The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The great baguette quest N°2 - Acme's rustic

  • Pin It
Janedo's picture
Janedo

The great baguette quest N°2 - Acme's rustic

Well, I haven't been around much lately, just too busy! But yesterday I decided to read the directions VERY carefully and try the Acme rustic baguettes once again. Howard's looked so great, I figured I should try again respecting every single step because I didn't last time.

The difficulties I found were the flour and the weather. It's HOT, around 30°C and over 25°C in the kitchen. Things went fast and I'm not used to this extra heat with this type of bread. I think I got them in the oven at almost the right moment. I got some oven spring this time... though probably not enough. The initial rise was a bit too much, I think. 

Now, the other problem is the flour. The crumb was similar to the last baguettes I made which makes me think there is a gluten problem happening. During fermentation the dough gets very bubbly, but the bubbles end up baking quite uniformly compared to a very holey, open crumb. The dough was sticky and remained very soft and sticky. I even added flour even though Glezer said NOT too. I HAD to! I think the American recipes use a higher gluten flour (that's what Glezer said in her book) and the French flours don't react the way they should for these recipes. Now, I may be TOTALLY wrong and would like some input. I bought some gluten and thought maybe I should try to add some the next time. Is this a good idea and how much?

Other than that, they TASTE great and they are very light and airy even though the hole structure isn't picture perfect.

I'll try the ones posted in my last blog entry next following ALL the indications given. But before I do that, I'll wait to get some gluten answers.

Jane 

Acme's rustic baguette crustAcme's rustic baguette crust

Acme's rustic baguette crumbAcme's rustic baguette crumb

Comments

Richelle's picture
Richelle

Hola Jane,

España Campeon!!! So, that´s out of the way :-). I haven´t been around much lately either, due to masses of cookies, pastries and bread that had to be baked for the sale of yesterday evening, and the football matches that we went to see in a local bar... all very time consuming but the rewards were there!!

I think your baguettes look lovely but I agree that they could use just a bit more oomph in the oven... I haven´t experimented much with added gluten, only just bought a bag. I think I would begin by adding just a teaspoon to the flour you use. And maybe you could replace a part of the flour by semolina... if I remember correctly, that is supposed to have a higher protein level as well.... but that would alter the consistency of the baguettes maybe a bit more than you would like.

Temperatures in the thirties over here as well, and the kitchentemp around 26 which feels cool during the day... baking for 3 entire days hasn´t helped much either and for the bread baking it wasn´t too bad, it speeded up the proofing which was fine, as I had the oven ready all the time, but for making cookies with a cookie press... a different matter:-)

The good news is that my KA icemaker arrived and the first batch (strawberry cream/yoghurt) is already made... tomorrow I´ll make the B&J recipe you posted!

 

proth5's picture
proth5

Since many US bakers go to great lengths to get the very flour that you can buy everywhere, I don't think that adding gluten will enhance the crumb.

You might wish to consider slashing the bread differently.  One thing that I have found important is to make sure that the cuts overlap by about 1/3 of their length.  In essence you would be slashing the bread along its length to have the slashes look diagonal once they have opened properly.

This might allow your dough to expand more freely.  You can see this on the baguette at the top of the picture where the slashes overlap better than the others.

I think sometimes we make too much of the big holey crumb.

They do look lovely and if they taste great who cares?

Happy Baking!

Eli's picture
Eli

Jane,

I use a Hi Gluten flour (Kyrol) and I think it does make a difference. If I don't have the Kyrol I will add .5 teaspoon for every 150 grams of flour. Works out about half a teaspoon per cup. Let me know how you do?

Also, those look great and I haven't had dinner at this hour (6PM) slathered with butter!

Eli

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jane.

I agree with Pat about the gluten. After all, the best "traditional" Parisian baguettes us T55. I think it's all technique - mixing, fermentation, forming, slashing and baking.

The crumb looks just like the best baguettes I've been able to make to date. And, if they are delicious, that's the bottom line.

I have a couple baguettes made with my pain de campagne dough about to come out of the oven. They have the best bloom I've ever achieved with baguettes. I need to go out for a couple hours, but I'll post photos by time you get up tomorrow morning.

