The Fresh Loaf

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Baguette making: second attempt

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bruneski's picture
bruneski

Baguette making: second attempt

In my first ever two-bread day (!?!?!?!?), my second bake involved some tasteful Poolish Baguettes.

Note: the preparation of the two breads was done intercalating phases from the two processes.

Thanks to a tip from barryvabeach (the KAF`s video collection you indicated was incrediby enlightening technique-wise) and to a whole bunch of invaluable pieces of advice from dabrownman, the result was of an incomparably higher level of quality than the one achieved in my first attempt.

Curiously, this time around, the scoring was clearly of inferior quality, due to my experimenting with an improvised lame that seems to be very popular: a curved razor blade attached at the end of a wooden hashi. The much better scoring performed in my first baguettes was executed with a very sharp 3-inch-blade knife with a short handle. Next time, I`ll have to think about which instrument I`ll resort to for the scoring.

Following dabrownman`s suggestions, the final dough`s hydration was increased to 75% (from 67%), while the poolish`s hydration was decreased to 87.5%. Both worked extremely well, even though the higher hydration might be partially responsible for the poorer scoring this time around.

The additional flour in the final dough was autolysed at 65.6% hydration. Mixing the poolish with the autolysed flour was a bit of a problem since the latter was a rather firm dough, while the former was a very wet dough. A lot more handmixing than probably advisable was necessary to incorporate the poolish into the autolysed flour. Fortunately, it eventually came out right.

Incorporating the remaining 10 g of water with the salt dissolved in it was quite easy (using dabrownman`s suggested technique).

Slapping-and-folding (another dabrowman`s suggestion) was fun, easy and incredibly effective. 

[included on July 27, at 3 pm GMT] Bulk fermenting took 2 hours with one stretching-and-folding at the 1-hour mark. [included on July 27, at 3 pm GMT]

Preshaping (as cylinders, not rounds), dough relaxing and final shaping were done following Hamelman`s instructions from the videos indicated by barryvabeach. The 3 shaped baguettes were a little over 16 inches (40 cm) long and quite thin (immediately after shaping).

[edited on July 27, at 3 pm GMT] Proofing took a little over 90 minutes 2 hours with one stretching-and-folding at the 1-hour mark since room temperature was a cool 70 oF. [edited on July 27, at 3 pm GMT]

The steam machine (thanks again, dabrownman!) included a lot of small lava rocks (yes, I discovered I had a bunch of pebble-like ones in my garden!) in an aluminum tray and two pans containing rolled-up kitchen cloths covered with boiling water. These contraptions worked great!

I found it necessary to extend the baking time to 35 minutes (instead of the recommended 25) as the baguettes still seemed too pale. At the end, I added another 5 minutes in a steam-less oven.

It all worked wonderfully, with the exception of the little glitch mentioned above.

The baguettes were quite good looking, even though the scoring was of poor quality. The crumb looked quite nice, with a fair amount of small-ish holes. The crumb was also very light and tasty. The crust was good looking and great tasting! It was quite crisp but fairly thin!

Well, ... this is (almost) the whole story! Thanks again, barryvabeach and dabraownman!!!

Note: all pics were taken with artificial lighting (but no flash)!

 

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Very nice for a high hydration baguette on only your second try. I'm not sure of the formula/procedue is but I wonder a few things that may help.  What temp was your oven set and how long did you pre-heat?  With a baking stone?  I'm guessing based on the color the oven wasn't hot enough to get good spring which has a lot to do with how your cuts open.  You can see in one of the pics it looks like some of the cuts want to push open and bloom.

Looks like very nice shaping which is really the hardest part with wet baguettes.  I suggest a hotter oven and maybe even shortened proof and don't give up on the lame.  Nothing beats it.  I think with these two changes you might have some grigne, great color faster, and a more open crumb from a better spring.  

Really though quite nice.  Aint dabrownman a nice guy.  

Happy Baking

Josh

bruneski's picture
bruneski

The formula is from JMonkey's Poolish Baguette with tweaks in the overall hydration, upped from 67% to 75%, and the hydration of the poolish, decreased from 100% to 87,5%.

Unfortunately I don't have a stone or even quarry tiles. Might get some of the latter soon.

I tend to agree that my oven might not have been preheated to the right temperature, even though I tried to do it. However, the introduction of the lava rocks and the rolled up towels to generate steam might have gotten me slightly distracted.

Curiously, the extra oven time didn`t seem to negatively affect the final result.

Surprisingly, I had no problems following Hamelman's instructions for dividing, preshaping, relaxing and shaping the dough.

