As an annual fund raiser, one of our local private schools offers a wide selection of evening classes during the winter months. They ask parents and community folks with special skills to share those skills with those us willing to pay a fee to learn. One of the classes that I took was offered by a local artisan bakery and we made baguettes with poolish.
This is a poolish. It's like a starter made with flour water and yeast, which grows for 8-12 hours and then gets mixed into the dough.
Our poor batch of dough for 10 people looks pitiful in this large mixer that makes daily bread for many of restaurants and grocery stores all around Middle Tennessee.
Wheeled tubs were used to hold all the ingredients and to let the dough rise.
The loaves are formed and they are placed on these sheets to rise.
Since we were making baguettes we formed slightly elongated loaves. After they spent about 30 minutes rising, we shaped them into long baguettes and then used a linen French cloth called a couche for the second rising.
The formed loaves are laid on the couche and then it's pulled up to form a little tunnel for the loaf to rise. These are never washed because the build up of flour keeps the dough from sticking. Each loaf is turned out of the couche onto the wooden paddle seam side up, then flipped over, seam side down onto the floured canvas on the loader.
Here's our loaves on the cool piece of equipment they use to load the ovens. This loader could be raised and lower to suit the oven.
The head baker, Kevin, is showing us how to score the top of the loaves.
The canvas covered shelf is pushed into the oven, the canvas continues to roll around the bottom of the loader and the loaves were deposited onto the stone shelves. The canvas rolled around the loader and continued until it was all backed out of the oven ready to load again.
Here's a look inside one of the nine oven doors. After the bread was loaded, the baker would push a button and steam would fill the oven.
The newest baker on their team is using a peel to remove six loaves at time from the oven and place them on the racks.
Look at the beautiful cuts on the top of the loaves. This was from the baker that had only worked there four days! The bottom loaf is cut so we could see the texture of sourdough compared to regular bread.
Corn meal is used to keep the dough from sticking to the sheets used for the rise of the free form loaves.
Flour was several inches deep.
I don't think this drain will be very useful if there is a need for it!
Thank you Provence for a fun evening, and thanks to the hostess of Seasonal Sundays