The Fresh Loaf

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Baguettes Take 10 and Update with Take 12

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varda's picture
varda

Baguettes Take 10 and Update with Take 12

Recently I decided it was time to try to learn to make baguettes.    My strategy has been to make baguettes every day, both to get practice and to try different approaches.    Since I am making them so frequently and often tucked in the middle of other bakes, I don't always have good records.  That hasn't been much of an issue, as these are practice baguettes and haven't been that terrific.    The other day, though, amidst baking other bread, I made the tastiest baguettes ever.    Unfortunately my records were incomplete, and I wasn't entirely sure what I had done.  

The ones pictured here are all white, 80% hydration, 20% prefermented flour, refrigerated in bulk for 20 hours.  

As part of this learning process I have been reading a lot on TFL from all (actually some, there are a lot) of the great baguette makers including Janedo's great post on the Bouabsa method, and David S's amplifications and Mark Sinclair's amplications on those amplifications, and of course txfarmer.    This makes learning so much easier.    Thank you all.  

Here are the difficulties I am having.   First and foremost shaping.    I know this is entirely a function of the high hydration I have chosen.    And yet, based on my experience so far, they seem to get tastier at higher hydrations (and perhaps prettier at lower.)    So I would like to make it work.   I have been proofing on parchment paper seam side down on a baking sheet, using the parchment as a couche for support.   This way I don't have to attempt to move them when time to load into the oven other than to flatten out the parchment.   Scoring is even worse than shaping.   My lame just gets lost in the soft dough.   I can't get a clean cut.   So suggestions extremely welcome. 

And now on to recreating that unrecorded baguette.  

Update:   I have tried a few more times and got quite different results.   A bit mystified but here is the latest:

Somewhat dramatic difference in shaping and slashing no?

So what changed:

Formula:  

Instead of 80% hydration, 75% hydration

Instead of 20% prefermented flour from starter, 25% prefermented flour from starter

Method:

Instead of 20 hour retard, 24 hour retard

Instead of 30 minute rest and 1 hour proof, 25 minute rest and 50 minute proof

Equipment:

Instead of baking on sheet on stone, proofed and baked on baguette tray.

Taste?  

I'll just say it is a tasty morsel, and a fine resting point for now.   No need to get obsessive after all.

Formula and Method:

Baguette    
         Final     Starter       Total         BP
     
KAAP18060240 
Water1404018075%
Salt4 41.7%
Starter100  25%
     
Total dough424   
     
Mix all 3 minutes speed 1  
Rest 1 hour    
Mix around30 sec speed 1  
Refrigerate at 10 am   
Remove at 11 am    
Cut and preshape   
Rest 25 minutes   
Shape (300g baguette, 100g roll)  
Proof 50 minutes   
Bake at 480 for 30 minutes  
Steam at beginning   

 

 

 

Comments

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

I am impressed!  I have yet to attempt baguettes and probably won't, no encouragement please :), due to my propensity to bake with only whole grains...Yes, I know txfarmer has done it successfully but she is in a totally different league than I am or ever hope to be!

So I have no suggestions based on experience for you other than to keep on keeping because it sure looks like you are getting closer to where you want to be.

How is the DLX working out for you?

Take Care,

Janet

varda's picture
varda

and I won't try to encourage you.   Some breads should never be made with whole grains.  (I have found that list is shrinking.   I made 100% whole wheat pain de mie again a few days ago.   Delicious!)  

I love the DLX.   It is an amazingly well designed machine (that Swedish engineering) and saves me a lot of work.   I have both it and the Bosch out on my counter, and I prefer the Bosch for smaller batches.   So anything north of a Kg goes to the DLX and less to the Bosch.    Best of both worlds.   

-Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

So glad to hear you are loving it.  I agree, best of both worlds *- }

Janet

grind's picture
grind

When I score a soft dough, I hold the area I want scored with my finger and thumb 1-1.5 inches apart and parallel to the edges of the loaf and then I run the razor underneath my digits.  Applying some outward pressure stabilizes the area and also provides some tautness or surface tension to the specific area that is being scored.  Sometimes moistened fingers give better traction.

Or, some breads are not meant to be scored, just eaten as is.

