight from the fridge dough?
I will try again tomorrow, but I will let the dough sit out longer for a second rise.
I was so excited at the idea of being able to bake again without the time commitment. If anyone can give me some advice on this particular books techniques, I would appreciate it so much!