The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


maojn's picture

This is the result of my weeks of practice making baguettes. I posted a question in the forum and thanks to everyone who provided help. I have finally nailed down the problem and have made 3 consistant good batches. Turned out my problem is not only at scoring, but also the fermentation time, my oven temp,  and steaming duing baking.

The story started at my first post and here is the quesiton I posted. 

To summarize:

- The bulk fermentation should be much longer so the volume at least 3x

- The final fermentation takes 1 hour, instead of 30 min

- My scoring was indeed too deep, should be shallower like trying to make a flip. With the combination of enough fermentation, right scoring and right temp/steam, the ears will stand up themselves!!!

- put my stone at the bottom near the heat source which is 290C, preheat at least 1 hour, lava stones in cast iron tray under it preheat together. Once the dough in, add two cups of boiling water over the lava stone and keep the temp at 290 for 5 min, then drop to 240C. Take the lava stone out after 10 min and continue 240C for 10min

I am very happy with my current baguettes. I did modified my previous recipe a little bit and use only SD without instant yeast, also did autolyse during bulk fermentation.


maojn's picture

First question here, baguette scoring. Please help!

March 27, 2013 - 8:50am -- maojn

Hi everyone, 

First I would like to express how much I love this site. I just post my first article actually about my baguettes, customized kneading board on sink, and Pain de Campagne.  Today I am going to post my first question and I know you guys will definitely help me out!

BurntMyFingers's picture

I have been having difficulty overproofing my baguettes, so today I tried an experiment. I shaped three similar, though not quite identical, baguettes then baked them one after another, 27 minutes apart. You can see the results here, with the last bake on the left and the first on the right.

The first baguette went in the oven at just at the point where it had nicely filled out in the couche (smoothing out the little wrinkles that occurred during shaping) and an indention made with a fingernail would fill in slowly. It has good oven spring but the slashes didn’t open as much as the next two. I worried about the second loaf because it had gone a little flat but it actually has the best oven spring and expanded slashes of the three. The third is still pretty good but it’s starting to sag just a little. So, my conclusion is that I’m going to start my oven at about that fingernail-test point from now on and when it is ready 20 minutes later, my dough will be ready too.

I did an accidental secondary experiment because the second baguette got less steam than the other two. I have a cast iron skillet with a few objects in it and I pour water in there just after I load the bread then quickly shut the oven door. If I do this right I will get clouds of steam leaking out through the oven door and the vents on top of the stove. That didn’t happen with the second baguette for whatever reason. It doesn’t have the same golden brown crust (I know it's hard to see this in the photo, but it's true) as the others though it’s still got the crunch and tiny blisters we crave.

A few details: My formula was 60 g of 60% starter made with bread flour; 500 g King Arthur APF; 360 g water; about 15 g salt. I autolyzed, did a few stretch and folds and allowed the dough to develop in a 60 degree room for about 5 hours then it went into a 39 degree refrigerator overnight. I preshaped right out of the refrigerator, rested and let it come to temperature for 75 minutes, shaped and proofed en couche for 75 minutes at 68 degrees. Starting oven temperature was 500 degrees; I turned it down to 480 degrees after loading the loaves. Bake time 27 minutes with a turn at 10 minutes; I don't remove the steaming apparatus because the water just evaporates away.

dabrownman's picture

We had some left over YW levain from out panettone bake we will try to pull off today.  Rather than toss it we decided to make a baguette so we could practice our slashing and have some bread for tonight’s bruschetta.

The levain was20 god SD seed and50 gof YW that eventually totaled 160 g at 75% hydration with 50% of the flour rye, WW and spelt with  the remainder AP.   The levain was a 3 step build 4 hours apart.  The dough flour was 40 grams of the whole meal mix plus 240 g of AP along with 185 g of water and 10 g of salt. 


The total weight was 640 g and the total hydration was 66.25%.  With such a low hydration you can tell we weren’t going for holes and didn’t want bruschettta falling through them. 

We autolysed the dough flour for 2 hours and after mixing everything together we did 10 minutes of French slap and folds letting the dough rest for 20 minutes and the did 3 French folds every 20 minutes.  We let the dough rest for 20 minutes and shaped it into a 16” long fat baguette and let it proof in a basket for 2 hours before firing up Big Old Betsy. 


We should have let this dough double in volume – probably 4-6 hours but we didn’t have room in the fridge for it and time had run out so we baked it 2 ¾ hours after it hit final proof at 450 F with steam.  After 12 minutes we removed the steam and turned down the oven to 425 F, convection this time and continued to bake the baguette for 10 more minutes until the inside hit 208 F.

It browned up nicely and bloomed but no spring.  We didn’t expect much which is what we got on the inside.  Pretty dense crumb with a few small holes,  I’m sure it would have been fine if rested in the fridge for 24 hours and then allowed to finish proofing on the counter before baking.

This should warn others if you don’t have time don’t waste it by baking something that isn’t ready just because you wanted to use up some starter.  Always make sure that you have room in the fridge for a retard if you run out of time - especially if you are making  YW baggie.


danthebakerman's picture

High-Hydration Dough and No Big Holes

January 11, 2013 - 10:54am -- danthebakerman

My name's Dan, and I'm a relatively new baker. I love baking bread, and I can bake Challah, Brioche, Whole-Wheat, Rye, and other various breads with relative ease. (Mainly because they are easy.) However, everytime I try to make a loaf of bread (a baguette, boule, sandwich loaf, whatever) with big holes, I get none. 


A few of you have suggested that I look at "DonD" recipes, in the past few days I have made a batch of "Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation". 

Song Of The Baker's picture

1st Attempt At Baguettes - I Was Worried For Good Reason

December 16, 2012 - 11:06am -- Song Of The Baker

I tried my 1st go at baguettes today/yesterday.  The recipe I chose to try (because my sourdough starter recently died and haven't developed a new one yet) is a riff on Bouabsa's Baguettes.  Key problem here is the word I used, RIFF.  Why the heck would I riff on a bread recipe for a bread that I have never tried before, and was quite nervous trying??  I don't know.  I am slowly learning many lessons by my mistakes.

WilderThanYeast's picture

Only my baguettes are pale.

December 13, 2012 - 5:57am -- WilderThanYeast

Whenever I make baguettes, they don't brown at all, no matter how long I leave them in. They burn before browning. I was wondering why's that? My oven is at the right temp and every type of bread I make browns properly in the oven, EXCEPT baguettes (lean dough).

Another minor problem: my baguettes are almost always slightly flat. I'd like them to be more round.

I tried both Ciril Hitz's recipe and Akiko's recipe here on TFL.



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