 

Edit for spelling

varda's picture
varda

Hi.   I will try that scoring method.   I really want to score the bread rather than not as I think that's right for baguettes.    Perhaps I'll drop back a bit on hydration, and it will all balance out.    Thanks a lot.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

been a fine crumby baker and this crumb proves it.  Now it is time to become a fine baguette master slasher too!  Good luck with that. Personally I'm not a big fan of light tasting, white breads so my inability to slash is not a problem in the least.  Now I use the Pierre Nury stretch,and plop down on parchment and bake with no slash..... like he did on his Rustic Light Rye.  I think it makes for a better looking loaf when it just splits were ever it wants.  I'm for loaf splitting freedom for all loaves everywhere  :-)  I will never be able to get the picture of the PN Rustic Light Rye that zola blue posted on her bake of that bread,  Just beautiful.

Be a happy bag slasher Varda.and all will be well - may the force be with you. 

Here is ZN's pictures - crumb first

It's more like a ciabatta I guess but, yours might be too if you have a very high hydration.  I think these would be great seller adn no slashing to get in the way!

varda's picture
varda

won't necessarily work for me.    Those are her/his pictures right?   He/she is a vanished bread genius.  I have been baking the gamut (not the kamut) from 100% whole grain to 100% white, and I like the variety.    I like naturally scored breads too, but I'm thinking not for baguettes.   Thanks for your help.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

that for wet baggies that you need to let the skin air dry slightly in order to score them properly.  Pat would know.

varda's picture
varda

Yes I have read that too.  Thanks for reminding me.  And please never ever call these breads baggies.  Ick.  Just sayin.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

When you buy them in France, and elsewhere, they put them in the cutest long slender bags.

I call them baggie bags :-)

varda's picture
varda

Of guys with knobby knees in baggy shorts or perhaps a used plastic sandwich bag that I stuffed back into a drawer absent mindedly or... Rather than the refinement of centuries worth of bread baking.  But of course reactions will vary.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

It is like Toady Tom's, Toasted, Tasty Tidbits that is shortened to Toadies for simplicity, easier; typing and spelling.  But, now I have images of the green stuff with little red hairs on it .....sold in convenient sandwich bags :-)  My apprentice once put hemp seeds in baguettes and titled the post 'Hemp Bags' which I thought was a little over the top.

varda's picture
varda

Little red hairs?    I'm lost.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

is great.  You even got dark on the points. Well done.  This one is a keeper.  Now I have to get a baguette tray.

I was lost too when i got the red hairs on the green stuff from Thailand but that was 30 years ago  I hear BC is the place to go and may be why TFL is located there now :-) Just kidding Floyd.... 

varda's picture
varda

Thanks DA.   Still perplexed but that's ok.   -Varda

grind's picture
grind

I just had a thought 'cause of what dabrownman said -

What if you score it with the seam side up and then run the blade along the fissure, just to nudge it along.

varda's picture
varda

Will try your first suggestion first and see how it goes.  Then the long squiggly score.  Thanks.  -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

Hi Varda...looks like you have the crust and crumb down pretty close to perfect.  It can be challenging to score wet doughs like this.  I usually make sure my blade is new which helps and swipe fast.  Like anything in baking practice usually pays off.

I made TxFarmers recipe several times until I finally got it down and it was worth every mouthful.

Ian

varda's picture
varda

New blade. Check!   Lately I have found it easier to learn if I do a lot of reading and then try thi ngs on my own rather than trying to follow a particular approach.  Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

that's the fun part of making baguettes or even puff pastry...or any challenging bakes.  Don't be to hard on yourself and enjoy the process of learning each time you bake up a batch.  It's more than likely going to be tastier than anything you can buy.  That's my 2 cents : )  

Nicely done baguettes, Varda!  The crumb looks very delicious.

Sylvia 

varda's picture
varda

I'll keep on keeping on.  -Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

I'll list some things for you to think about when you are making baguettes.

If you are proofing them on a linen couche, you might want to try seam side up.  Yes, Mark does seam down.  But seam down will allow the couche to slightly dry the part of the baguette you will be scoring. 