Are you suggesting I should decrease the 2-hour proofing period? I`d say the baguettes increased by at least 75% (in volume or diameter) during proofing and by 30% (in volume or diameter) while in the oven.

I won`t give up on the lame, despite my lame use of it! :-p

Have a great weekend!

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I highly suggest a baking stone. Most breads do better on a stone, but baguettes really need it.  They get amazing spring this way and would certainly decrease your bake time.  In fact 2 stones would be ideal.  One above and one below.  They are worth every penny.  And it looks like you have a handle on bread and will bake many a more loaf.  I proof my baguettes much shorter than 2 hours even sourdough.  So with a yeasted baguette I'd be in the oven after an hour or so.  Of course temp of dough and room will change this.  Yes the steam towels and rocks are fantastic steamers as I have recently found out.  now I'm trying to figure out how to block my ovens vents so it won't escape so easily.  

As for the poolish and autolyse not incorporating well.  What I've been doin of late is setting the hydration of my preferment to that of the final dough based on a post not too long ago.  What the post mentioned was if this isn't the case the preferment should be added to the autolyse, which I always thought was a no no. With the doughs I've done this I've found that the blending them together has been much easier.  Outside of that I've noticed no other differences.  But this could be important with regards to gluten development??? I can't be sure as I the dough won't talk to me when I talk to it.  

Anyway Hope to see more fantastic results

josh

bruneski's picture
bruneski

... I`ll look for a pair of baking stones in my neighborhood as soon as I can.

Actually, I also need to get myself, some day, a digital scale (capable of measuring at, say, 1 g intervals) and a food thermometer (with measuring range going as high as, say,  300 oC = 570 oF), even though the lack of these two things has not been a real hindrance.

The breads I baked so far were all (very carefully) measured by volume, using weight-volume equivalence constants for each ingredient.

I`ll certainly try the 1-hour proofing time in my next batch of baguettes. By the way, should them go straight into the preheated oven as soon as they are scored?

So you think it might be worth resorting to a 75%-hydration poolish/biga (160 g flour with 120 g water and a pinch of ADY). This way I`d autolyse the remaining 320 g flour with 230 g water giving it a hydration level of 72%. Sounds like an interesting proposition. This way I could still keep 10 g water for dissolving the salt.

Should the autolysis last 20-30 minutes as it did in these baguettes? The resulting gluten development was really pretty good!

Thanks for the help/incentive! Have a great day!

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

You're getting better and better all the time.  Great to see your progression.

Keep at it!

John

bruneski's picture
bruneski

... doing today, John? How is beautiful BC?

Thanks for the very important incentive! Learning to make breads has been one great, interesting, fun and, why not, very tasty ride so far!

As I said before, I`m a very avid and dedicated learner. I always try to analyse and understand as much as I can about all phases of the process before I actually start doing it. Should we say that I like to autolyse all the knowledge I acquire in order to obtain good ability development? :-p

Moreover, I accidentallly landed in learner`s heaven when I found this bunch of very nice, knowledgeable, helpful girls/guys here at TFL. Always 100% ready to help and teach with no strings attached. Couldn`t have asked for more, could I?

Curiously enough, baguettes are my very first incursion into the world of fully handmade breads, without any help from the bread machine! The Schwarzbrots and the Swedish Rye breads I bake are still fully made using the bread machine (but not using any of its presets anymore). The Tangzhong-based Fluffy Milk Breads are mixed and kneaded with the help of the bread machine, but baked in my conventional oven. Of course, in each of these three cases, I incorporated tweaks, changes and techniques (preferments, autolysis, tangzhong, etc) learned from people here at TFL.

Hope to keep the company and advice of all of you while riding this tasty wave!

Have a great weekend!

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Bruneski.

I started out almost exactly 1 year ago baking bread with a bread machine.  Not satisfied with my breads, I found this site and learned a valuable lesson - Amazing artisan breads are made by hand.  Believe me, if and when you decide to progress into hand mixing/kneading your breads, you will never go back to the bread machine.  I gave mine away and it was only 2 months old.  It is a great tool to start learning with, but to really understand and manipulate the dough, one should feel it and learn from it.  I remember I was so against the idea of ever hand kneading and mixing.  I think I even posted a message about it, so proud that my bread machine kept my hands so nice and clean from the mixing and kneading stage.  No effort!  Now, I am so against the idea of using a bread machine, even for simple items like pizza dough, or cinnamon bun dough.

Keep learning and getting better and you will progress to stages you never thought you could reach!  It's such a fun trip.

Happy baking.

John

bruneski's picture
bruneski

... following in your footsteps!!!

