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First Classic Baguettes

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

First Classic Baguettes

Happy with my progress manipulating starters, and baking sourdough boules using D. DiMuzio's San Francisco Sourdough formula, beginning last night, and finishing this morning I let my starters rest, and tried, for the first time, to bake classic baguettes, i.e., baguettes initiated with a poolish. I was stimulated to do this by my mixed results--great flavor, ok crumb, disappointing proofing and ovenspring--baking sourdough baguettes.




For a first attempt I'm very satisfied with the results, especially the flavor. While I was setting up to photograph, I paused three times to have yet another piece with butter.


The formula, and guidance came from Ciril Hitz' Baking Artisan Bread", which I followed to the letter.


So I've got my baking focus, for the next couple of months centered on working with these two basic formula: DiMuzio's sourdough, and Hitz' classic baguette dough. Like the moldy, oldy directions to Carnegie Hall...practice, practice, practice.

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

crunchybaguette's picture
crunchybaguette

the sheen in the crumb is a good indication of quality

davidg618's picture
davidg618

That's welcome praise coming from a baker whose posting i look for, and read looking for the crumbs (word play intended) of knowledge and experience you drop.


Regards,


David G.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

I wish I could delete my dumber comments, sometimes... so I'll just edit it out, instead.



And very nice work! :)

proth5's picture
proth5

to switch over to commercial yeast after working with levain.  It's like magic isn't it?


Nice first bake!  Mr Hitz is quite a baker - you will never go wrong following his directions.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I can see why you kept eating while taking the photos...delicious looking baguettes. 


Sylvia 

Yippee's picture
Yippee

I'm so envious!


Yippee

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Those look great, David.  Well done!

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Just perfect. I'd keep eating them if they were here.


 


weavershouse

TeaIV's picture
TeaIV

very good looking! oven spring looks fine. keep at it!

isobel gildon's picture
isobel gildon

I bought Hitz' book on a recent visit to the States and use it a lot - particularly the baguette recipe. I find it makes great baguettes and epi but I have to confess that your shaping is much better than mine. What's the secret?


Isobel


 Suffolk, England

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Isobel,


Did your copy come with a CD? If so, play it, and try to emulate what the author does in the baguette shaping section. If you didn't get a CD with your copy follow the description and photos on page 61-63.


I think the two factors that contribute to successful shaping are: 1. In the pre-shape phase degassaing thoroughly, but gently; followed by at least a ten minute rest (Hitz recommends a 20 min. rest.). 2. During the shaping phase I think, along with uniform shape, one wants to achieve uniform surface tension along the entire length of the baguette. Not a simple thing to achieve without practice, and focus during the shaping. I'm left handed, and still trying to comfortably learn the two handed fold and seal routine the author demonstrates. I still haven't nailed it, but I do pay close attention to judging the surface tension along the shape's length resulting from my still clumsy handling.


A couple of other more subtle observation: With the above in mind, after bulk fermentation I handled the dough gently but firmly. Also, I think I might have gotten a bit more oven spring if I'd slashed a bit deeper, but I was afraid I'd slightly overproofed the loaves, and concerned I'd deflate them if I cut too deeply.


And, like I said in my post...practice, practice, practice:-)


Regards,


David G.


P.S. Spent a delightful two weeks in England and Wales last summer. A week on a narrowboat in the Midlands, and a week in Llangollen following.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi David,


I haven't seen the disc that accompanied Ciril's book.  Did he direct you to completely de-gas the dough portion before pre-shaping?  I wouldn't normally do that myself unless I knew I wanted a close crumb, with much smaller alveoles.  I think most bakers I know would expel any excessive gas before pre-shaping a baguette portion, but you normally would not want to eliminate all gas from the dough.


Almost any sort of sandwich bread or enriched bread IS agressively de-gassed because big holes in the crumb there are not desirable.  Obviously, you don't want the mustard on your ham sandwich dripping all over the place.


Also, the 20-minute rest he recommends mimics more or less what happens in a production-oriented bakery.  This period usually doesn't have to be set aside when baking on a large scale.  It usually takes 20-25 minutes to divide and pre-shape a large oven-load of loaves anyway, and you would keep them in order of pre-shaping, from first to last, on top of a bench or held on boards in a covered rack.  Then you go back to fully shaping the pre-shaped portions, in the same order that they were set aside before.


Many bakers have found that, when dividing and pre-shaping smaller batches, they still need to wait about 20 minutes or so for the pre-shapes to relax enough for easy extension.  If they didn't, the crumb tended to be tight from forcing the pre-shapes into long strands when they weren't very relaxed.  You could also risk tearing the skin on the outside of the baguette if the portion hadn't been rested enough.


Still, the 20 minutes isn't fixed in any way -- it might be 15 minutes if the pre-shaped cylinders weren't tightened much or the dough is very extensible.  I've sometimes had to wait 25-30 minutes if my students were too aggressive in tightening the portions during pre-shaping, or if the dough was just too strong.  Twenty minutes for "bench rest" is really just an estimate, and the actual time elapsed should depend upon whether or not the pre-shapes have relaxed enough to finish the shaping properly.  When they feel ready -- take 'em.


