The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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davidg618's picture

Yesterday I made Orange Marmalade with Single Malt Scotch. It's bursting with flavors: rabid orange with a slightly bitter tang, and subtle smokey undertones of peat smoked whiskey. No ordinary baguette's wheatiness could stand up to this flavor.

Concurrently, I was making sourdough levain for my refrigerated seed starter's refreshment; I simply made 300g extra.

I made 1050g of 68% hydrated sourdough, with 66/24/10 ratio of All-purpose/Bread/Whole Rye flours. The levain was fed only with Bread flour, and I also let the levain ferment for 12 hours to develop its sourness a bit more. This is a slight variant of my usual sourdough 45/45/10 flour ratio; only 250g of levain is used in 1500g of final dough, and the levain ferments for only 8 hours. The dough was retarded for 15 hours @ 55°F. I shaped three 350g loaves into baguettes.

This combination of tweaks yielded yielded a bread with a baguette-like crumb, softer than my usual chewier sourdough, and a distincitve acidic tang that stands side-by-side with the bursts of orange rind, the scotch-smokiness, and the marmalade's bitter low note.

Whether, or not, these loaves are deserving of being called "baguettes of a different color" or are pretenders merely dressed up like baguettes, they certainly are keepers.

David G


Doc.Dough's picture

Alternatives to a laminated wood shaping surface

May 30, 2012 - 2:42pm -- Doc.Dough

I have Corian counters and had difficulty shaping baguettes due to working on a surface that was too smooth.  I imagine that others who have granite or Formica have similar issues.  I can put a slab of laminated maple on top which works just fine but makes the working surface higher than I want it.  I can also apply a thin slurry of flour/water to the counter and let it dry, which is about the same as wood from the perspective of surface friction but it does take a little time to get it ready and also time to clean-up when I am done.

I am looking for other alternatives.

Leandro Di Lorenzo's picture
Leandro Di Lorenzo

Hey, I don't post as much as i should here, but I'm excited about the new way of steaming, at least for me, that I used today!

First, I'm from Brazil, so sorry for some misspell or something :)

I was looking for a better way to create steam for bread baking, than I came up with a photo (on thefreshloaf) of a pressure cooker connect to the oven (eletric) by a tube, I didn't even know that a eletric oven has a tube on top by the stove, and then I said to myself " what the heck, let me try this!"

I decided to bake a regular poolish dough.

Total flour: 400g

Pre fermented flour: 150g + 150g of H2O

I started with 65% hydration, but I had to add a bit more H2O maybe 68 or 69% total, got a really old flour (KAAP)

2% Salt

A bit of yeast

Only thing I did different. I mixed The poolish flour H2O, yeast and a bit more malt than normal and let it rest for maybe 2.5 hours, I went to the gym rsrs.

After this period, added the salt and a tiny amount of ascorbic acid. I can only bake batards on my oven, so I can use a little more strength.

Then kneaded just enough, let it ferment for 1:30 min with a turn (45 min), divided, pre shaped shaped proof and bake. ufff!!!

But I'm getting out of track... Wanna talk about the steam!!! Hahaha

The bakeing took 27 min. total

Here is a photo of my new steaming method

I steamed the oven before, don't know why cos when I opened the oven door all the steam came out lol, and after loading.

And for 15 sec in one minute intervals for 10 min.

After that let it bake for more 10 min, turn the bread and more 7 min in the oven, maybe a bit much, it burned the bottom :(

I loved the results!!!

Check it out!! Some pics...




I think is the first time than I bake with steam instead of vapor. I mean, I tried before with hot water, but I don't know if is the same, cos here I'm using the steamer.

I tried to show some cracks on the crust, I don't know if you can see it on the pics.

I think is worth trying, I will again tomorrow, with a bit of rye on the poolish ;) ....

So that's it!!! Hope you like it!!! Happy baking!!!! =)

BTW One last photo...

That's the layout inside my oven!!!


Leandro Di Lorenzo




proth5's picture

With a lot of baguette dough and a home oven.

Lately I have been working with ever larger batches of dough.  This is good training as it helps develop one’s eye in terms of dividing, does a little hand skill training on wrangling a larger volume, and because I have a tiny kitchen, ups the bar on mise en place and other organizational skills.

And while I am not in training for the Coupe du Monde (because I am too old, and frankly I don’t bake that well) – I continue to be very inspired by my two opportunities to attend and have decided to consider the judging criteria as I strive to improve my baking.  Baking to a schedule is part of that – and while the phrase “watch the dough not the clock” is good advice for most home bakers – inspired by the fact that the 2008 Team USA didn’t place because they finished late (geeez) I am practicing how to control dough temperatures and conditions so that I can hold to a schedule.

But then there’s that home oven.  I always knew that oven capacity is the big factor in getting bread out the door – but a commercial oven would simply not fit my space and to be honest, would not be a good investment in a state where there is only a remote possibility that someday I could operate a bakery from my home.

I’ve tried retarding the dough after pe-shaping and was not best pleased with how the dough felt during shaping. Additionally, my ever growing group of bread testers is beginning to want a little variety. So my challenge is to get decent loaves when I need to bake in shifts.

So after whomping up a large batch of my “bearguette” dough, I set myself to dividing up the dough.