You need to get a "flipping board" or transfer peel.  These are easily fabricated at home from thin slats of wood or sturdy cardboard.  David has a video of how to use a transfer peel.  While I find his style a bit dramatic - he has the essentials right.  This is an area where improvisation is actually harder than getting the right tools and doing the thing the right way.

You know whose shaping method I use.  I find the key is to put a small amount of flour on the bench and then if stickage occurs - flour your hands and not the bench.  Just rub your hands in the flour on the bench.  Another thing that you might not have seen is to put a line off lour above where you are doing your shaping.  As you turn the baguette to shape it - if it feels sticky, you can push it a bit into the flour. In that way, the flour is not interfering with your shaping, but it is there if you need it.

Scoring is everyone's bete noir.  All I can say is "Mental mise en place."  Visualize where the scores will be.  I do like to support the sides of the loaf, but sometimes get chided for it.   Pah! S/he can't implement suply chain planning systems and I can't score a baguette without supporting the sides - we all have our limits.  Score fast and sure - don't dawdle.

You might want to bake a little bolder. It's never baked enough....never enough.. never enough...:>)

That's enough to think about.

And how did that challah turn out?  I might have missed it.

Pat

 

varda's picture
varda

Hi Pat, 

I just updated the post with another shot at it.   As you can see (if you read the update) I took another page from Mark and am using a baguette tray.   Cheating?   I don't care.   It is really nice.   Back a few years ago when I first started down this crazy road, I read all the same posts, and decided to turn my nose up at baguette trays.   Now, I feel differently.  

As for shaping,  I have decided that I will never use the "you know who" shaping method for anything.   Awful.   Terrible.   Impossible.   Instead I preshape into blunt log, rest, and then shape by folding in half once longwise and rolling.    Simple.   Works.   Instead of pain and damnation.   Ok.   Just my opinion.   No need to get histrionic about it.   Flour my hands not the bench.   Nice tip.   Thank you.  

I think you've seen my last instance of challah making.   Less than perfect (a word that I think should be excised from the English language) but better than terrible.   More progress on that front later.  

Thanks so much for weighing in.    Do you have a link to your bearguettes?   I can never seem to find it. 

-Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

Be it the weight of my devotion or just the fact that our hands are the same size - the particular method that I use has been the only one that I feel good about.  For me. I think there is a lot to individual differences and respecting them. Of course, I get ragged on for not having the seam in the right place when I roll out the baguette.  Never good enough...

Under Mark's direction - I used his method - because he was the head baker.  It was ok, but never gave the structure of my preferred method.

Nothing wrong with a baguette tray - but depending on your oven (and that's a big depending) you should get even better reults if you baked on a stone with good steam. I consider putting parchment on the stone to be a big cheat, but I got tired of sweeping semolina out of every corner of my oven.  So now I cheat.

I've noodled so much on the bearguette formula that I don't think it's worth the link,  Basically I am making two pre ferments - 2/3 of the pre fermented flour in a poolish - 1/3 in a liquid levain.  There' a baker's math exercize for you. And thank-you Mike Zakowski (which is said as in Monsters Inc. - Mike Wazowski)

Your last attempt looks great.  Baguettes - a minute to learn - a lifetime to master.

FYI - I depart my crumbled abode on Thursday and am quite excited.  Once again, the measure of my devotion - leaving home when no one is paying me to leave home  - and during canning season, too...

Pat

 

varda's picture
varda

Pat,  I could do that math.   Algebra from 8th grade.   I remember it.   Did Mike Z show this to you, or did he write it up somewhere?   The approach sounds intriguing.   Right now I'm in love with starter.   I want starter in everything.   Can hardly get myself to do a poolish where called for.   I'll get over it and then I'll try a bearguette.   As for the tray, I place the baguette tray on the preheated stone and then add steam.    After 20 minutes, remove the baguette from tray and place directly on stone for the rest of the bake.   Nice crisp thin crust.   I like it.   Not very pretty bumps on the bottom.  Don't like that so much but at least they are on the bottom.   Yes - stupid.   Water bread salt and so damn hard.   Might as well be paste.   Makes no sense.   Have a great time on your trip.   Sure it will be worth it.  -Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

go on and on about the history and lore of the baguette - but I won't.  The magic and transformative power of fermentation.