One thing I will say now is that Pat's cryptic "mental mis en place" is definitely one essential element in success, especially for slashing baguettes.


David

proth5's picture
proth5

From someone more talented than I.  But, strange as it sounds, it helps.

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Thanks for the responses everyone.

Richelle, I admit I didn't even watch any of the football. But congratulations!!!! Now you can get back to baking bread and making ice cream. I did some blueberry which was very yummy! And peach is incredible. Let me know.

Pat and David, OK, I here you. The thing that was strange was that the dough was SOOOOO wet the slashing was very difficult. So, should I ignore the recipe and add MORE flour even though it says not to? 

I will try to add some gluten anyway, for curiosity sake because Glezer made such a big deal about it. 

No, open crumb is not really necessary. The crumb is very "airy", just not with big holes. My husband says, But why would you want big holes anyway??? The jam will run! But it the QUEST!!! I have to get the perfect and then I can rest.

I'll go look at David's baguettes now. 

Jane 

proth5's picture
proth5

I work at 65% hydration which is nowhere near what more "macho" bakers will do, yet I am feeling that the hydration works for me and my dough.

Since I don't have your formula, I don't know your hydration level and that may account for something.

After shaping, the baguettes should have "a light sheen" of flour - which might also help.

Happy Baking!

holds99's picture
holds99

Jane,

They look very good, nice interior.  Don't know much about T55 flour but I've heard that's what they use in France for baguettes.  Anyway, I used King Arthur French Style flour for mine.  Here's the specs for the French style flour (for what they're worth) straight out of the K.A, Baker's Companion.  "French style flour, an 11.5 percent higher ash (.70) flour milled from hard white winter wheat.  (Ash is a miller's measurement used to determine how much and what part of the wheat berry's endosperm was used to mill the flour.  The higher the ash, the greater---and farther out from the center of the berry---the endosperm used.)"  Don't shoot the messenger, I didn't write this description or make it up, King Arthur did :-)  Anyway, I looked at the label on the French style flour bag and the label says "hard wheat flour and malted barley flour".  This French style flour seems finer than bread or all purpose flours, almost but not quite as fine as cake flour.  Anyway, it worked pretty well for me.  But as to how it compares to T55 I don't know.  Stay with the baguette challenge and keep at it until you get what you want.  That's what I plan on doing.

P.S. So, now you know as much as I do about K.A. French style flour.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Telephone consultation with the folks at KA Flour indicates that their "French Style Flour" is meant to be a T55 clone. Their European Artisan Flour is supposed to be a T65 clone. In the section of their web site for commercial bakeries, they list a "T65" flour. How it differs from the European Artisan Flour, I cannot recall at the moment.


David

holds99's picture
holds99

David,

Glad to finally know that the K.A. French style flour is "T55 Almost".   

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Thanks for taking the trouble! Howard, when you write ash at ,70, well, T55 means ash ,55, so that makes it even more than the T65 which is what I use in place of any bread flour called for in an american recipe. I only bought the T55 for the baguettes. I don't like using pure white flour in bread because in my mind it defeats the purpose of eating really healthy. Most people like a white-type bread, so with T65 you get white with some extra good stuff.

So, it all comes down to technique! I'll go at it again very soon. It's nice to know I have some companions and advisors. Makes it more fun!

Jane 

holds99's picture
holds99

Jane and David

I never knew that the "55" designation in T55 referred to ash content.  I agree with you re: white flour not being as healthy as other flour.  However, this baguette challenge surpasses all health issues.  It must be met :-)  Seriously, thanks to both you and David for a bit of education today.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

*Sigh* It should be so simple! To make it yet harder to compare our flours, the way ash content is calculated here is different from how it is calculated in Europe.

As I recall, the difference is related to the specified water content (in percent) of the grain when the combustion is done. I think the American ash content numbers end up higher, but if some one else remembers otherwise, chime in.


David

charbono's picture
charbono

American flour is based on 14% water; French flour is based on zero water.  Therefore American ash numbers are lower than the French equivalent.  For a lot more info, see The Flour Treatise here:  http://home.earthlink.net/~ggda/Flour_Suite_Frameset.htm

cb

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but would like to know if there are any egg whites in it.  If not, try adding one as part of the water before main mixing.  About one medium egg white for 500g flour.  Also try slashing deeper almost 2/3 through the dough and see what happens.  

