The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

baguette: I love you, I hate you

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benjamin's picture
benjamin

baguette: I love you, I hate you

I'll confess, I am a 'glory poster', as such, I only post bread on my blog when I am reasonably satisfied with the result. That being said, last week I made a batch of baguettes using Hammelmans poolish recipe, suffice it to say, the final bread looked so amateurish that you would think I had never touched flour and yeast before. Sadly, this is an all to common event when I make baguettes. It is the only type of bread in my common repertoire that I can't get some level of consistency with. With no false modesty, I can routinely produce a pretty darn good looking sourdough batard, or nicely scored boule. Yet the baguette for me is an ever elusive quest for perfection.
Dismayed by my results last week, and ever a glutton for punishment, I tried the Hammelman baguettes again last night. The results were a million miles away from last week! No blow outs, nice opening of the cuts, retention of a uniform diameter the length of the loaf... I don't get it! I swear I did everything the same.
Anyway, that's my story for today, I just wanted to savor this moment, because I probably have a month of blow outs and non-opening ears before I see a decent baguette again.


Happy Baking


Ben


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Comments

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Those are nice. Your experience makes me want to give it a try. What kind of flour did you use(brand/type/protein%)?


Thanks.

benjamin's picture
benjamin

I used KAF Bread flour for these, which I believe has a protein content of around 12.7%. If you need any more information just let me know. I look forward to hearing your insights. 


ben

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Some days everything goes well and you just have to smile. Nice epi!


Eric

benjamin's picture
benjamin

It truly is wonderful when things work out. Its those moments that make all the trial and error worth while. I meant to post a while ago that I had made a rye bread on your recommendation. Unfortunately it proved so popular that it had gone before I could photograph it for a post. If I remember correctly, you have been working more with 100% rye bread... I decided to ease my way in to the rye scene by starting with a slightly lower percentage of rye. I made the rye sourdough recipe from Suas textbook, which I think was around 70% rye. I am a convert, I loved it. We had it for dinner with smoked salmon, it was incredible... 100% rye, here i come.


ben

ananda's picture
ananda

Every good reason to post on these and be really happy about it Ben.


The cuts on the baguettes are sublime.


I've just finished the Gosselin formula and will post on that soon.   Everything worked great, but the cutting is poor compared to your expertise


Best wishes


Andy

benjamin's picture
benjamin

Thank you for the kind comments Andy. I look forward to hearing about your exploits with the Gosselin formula.


ben

wally's picture
wally

Beautiful baguettes and epis!


Larry

benjamin's picture
benjamin

thanks larry.


ben

bnom's picture
bnom

bread baking is a thrill ride that few non-bakers understand...and the baquette is the biggest roller coaster of them all.  Congrats!

benjamin's picture
benjamin

Very well put... I might steal that one :)


ben

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Isn't it funny how some days it just "clicks?" And you often can't figure out how it was that it all came together. The good news is that, although you are still going to have ups and downs, with experience comes consistency, as long as you maintain your skills by regularly exercising them.


To me, it's more like playing a musical instrument than anything else.


David

benjamin's picture
benjamin

you are right... as I continue to bake, my worse days get 'less worse' as time goes on... still frustrating though. It's strange how a bad bake makes you want to get right back in the kitchen and start all over again.


ben

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

and the epis are shaped beautifully...which is not easy to do!


Sylvia

benjamin's picture
benjamin

thank you for the kind comment sylvia. 


ben

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Wonderful baguette and epi! As david said, you just have to excercise baguettes.