And, then, who knows, some day in the not so distant future, way after I retire my bread machine, I`ll even have my own sourdough starter going!!! :-)

Jokes apart though, after reading a recent post by Karin, I`ve been seriously considering the idea of using pâte fermentée (old dough) in the near future! What do you think?

Have a great day!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Bruneski,  First, great looking bread, how did it taste?    Jmonkey is an adaption from Hamelman,  his suggestion is a 2 hour bulk ferment ( with a stretch and fold midway ) and then an hour to 1 1/2 hour proof - though room temperature can have a large impact.  I think your results are fantastic for a second effort -  keep at it.  Barry.

bruneski's picture
bruneski

How are you doing today in Virginia Beach?

Thanks for the nice words! The baguettes tasted very, very good! They are all gone already!

Yes, I knew about the source of JMonkey`s recipe. I did exactly the 2-hour bulk ferment with a stretch-and-fold midway. I think I might have gone a litlle overboard with the proofing time though because room temperature was around 70 oF. I guess it lasted a little more than 90 minutes.

Have a great weekend!

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Well deserved praise on here for your efforts.  

I like the reformulated hydration set up.  Please tell me how it goes for you as far as blending.  If its still tough you just might want to forgo the idea, use 100% hydration poolish and add it to your autolyse.  

As for autolyse times.  Well I just did a read up on northwest sourdough and he shows some autolyse tests.  Hands down the largest lightest loaf of the three got a 2 hour autolyse which someone told him was the optimal time for the function of autolyse.  I've done longer but at the job I usually do anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on the bread and the current schedule.  I believe longer cold autolyse adds even more dimension in caramelizing.  In fact I'm starting to believe that the long bulk fermentation qualities could also be obtained in long cold autolyse if you didn't want  the fermentation to begin but the qualities that come from bulk retard.  Just a personal hypothesis.  

Sorry I rambled.   Anyway.  As for stones they are readily available and fairly cheap.  don't buy the circles.  These will also limit your size of baguette unless you find a large stone.  

As for digital scales for the home baker.  I stand by the MyWeigh KD-8000 which is at amazon with free shipping.  Usually around 35-40.  Scales in small increments and all the way up to 18 lbs.  We use these at the bakery as well.  

Again I look forward to more fantastic results, 

 

Happy Baking

Josh

 

bruneski's picture
bruneski

Hi again, Josh.

I'll try the new hydration setup next time I make baguettes. I'll keep you in the loop on this.

I'm really attracted to the aidea of a 2-hour autolysis. Will try this too!

Tips about the baking stones duly jotted down for future use!

I'll have to see what is available here in Rio, as far as scales and thermometers are concerned.

Thanks again for all the tips, ideas, encouraging remarks, etc!

Have a great day.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I thought for sure that you woudl go to 72% hydration first before going to 75% but your shaping, rise and spring, even without a stone, was impressinve.  Well done.  Josh has given you some great tips.  I too use 2 stones, top and bottom and one of them I got at Goodwill on dollar Thursdays :-)

There are two main reasons that could account for why your bread is pale.  Like josh says, your oven temperature may be too low and the preheat not long enough.  Both my mini oven and Big Old Betsy read at least 25 F higher than they really are.  The other thing is that the yeast could have depleted all the sugar in the dough and there wasn't enough to brown the bread properly,  Less of a ferment and proof could fix that as could some diastatic malt to get more protein bonds being broken with more enzymes that do it.

Two new things since you seem to be well on your way to baguette nirvana.   First one is slashing. - the biggest problem when it comes to baguettes in my book and I should know because i can't do it well at all on any bread.  A 16" long baguette should have no more than 4 slashes.  In the KA video they get 5-6 slashes in  24"baguette.  The key to getting them right is to look down on the top and visualize the length of the baguette being divided into thirds - left, center and right all of them about 1" wide in a 3" wide baguette,

What you want to do id keep all the slashed in the middle 1" so that each successive one overlaps the previous slash by 30% or so.  I made a little sketch for you.  Also the lame is tilted 30% from the horizontal.  That low angle when sliced deep enough, say not quite half and inch, will give you the ears you seek.  Yes, wet dough is harder to slash but it you let the surface dry somewhat before you slash the easier it will be.  I made a sketch for you.

Second, you might want to move on to txfarmer'e 36 hour baguette after your next bake if all goes well and use her technique for getting huge holes.  She is the master! 

You can thank Sylvia and David Snyder for the steam - that is where I learned them :-)

You are coming along very well and in not too long a time you will have some fine baggies coming out of the oven.

