I just can't seem to remember that in the summertime, bread dough takes much less time to rise. I made two pre-ferments late last night and foolishly left them on the counter overnight. This is what they looked like early this morning. The one on top is supposed to be a biga. The poolish is in the larger bowl and the bottom was completely liquid: a veritable pool.
Luckily, bread WANTS to be bread and the dough made with the above biga and poolish produced these lovely loaves.
closer view of baguettes
I had heard that placing a "hat" over the loaf for the first part of the baking would really improve the oven spring. We don't have a large enough roasting pan for all three loaves but it is large enough to cover a small boule. I sprayed the inside of the roasting pan with water before placing it over the risen boule. The marks on top of the shaped bread were made with cookie cutters to etch stars on the top of the loaf. (Instead of a roasting pan, a casserole dish works as well. And according to Lionel Vatinet, a stainless steel bowl works as well as a roasting pan. )
Wow!! Why haven't I been doing this before?!
Compare the difference!! This is how the bread turns out when it is baked without any hat.
(Please see more photos from 2006 and 2007 of making these earlier loaves bread. There are several photos showing how to knead slack dough by hand. Also of interest may be the photos of how to "stretch and folding" slack dough.)
If you squint, and know where to look, you can just make out the stars.
We can't wait to break this bread!