Baguette crumb - 65% hydration dough
Some time ago, Pat (proth5) posted her formula for baguettes. This was in the context of our "great baguette quest" of some months back. We were playing with higher hydration doughs and cold fermentation à la Gosselin and Bouabsa.
Pat's formula is levain-based and employs a 65% hydration dough. She has insisted repeatedly that, while higher hydration is one route to a more open, holey crumb, fermentation and technique in shaping the baguettes are at least as important and that good technique can achieve the desired open crumb even with a dryer dough.
Okay. It was past time I tested my own technique against Pat's claim.
Pat's formula is as follows:
This is for two loaves at a finished weight of 10.5 oz each
.75 oz starter
1.12 oz flour
1.12 oz water
Mix and let ripen (8-10 hours)
All of the levain build
10.95 oz all purpose flour
.25 oz salt
6.6 oz water
Dough temperature 76F
Mix to shaggy mass (Yes! Put the preferment in the autolyse!) – let rest 30 mins
Fold with plastic scraper (30 strokes) – repeat 3 more times at 30 min intervals
Bulk ferment at 76F for 1.5 hours – fold
Bulk ferment at 76F 2 hours
Preshape lightly but firmly, rest 15 mins
Shape. Proof 1 hour or so
Bake with steam at 500F for about 20 mins
I followed this except I baked at 480F. I used Whole Foods 365 Organic AP flour. The result was an excellent, classic baguette with a crunchy crust and cool, creamy crumb. It was slightly sweet with imperceptible sourness when eaten just ... well, almost ... cooled.
Here's the crumb:
I'll let you draw your own conclusions.