The plan was to bake everything on Saturday evening to various stages of “baked” then finish it off in the studio prep kitchen moments before going live, easy. But I was already booked for a private bread making course in somebodies home on the Saturday, leaving at 1pm and likely getting home at around 8pm. Not ideal. Here’s how I made it work…
I decided on the recipes early on, four breads that were good for beginners: black olive fougasse, seeded sandwich loaf, “no-knead” focaccia and hot cross buns since it was nearly Easter. I had a small window on Saturday morning to make the dough and a small oven to bake one or two before leaving the house for the day. I made all four of my doughs that morning.
Fougasse only needs a single rest, there’s no need to prove them up them up again after shaping and before baking, I was making six, and could part-bake two at a time for 10 minutes each before cooling and wrapping ready to finish off at the studio. Sorted.
If one of the breads was to be fully baked it would be the sandwich loaf as the size and shape of it would allow it to hold the moisture the best of them all for the longest, so in theory the fully baked loaves would still be relatively fresh the following day. I baked them fully on the Saturday morning. Two down, two to go.
The other two doughs I stashed in the fridge to chill and tick over nice and slowly for later while I was out for the day.
Now, if I returned home from my private course at 8pm and removed the dough from the fridge it would have taken a good 90 minutes to come back to room temperature before I could shape, prove and bake them. Then we are talking shaping at 9:30pm, baking two batches at 11pm & 11:45pm, in bed by 12:30 at night to wake up again at 5am to get ready, pack up and leave to go live on TV. Again, not ideal.
I did some maths and my wife and I had a chat.
If she could remove the dough from the fridge at 6pm while I was out teaching, it would be ready to shape upon my return shaving two clear hours of my evening bake making bedtime a far more sensible 10:30pm and that’s exactly what we did.
The following morning, I woke with nothing to do but to get ready and double check my packing list. The car arrived at 6:20am to pick me up, I loaded my things and spent the next 45 minutes chatting to the driver and getting increasingly nervous.