Mini O

Janedo's picture
Janedo

David, nothing is simple, is it? But if it was it would be boooooring!

Howard, you're absolutely right! No health issues for the quest! But right now I'm eating little white, whole wheat oatmeal pain au lait that I mixed up for my son's bag lunch (he's going on a field trip) and they are healthy and actually better tasting than a baguette. So, gees, it's not even for the taste! It's for the IDEA! And the esthetic.

CB, I'll go look at the link when I get home. Out all day. Thanks for the info.

Mini, so would the egg white do the same thing as adding gluten? I assume it's for bond strengthening, no? I'll definitely try.

Jane 

proth5's picture
proth5

Far be it from me to contradict anyone's advice.  Egg white may well be a terrific addition to your dough.

But if you are questing for a baguette (as opposed to making a nice bread), you must forego it.  Wheat flour, salt, water, leaven (and technique, technique, technique)- that's all you can use. (It is why I am fascinated with bread.  Anyone can add enough sugar and chocolate to make a good cake, but to make a good bread...)

When I first started baking (when dinosaurs still roamed the earth) there was a bread called Sunbeam.  It was "batter whipped."  What this meant was that the dough was worked so hard at such a high speed and the texture so even in the bread that you could literally tear it in half and there would be an absolutely straight edge. (Really, they made a point of this in their advertising as though it was a measure of good bread!)

Not the sort of thing we want to find today.  But I think about that bread a lot when I make baguettes. (If we want the opposite from it, we should do?)

Happy baking!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Yes, the egg white does a little bonding and adds protein. Does work similar to gluten. If it has the miraculous ability to make bread tear strait, also when only by word association, that's beyond my knowledge. It is neutral in flavour.

Mini O

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I thought I read this post this morning about your dough going crazy, too much starter, etc. Where did it go???

 

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Both crust and crumb look wonderful.

How do you get such lovely uniform crust? I'm really curious to know what method you used for steaming. 

--FP 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Jane,
I've been with you in this thread wondering if you have access to the Calvel video produced by the SFBI? It is a 3 disc DVD  or tape that shows the Professor making and handling dough for several formula's. It is very interesting to say the least. The smooth and extensible dough he arrives at and his methods of handling are inspired. Perhaps you can find the video in a local library. They were expensive here and I think still available at the SFBI in pieces or modules. This is worth watching almost at any cost. What we all agree on is that it is technique that matters. Calvel is the origional source for what we desire.

Eric

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I'll go on the lookout for that. I looked for his book but at Amazon they're all out (French version... much cheaper as David had said). So, I bought Bread and Calvel will come one day. I've never actually seen anyone work baguette dough, or form baguettes. I'm sure some hands on, in person guidance would make a lot of difference. I can follow advice but when I'm there in front of the dough, it just isn't the same!

My oven is pretty small (european) and doesn't let the steam out (can't find the word). I also use convection which I tested the other day by not putting on and it really makes a HUGE difference!

Jane 

johnster's picture
johnster

Jane, I've watched these over, and over, and over.  My baguettes are still far from perfect, but the videos have DEFINITELY helped.

 http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/free/baguette.html#

Oh, and I have to agree with the comment about "no eggs".  By law, a baguette can contain only water, flour, salt, and yeast.  The addition of eggs may make a great bread, but it is not a baguette.

  

 John 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The CIA (That's "Culinary Institute of America," not the spook outfit) has Calvel instructional videos. They are segmented and extremely reasonal - $4 for each segment. (The menu lists them for a dollar more, but the invoice gives the lower price.)

The segments on mixing and on baguettes are definitely worthwhile. You can see a lot about the way the dough looks and acts and how Calvel handles it.

I ended up buying and downloading all but a couple of the videos, and I'll probably get the remaining ones. I recommend them. The whole set costs less than a single cookbook.

The link is:

http://www.ciaprochef.com/fbi/podcasts/BreadAndBaker.html


David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

OK, thanks for the info, I'll go look at that when I have some time. I'm starting to feel more comfortable handling the dough, but still not there.

Jane