The Fresh Loaf

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An interesting (to me anyway) baguette experiment

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BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

An interesting (to me anyway) baguette experiment

I have been having difficulty overproofing my baguettes, so today I tried an experiment. I shaped three similar, though not quite identical, baguettes then baked them one after another, 27 minutes apart. You can see the results here, with the last bake on the left and the first on the right.

The first baguette went in the oven at just at the point where it had nicely filled out in the couche (smoothing out the little wrinkles that occurred during shaping) and an indention made with a fingernail would fill in slowly. It has good oven spring but the slashes didn’t open as much as the next two. I worried about the second loaf because it had gone a little flat but it actually has the best oven spring and expanded slashes of the three. The third is still pretty good but it’s starting to sag just a little. So, my conclusion is that I’m going to start my oven at about that fingernail-test point from now on and when it is ready 20 minutes later, my dough will be ready too.

I did an accidental secondary experiment because the second baguette got less steam than the other two. I have a cast iron skillet with a few objects in it and I pour water in there just after I load the bread then quickly shut the oven door. If I do this right I will get clouds of steam leaking out through the oven door and the vents on top of the stove. That didn’t happen with the second baguette for whatever reason. It doesn’t have the same golden brown crust (I know it's hard to see this in the photo, but it's true) as the others though it’s still got the crunch and tiny blisters we crave.

A few details: My formula was 60 g of 60% starter made with bread flour; 500 g King Arthur APF; 360 g water; about 15 g salt. I autolyzed, did a few stretch and folds and allowed the dough to develop in a 60 degree room for about 5 hours then it went into a 39 degree refrigerator overnight. I preshaped right out of the refrigerator, rested and let it come to temperature for 75 minutes, shaped and proofed en couche for 75 minutes at 68 degrees. Starting oven temperature was 500 degrees; I turned it down to 480 degrees after loading the loaves. Bake time 27 minutes with a turn at 10 minutes; I don't remove the steaming apparatus because the water just evaporates away.

Comments

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Well that looks like an interesting experiment.  Sometimes that's what you need to do to get that reference point.  Sounds like you did not let your oven and cast iron pan get back up to temp before you loaded your second loaf.  None the less they all look good enough to eat.

Faith

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

... or almost. I bake baguettes on a Silpat atop a 1/2 sheet pan so as each loaf came out it was at 480 degrees. I turned up the heat back to 500, unloaded the done loaf and loaded and slashed and spritzed the new one then back in the oven. The cast iron skillet was in there the whole time. So it had dropped from 500 to 480 then come up again a little so I don't think the 20 degrees would have made a significant difference. Otis

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

I see what you're saying about that second loaf. What actually happened, I'm pretty sure, is that I did a poor job of pouring the water on top of the skillet and bits of iron, chain, towel etc in there so instead of steam I ended up with a puddle of water. That's why I was under-steamed on the second loaf, not a temperature isue.

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

If you did not get steam on the second loaf it can only be one of two reasons.  The cast iron pan did not get back up to temp or the water was not wet enough.  But I'm just guessing here.

How was the steam on the third loaf?

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Now I see what your saying on the second steaming.  The water was to wet.  :-)

Still it's interesting the difference in the three loaves with 27 minutes extended proofing times.  Very informative.

Faith

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

BMF, nice baguettes!  I am still a bit green with baguettes so inthink this one will be my next recipe i attempt.  Still much too afraid to try Txfarmer's 36 Hr baguettes.

thanks for the post.

John

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

This is a simpler formula that TXfarmer's which I haven't mastered either. The overnight proofing gives you a bit of a crutch since the dough is easy to preshape right out of the refrig... happy baking. Otis

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

sure look plenty good enough.  I don't bake on an overturned cookie sheet and it takes 45 minutes for the stones to get to temperture - instead of your 20 minutes.  I'm going to give yours a go.

Nice baking.

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

I've seen much purtier baguettes on these pages, but these had enjoyable crumb and crust and helped me get to the bottom of my proofing problem. As to the cookie sheet, yes it preheats facter and I don't overturn it...the Silpat fits nicely inside when it's right side up. Of course, the size of the sheet limits you to a baguette of just under 14" in length.

Otis