Well done!

bruneski's picture
bruneski

... it so happens that I've got some very nice tutors here at TFL and this makes progress a lot easier!

Diastatic malt, uh? Is this a powder or a grain? I found a store here in Rio selling dry malt extract (a powder obtained by enzimatic hydrolysis of malted barley). The same store also sells wheat malt, white wheat malt, Pilsen malt and smoked malt, but all these are grains! Would any of these be diastatic malt?

On the other hand, next time I`ll certainly reduce proofing time to at most 75 minutes.

Once more, I get very enlightening tips even without asking around here! Great explanation and illustration about scoring, dabrownman!!! Thanks!

Everything is very well understood! Now, I just need to learn to do it right. Due to the high hydration, I also have to remember to clamp down the sides of the bread with my fingers to make it easier to get the blade into the dough. And move the clamp along with the blade!

Yes, I already have txfarmer`s 36-hour baguettes on my radar! :-)

Thanks for your generosity! Have a great weekend!!!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

They should know if it was heated above 150 F and killed the enzymes and should be apowder.  The others might be diastatic too and great for making beer.  They should know if the grains were heated above 150 F.  I think Diaastyic malt made from barley is the best.  The slashes go down the length of the bread and not across it.  Fast a deliberate...... not slow or halting, 

Have a great weekend.

bruneski's picture
bruneski

... the people at the store if the dry malt extract was heated above 150 oF or not.

The important thing is to make sure the enzyme diastase is still in the malt, right? So, I want to buy malt extract that was NOT heated above 150 oF, correct?

How much should be used for the baguettes? FIY, the final dough weighs about 850 grams.

I got it: slashes down the length of the baguette, not across it.

Have a great Sunday, dabrownman!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I use it all the time to malt my home ground flours and cheap store bought AP.  Correct you want diastatic malt heated below 150 F.  Above 150 F and the enzymes you want will be dead.

Have a great Sunday.

bruneski's picture
bruneski

Have a great week!

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Yes please keep me in the loop.  An excellent guide to a baguette cut by dab. To make scoring baguettes a bit easier particularly with a wet dough I also suggest proofing on a lightly floured couche with the tops down and the seams up.  Gives you a flat surface to score and it also dries out the side you will cut a bit making the slash easier.

 Now I'll be finicky and this is by no means a rule but I did learn it somewhere, probably school.  Design like slashes or rows of cookies on a tray always look best in odd numbers.  So I'd say 3 or 5 slashes.  But hey I did the classic 2 cut on a batard and they look awesome.  I find better balance in scoring baguettes with odd slashes meaning one of those slashes should be right in the middle of the loaf making it easier to get good balance.  When teaching new folks scoring, which is a hard concept to understand without being very interested in how it works, or many failed attempts. I say all the time, it's all about balance.   The cutting on an angle for grigne seems easier to understand than balancing multiple cuts to attain an even bloom across a loaf.  Albeit you did not get much grigne you did end up with nice symettry.   At some point you can see how a cut will expand.  After that each bread is slightly different.  Same rules of thumb yet based on your formula and procedure it will open differently.  I'm learning how mid range ryes open in the oven.  More of my Rye experience is with lower % and/or very high percentage.  It's fun to see get in the middle of the loaf and run to the exits I create.  If that makes any sense that is what I'm thinking when I score bread.  

Finally i agree malt is a nice addition or even finding a nice malted bread flour to start with.  Again that scale I mentioned is on amazon.com and free shipping here in the states.  May not be the same for you.  Great scale and should last you forever in the home kitchen.  I think I am going to test my theory and attempt txfarmers recipe but instead of bulk fermentation in the retarder I will do a 24 hour autolyse in the retarder, finish mix at room temp, do some folds, shape and then retard overnight and bake cold.  We shall see. 

Happy Baking

Josh

bruneski's picture
bruneski

... and suggestions about bread scoring, Josh! I`ll keep them all in mind!

I still don`t exactly know what diastatic (low or otherwise) malt is. Is it powder-like?

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn`t ship that nice scale to Brasil!

Thanks a lot! Have a great day!

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Nice work. i see good achievement, Bruneski. Lovely... keep at it, and you'll turn out professional baguettes in no time.

-Khalid

bruneski's picture
bruneski

How are you today?

Thanks for your very kind assessment of my second try at baking simple baguettes! As I keep saying, with tutors like you people here at TFL, it`s so much easier and fun!

I`ll certainly "keep at it", always paying lots of attention to all tips, suggestions, advice I get from you all!

Have a great week! (since at this very moment, in Dubai, the weekend is almost over already!)