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Those look wonderful, FP. If you aren't "there" yet, I'm not sure where "there" is. I am struck by how round the baguette is.
I must ask: What is the green-flecked loaf in the middle photo? Outstanding grigne!
I believe is one of his slashes in the baguette...
Thanks David. I think the 'roundness' comes from a very short proof after final shaping. No more than half an hour.
re: green...sorry about that. The picture is supposed to be a close up of one of the baguettes. The green flecks are from my camera in auto-mode in low light. All the photos I took today were an annoying shade of blue and I tried my best to colour correct them...apparently not enough on that particular photo. Either that or there's something very weird in my starter! :) Anyway, I've updated the photo.
The dough went through an overnight ferment which I'm not entirely happy with since it impacts on both the texture and the taste...great for my normal sourdough-type breads but not what I like for a baguette. The overnight dough was spilling out of it's container when I took it out for dividing and baking today..oops! It will get there...eventually!
The wonders of digital photography.
Re. short proof: What was the total time out of the refrigerator before baking?
I made one batch of baguettes with a cold fermentation of the dough that ended up with under-baked crumb. I assumed the dough didn't have sufficient time to warm up before I had baked them. I don't think you had that problem, but I am wondering about applying what you did to my own baguette quest.
Anis Bouabsa's method, as related to Jane, is to divide and pre-shape right out of the retarder, rest for 1 hour, then shape and proof for 45 minutes before baking. The last batch I made, which was good except for lack of sweet flavor and chewiness, I rested for only 20 minutes after pre-shaping. I proofed for 45 minutes. There was about 50% dough expansion during proofing and amazing oven spring. Query to self: Should I keep the same procedure except shorten the proof to 30 minutes? Hmmmm ...
I followed the same method as Anis and Jane - dividing and preshaping straight out of the 'fridge. Then the preshaped dough rested for an hour before final shaping followed by a final 30 minute proof (to be honest, 20 minutes would have been fine). Due to limited oven space, I had to let some of the baguettes proof a full hour and they turned out a little flatter in the oven...but this may have due to a lower oven temperature (hovering around 400).
I agree with you about the lack of sweet flavour and chewiness (although not nearly as chewy as some of my previous attempts) I suspect that using an overnight levain may be the main factor in causing this.
Got a few ideas about how to solve this but we'll see.
Thanks Mini O, Floyd.
The 'baguette quest' continues...it's been such a learning experience so far - thanks to all the great peeps here who have been encouraging, sharing experiences and information. I hope I can do the same soon.
Though Anis claims the overnight (21 hrs at 5°C) retarding is absolutely imperative, here we are working with sourdough. I have tested making the dough in the morning, putting it in the fridge, so the dough firms up, continues rising again, flavour develops but not a whole 21 hrs, more like 6-8. Then, I do the rest. The resulting bread had the same aspect as the other baguettes. But the levain has less time to age (for better or for worse, I suppose depending). So, this way, either a liquid starter or a firm one could be used. I say that because I'm not a great fan of retarding dough made with liquid starter.
David, I have some baguette dough on the counter, warming up, that has rye in it, as you had mentioned the other day. The dough looks nice. For 600g of dough, there is (darn I can't find my notes) 30g, I think. Just a touch, but the dough doesn't look the same at all. I stayed at 75% because the rye absorbs and the dough is less "wet".
It's great to see everybody's baguettes.
As I've discovered, working with levain baguettes is often a game of compromises. The recipe I'm using at the moment has come about through a lot of experimentation. It bears little resemblance to what one might think of as a 'standard' recipe. I've got the levain proofing at the moment ready for tomorrow.
If I remember tomorrow, I'll try to put aside some dough in the refrigerator as a pseudo-pate fermentee to be used as a flavouring agent in the next batch (if I haven't burned out on baguettes by that time!).
It's interesting that you find a firm starter preferable to a liquid starter. In my experience, the hydration of the refrigerated dough is more important than the original starter....with exceptions - for example if you use a high proportion of starter in the recipe)....well actually I have my theories on that too but I'm rambling...another post, another time :)
(Note: The hydration of the baguettes shown above is about 65%)
Meanwhile I'm formulating a few recipes for rye - a 50% mixed starter as well as a 100%. fun fun fun....
Cheers for now,
Your baguette is amazing and truly beautiful. What else can I say? Really looking forward to your "final" version. Don't see how it could get much better than this. Also looking forward to seeing the results of your rye experiments.
Howard - St. Augustine, FL
Awesome-- the baguette is, IMO, the most difficult of breads to get right in a home oven, and you've pulled it off perfectly.