Yeah - I hate the little bumps on the bottom when I use a baguette tray - which i why I stopped using them.

Learned the trick of mixing the two pre ferments at the last IBIE - after I tasted his outstanding breads.  My levain is somewhat on the mild side anyway, but what you get with a mix like that is a true commercially yeasted baguette taste with a mysterious depth of flavor.  I used to do strictly "sourdough" but when I started with this mixture people started to get serious about fighting for my bread.

As for the flour trick - tried and true - or I don't recommend... :>)

Counting down...

Pat

varda's picture
varda

Another thing that you might not have seen is to put a line off lour above where you are doing your shaping.  As you turn the baguette to shape it - if it feels sticky, you can push it a bit into the flour. In that way, the flour is not interfering with your shaping, but it is there if you need it.

Pat,  I tried this today.   Very nice.   Thanks.  -Varda

 

wally's picture
wally

Hi Varda,

Nice to see your progress at that most difficult of breads to execute. Baguette #12 looks quite nice.

I shape and bake off 200 -250 per day. Here's a couple thoughts:

1- It's a lot easier getting good grignes in a real deck oven than at home

2- Try going with 68% hydration.  The open crumb isn't so much a function of hydration as it is of mixing time and skill at shaping.  If you go much beyond 72% hydration you are into the realm of pain a l'ancienne.

3- Make sure you have a good source of constant steam for the first 8 minutes of the bake

4-Find a degree of firmness in rolling them out that leaves them with structure without overly working them (this is a hard one and just comes with practice)

5- And scoring, which just comes with repetition

So stay with it!  It's the bread which brings most joy to me, even as there are many breads I enjoy eating more.

Good baking,

Larry

varda's picture
varda

Take 35000 for you.   I guess you've got the hang of it :-)    I will try a bit lower hydration and see how well I can do with it.    Thanks so much for the pointers.   I will hang them on the wall (metaphorically I guess) while I'm shaping and slashing away.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

KA website has the hydration at 67% for baguettes or so.  I was always  thinking Hamelman was way to good enough to do 75%.  Now Wally explains it ao it makes sense,

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Look who's taking French lessons...,

Nice looking baugettes - even better is that they taste great. You're almost at the 33% preferment - which is what I've settled on as standard for straight, red winter wheat sourdough builds.

I, too, have lapses in technique - it sems that once it begins it snowballs through the rest of the build ending in recriminatory thought processes whilst staring through the oven window at a less than spectacular end result of a lot of effort...., I call it my "post bake self critique"...,

Wild-Yeast 

varda's picture
varda

But I find myself pretty brassed off at those French bakers who sicced this devil baguette on us.   What was their problem anyhow?  

Thanks so much for your encouragement. 

-Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Good results, you are improving Varda!

Bageuttes are wild creatures at best, I'am glad that you are slowly taming them.

-Khalid

varda's picture
varda

As long as they don't turn around and eat me, then I guess everything is ok.   Thank you Khalid.  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

given you have Larry and Pat on here encouraging you, it's hardly for me to further encourage you with more practice.   Not a bread I make very often; oven, personal taste, market I operate in etc etc.   But it is all about just doing it lots and lots; you know that.

One day, I'll get the chance to indulge this myself; one day!

Well, just want to note your scoring is great on Take 12.

All good wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Thank you for checking in.   I think someone else must have scored that #12 as my slashes today looked more like scars than anything else.   Now over to your post to comment on your adventures.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

I just saw your latest bake.  Beauties : - )  

I had to laugh when you questioned the results and listed what you had done differently.....Laugh because of changing only ONE thing you changed just about everything.  So much for the 'scientific method'.  Have fun figuring it out.  My only other comment is I laughed because I do the same thing knowing FULL well I SHOULD only change one factor at a time......I seem to thrive in confusion.  Either that or it gives me an excuse to bake more.  * ^ }

Take Care,

Janet

varda's picture
varda

Oh Janet, 

I gave up any pretensions to science in bread baking long ago.   I just hack around, and then hack around some more, and one day I find I can make something that I wasn't able to make before.  

I don't even think I SHOULD only change one factor at a time.   Much too linear.   Gives me the shakes just to think of it.   Bah!

Happy bread baking

-Varda 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

*^ }