The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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portermariena's picture

I made my first baguettes this weekend. It was pretty fun! Especially since I got to use my new couche and peel for the first time. Thanks to all who gave me advice on my questions about getting enough steam - the cloth method worked great!

I feel like there wasn't as many air pockets as I thought there would be in the crumb.. So maybe they were slightly under proofed? 

The texture of the crumb reminded me of a combination of the tartine country loaf and a basic white bread recipe.. But leaning more towards the white bread. It was still tasty, 2.5 out of the 4 loaves are already gone (since everyone woke up this morning), which was pretty shocking, but it wasn't exactly what I expected. Overall, I think it wasn't bad for a first attempt. 


On a different note - This is now my third time attempting to make a jalepeno bread and the loaves are just not doing what I want / need from them. 

The first two attempts I used home made pickled jalepenos (I didn't bother to take pictures of the loaves). To make them, I looked up the olive bread recipe from the tartine bread book and figured if I substituted some jalepenos  and lemon zest (I like the tanginess) and omitted the olives, I'd get similar results. No such luck. The dough ended up being VERY runny, I cheated and tried incorporating a tiny more flour during the initial shaping to get them into some kind of shape. They both ended up like pancakes and the inside had a few air pockets, but they were VERY dense and gummy. Good flavor, but definitely not what I was looking for. I did the poke test and they definitely were not over proofed the second time. The first time I think they might have been. Then I did a little research, we put fresh garlic in our jalepenos. After reading up on it, I hear fresh garlic and yeast do not get along very well. 

So this time, I bought some pickled jalepenos- they had no garlic. The actual dough this time looked and worked a LOT like the basic country bread in the shaping stages. I gave them a final proof in the refrigerator over night (mainly because by the time I finished shaping it was 230 am) By 1130/noon I tried baking one loaf. The texture of the crumb was slightly improved from the previous two attempts but it's still not what it should be. When that one came out looking a little sad, I tried again at around 3/330 in the afternoon with the second loaf. There was no improvement.

Here's a couple pics of this round of jalepeno loaves



So my questions:

Was it the garlic that ruined the first two loaves? Our jalepenos had only been pickled for a couple days before I used them. (We put fresh garlic, jalepenos, water, vinegar, sugar and salt)

This rounds loaves, Do you think they were just under proofed? I know they weren't under baked because they were in the oven at 475 for 45-50 minutes (this includes 20 minutes of steaming). And when I knocked on the bottom, sounded hollow.

They were really heavy when they came out of the oven all three times too, so I knew besides the size and lack of oven spring.. That something wasn't right.

Do you think it's the pickling part of the jalepenos that's ruining the bread? Do you think I would get better results with fresh jalepenos? 


Anyways, I can't be too disappointed with this because for me, it really is a learning experience. I am completely doing this to improve my knowledge and treat my passion for baking. As always, any thoughts or advice would be very helpful and appreciated :-]


portermariena's picture

The first loaf did get a pretty good oven spring but I wonder if the scoring wasn't deep enough? Because, I feel like it could have been better. The second one, the one with the three scores, I think looks a little prettier. Anyways, I'm proud of myself! My starter is about 2.5 - 3 weeks old, I got the recipe off TFL, and it worked like a charm!

I used a combo cooker similar to the one mentioned in Tartine Breads, suggested by the author and by one of the regulars here on TFL. I followed the recipe to a "T". 

Here's a top view of the first loaf, It turned out pretty, but I still think it could have been better. Probably needed to be baked for about 4 or 5 minutes longer too, but I got kinda excited.

With some encouragement from my 6 month pregnant sister in law, I cut into the bread when it wasn't quite cooled down. Heres a length wise crumb shot. Like I said, I think not bad for a first try :-]  

Here it is from the other side.

Now here is my second loaf, haven't cut in to this one yet, hoping the insides look pretty similar - if not better!

And here is a side view


I have learned so much since stumbling upon this site about a month ago. I read the forum posts almost daily because I am so fascinated with all the information provided. I'm hoping sometime I'll get comfortable enough to do breads at work.. So keep the information and advice coming! I'll stick with desserts on a large scale until I feel my knowledge is great enough to talk to the head chef about getting some homemade breads on the menu. Happy Baking everyone :-]

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