Finally a glimpse of spring today! I could still use a bit more warmth in my kitchen for ideal bread making, but it gives me a chance to continue my quest to make my baguettes even better for the opening of the market season here in Starkville. This week I experimented with a pre-ferment called a poolish. A polish is simply equal parts flour and water along with a small amount of baker's yeast. This results in a very wet mixture which is allowed to ferment overnight. Here we can see the poolish on day two. The smell is wonderful. This will be added to our final dough supplying the complex flavor that can only be developed with a long slow fermentation. After fermenting for several hours, the final dough is ready for dividing and shaping. The trick is to not overwork the dough and force out all of the gas that the yeast have worked so hard to build up! The shaped baguettes are placed on a piece of French linen called a couche where they will proof for a couple of hours. The couche pulls just a bit of the moisture from the skin of the baguette allowing us to score the surface and the formation of a nice crust in the oven. The final product came out of the oven with a nice golden color and crispy crust. The flavor was well worth the effort. Of course, you should be the judge of that, and I hope to see you at the Starkville Community Market where you can let me know what you think!