My daughter began making this bread at the same time. Here are her early notes.
When I removed the plastic wrap from my bowl, the smell was so intense and I was considering just throwing the whole thing out, but I didn't. I went ahead and made the dough. The smell calmed down after I mixed everything together. It was hard to deal with wet dough, but I did it anyway. It's hard to know exactly how "wet" to keep the dough. I think it may have been too wet. It looked nothing like the dough in the video. That guy was handling his "wet" dough easily. Mine was a sloppy mess, but I kept going. I dabbed the tip of the dough in flour like he shows us, but I don't think it really helps.
My dough would not rise much at all. It still tasted good though. My neighbor and Greg's co-worker loved it. The inside is holy and chewy and the crust is golden brown, crusty, and chewy. An amazing success. I went ahead and made acw baguette and epis. They are short and cute. So did we, but I still thought I could have done better.
Next time I will add a little extra flour. I don't think the dough needs to be so wet and unworkable. I'm going to go for a more "dry-wet".
I used the little packets of Red Star Yeast that I got from the class on Saturday and the smell was not ghastly as some other stuff I was using.
My pouliche looked completely different than my first. There were lots of bubbles, some small, some large, and I realized what the creases meant. Good job, Andrea! I made the dough with a little extra flour, but not too much. I still wanted it to be pretty wet and sticky. I went out and bought a wooden board at Wal-Mart and that made a huge difference in the kneading process. I also bought a package of shower caps. They came in a pack of 3 different colors for only $2.13. They fit great around the 6 qt. bowls I bought for only $1.44, and these bowls work great. Woohoo, what a find. The rise on this dough was amazing. I was happy. I'm not sure if I would change anything. The only doubt I have is if I'm kneading the dough for the correct amount of time. I'm getting holes in my bread, but not the holes I was expecting. Oh well, the bread still tastes great. I made myself a big bowl of hot chocolate, dipped a big chunk of bread in it and closed my eyes while eating it. I was back in my Grandparents house in France eating breakfast. What a great memory. I made another pouliche, 2 recipes in fact.
Bread is rising, hope it turns out.