Nice looking baguettes, BTW.


--Dan DiMuzio

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Dan,


I guess it's a combination of my interpretation of what I read and viewed, and the state of my dough when I turned it out to divide it. Also the time differences for a commercial operation and an amateur never crossed my mind. I took the twenty minutes prescribed to mean let it rest for twenty minutes. I did. When I began to final-shape my dough I found it had grown in size to about 1.5 times in that brief time. Furthermore, watching the video he seems to be quite firm, while also gentle, in how he preshaped his dough.


In detail, author Hitz, in his video accompanying the book, states "gently degas" the dough when first turned out to divide. (I tried to emphasize gentleness in my remarks to Enid, but perhaps wasn't explicit enough.) When I turned out  the dough I'd made I found it contained some very large gas bubbles which I deflated completely before dividing. Also, watching him preshape it appeared to me that he was quite firm, and (i haven't replayed it) i think he emphasized consistent distribution of gas in the pre-shape.


I also interpreted firm handling in his final shaping. Moreover, I let my the four dough logs rest a full twenty minutes, and found them very gassy when I started final shaping. I'd monitored the dough temperature throughout the entire process; it never exceded 76°F.


Despite my clumsiness in final shaping it seems they came out reasonably ok. In the book he prescribes final proofing be 45mins to 60 mins. Because I wanted to be faithful to his guidance this first attempt, I gave them a full 45 mins., but I tested them (poke test) at 35 mins. and they seemed ready to me. As I mentioned in my original post, I thought they might be overproofed a little when I put them in the oven.


I'm learning to trust my judgement, but I'm not going to ignore your's, or any other expert's guidance, until I've followed it at least once, and found it bogus.


Thanks for your critique.


Regards,


David G.


 

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi David,


Poolish often makes for a dough that features what I guess I'd describe as accentuated gassiness.  If the dough's a bit warm (even by 1 or 2 degrees), the gas production is even more pronounced.  When the gas production is accelerated, then the pre-shaped cylinders for the baguettes will inflate a bit more quickly than you might have intended, and they'll be relaxed and ready to extend a bit sooner than planned.  It could end up being just 10 minutes of rest before they're ready to finish.  And, of course, if the dough is cooler by one or two degrees than the goal temp, you will usually see slower gas production, which usually extends the necessary bulk fermentation time, as well as the time necessary for the pre-shapes to rest before finishing.


From your description of the state of your pre-shaped portions before shaping, I'm wondering (not sure) if the dough was just a little warmer than the goal.  I apologize if you already told us this, but what was the temperature of the dough when it begain it's bulk fermentation, and what was Ciril's recommended goal temperature?


BTW, I think you were right to go with your gut when you did the touch test for proofing.  In a similar vein, if you see any other instances where things aren't happening the way you expected (according to the recipe), I don't think you should hesitate to make adjustments to bulk fermentation times or rest periods for your pre-shapes.


I'm still wishing I'd had a slice of your SF sourdough -- it's been a while since I've had any, and the stuff you made the other day looked good.


--Dan DiMuzio

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Dan,


The only other breads I've baked in the past beginning with a poolish, or biga are ciabatta's and foccacia. I've not paid close attention to temperature in those instances, and welcomed all the gas the dough created.


With my intention to improve my baking (it wasn't bad, just more casual) I'm paying a lot more attention to details.


I took the dough temp when it came out of the mixer: it was 76.?°F. (I don't remember the decimal.) Author Hitz prescribes the dough temperature should be between 75°F and 78°F. I took it again after it completed bulk fermentation, just before I divided it. When I make beer, during active fermentation the wort's temperature rises, and I was curious if the same is true with bread dough, however there was no upward change; the temperature actually dropped to 75.?°F, (again I don't remember the decimal). I didn't take it again, because i didn't want to make holes in my pre-shapes or final shapes. In hindsight I could have put the probe underneath the shapes.


I began preheating the oven at the end of bulk fermentation; that may have influenced the room temperature, but I don't think so. I've never noticed it before, and our air conditioner was on and active--we live in Florida--and my work area is four or five feet away from the oven.


Nonetheless, the heat from my hands dividing and weighing the dough, or while I was pre-shaping might have raised the dough's temperature. I probably handled the dough two or three times longer than author Hitz did in his demonstration. I'd no idea that 1 or 2 degrees, although still withing the 75-78°F specified window,  would effect dough that much, but with what I observed it makes sense. Thanks for that info.


Overall, I'm not disappointed with this first result, and my confidence in my observations--i.e., my gut--is increasing. I mentioned above, I plan on spending the next couple of months working with this baguette formula, and your pain au levain formula (firm levain), with an eye to polishing my techniques and focus on details.


Knowing me, however, I'm sure I'll do an occasional experiment; it's in my blood;-)


David G.


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Nice baguettes, David.


--Pamela

Yippee's picture
Yippee

David:


May I ask what flour you used in this recipe? Thanks.


Yippee

davidg618's picture
davidg618

King Aurther Bread Flour, from my point-of-view, its consistent, inexpensive and readily available in almost every market in my area.


David G.