Recently I had a little incident with wildlife in my home that required that I empty out and disinfect everything in my basement.  It’s an ill wind that blows no one any good, and indeed this exercise revealed that I have a large number of round cake pans inherited from my grandmother.  I knew in my heart that I had them – it just never came to front of mind.

I can load three pans at a time into my oven, so I gave my pans (6 total) a very generous coating of olive oil and sprinkled on a combination of dried herbs (oh, about 8-9 ounces of dough per 8 inch pan).  Dough was shaped into rounds placed in the pan “good “ side down and after a few minutes flipped to good side up.  This action coats the dough with olive oil and while there is no fat in the dough, the general taste and mouth feel is that of an enriched dough. (and then there are those herbs…)  This shaping is the least sensitive to over proofing and so is put somewhere cozy for as long as it takes to get the rest of the bread proofed and done.

I’ve still got a lot of call for standard baguettes so a good bit of the dough is divided with that intent.

Again, lately, though I’ve been considering how I would create a” baguette fantasie.”

In the actual competition, these are baguettes that must be shaped by machine (to demonstrate that the baker has the skill to create dough that would withstand machine shaping) and then cut and shaped to form various fantastical patterns.  I’ve pulled some oddly cut lumps from my oven.  Oh sure, they look good when loaded, but oven spring takes its toll on some of that cutting.  I begin to understand why some classic shapes are, indeed, classic – they work.  I’ve also had some horrible loading accidents, since I continue to hold to the belief that parchment paper is cheating (for me, at least) and a beautifully cut shape can get – oh, shall we say “distorted” if the peel is not rendered completely non-stick. (Oh, for a loader!)

Also, I’ve been working on traditional regional French shapes.  I had quite a good run on Auvernats (and, of course, me being me took no pictures) and have gone on to some other shapes – providing I can do them quickly enough.

So, baguettes loaded and baked, then the baguettes fantasie (which can handle slight over proofing a little better), then special shapes, and then my bread in the pans. 

The bread in the cake pans is “dimpled” to give it the look of foccacia.  I also take one pan and flatten out the middle and top with sauce and cheese to create a type of deep dish pizza.  (Yes, yes, not completely traditional, but delicious with the good bread as a base, and the oil and herbs.  Also a meal for the busy baker.)

I complete on schedule.  The kitchen is clean and the couches are hung with care to dry. Having been assaulted by the smell of a moldy linen couche (not in my home, but elsewhere), I am even more meticulous about this than before.  It’s a satisfying feeling. All that is left is to bundle up the bread for my various “customers.” When I was in Okinawa I learned how to tie a square piece of cloth (called a furoshki) into various carrying containers and have used my vast collection of flour sack towels to be the transport for these loaves.  The fabric allows enough ventilation to keep the loaves crisp and the recipients can store the loaves in the bags for a day or so.  I have a friend who has become the self appointed “bread fairy” for a number of folks who will come at her phone call to get their weekly bread allotment. (And you all get the destination to which this will lead…)

All this baking leaves little time for photography – even if I liked doing photography or was any good at it – but this week the special shapes came out well – so they were worth a snap.  They are left to right – a baguette fantasie, an epi de ble, and a torsade.

The torsade was proofed “good side” down on linen that had been coated with “remoullage.” Remoullage is bran pulled from the milling process and re-milled until it is as fine as flour.  It makes a lovely coating on the surface of the bread rather than just dusting with flour and has almost better non stick properties than white flour.

So that’s what I do with all that dough.  It’s one mix, but a variety of products.  My testers are completely sure that I have made at least three different breads.  I just smile and say thank you.

People get grabby over the herb bread and it really is a low maintenance addition to a batch of baguettes – I highly recommend it.

dmsnyder's picture

Yeah. French makes everything seem fancier. Anyway, today I made three kinds of bread from the San Francisco-style Sourdough dough I've been playing with for the past couple months.

The dough was basically version 6. I put my stock starter through 3 builds of 75% AP and 25% WW at 50% hydration. The builds were fed at approximately 12 hour intervals, and the third build was cold retarded for about 14 hours then fermented at 85 dF for 3 hours before mixing the dough to make 2 kg. After dividing and shaping, all products were cold retarded again before final proofing and baking.


Boule made with 1 kg of SF-style SD dough

Boule crumb 

Boule crumb close-up

Mini-baguettes made with 250 g of SF-style SD dough each.

Baguette crumb

These breads had a very crunchy crust and a complex, moderately sour flavor. The flavor was more like the version 4 bake than the last version 6 bake. It had a distinct milky, lactic acid element as well as the sharper acetic acid tang. Very, very yummy. I am happy that this formula and method are delivering consistant results for me.

The remaining 500 g of dough was divided into two pieces, shaped into balls and put in Ziploc sandwich bags along with a tablespoon of olive oil, then refrigerated for 24 hours.

Mozzarella, tomato, mushroom pizza

Pesto, mozzarella, mushroom pizza

Pesto, mozzarella, mushroom pizza close-up

The pizza was fair. The crust was chewy. My wife liked the flavor of the crust. I prefer a really thin, cracker-crisp crust. However, it's nice to know this dough makes fair pizza crust. If you like chewy rather than crisp, this may be for you.

Happy baking!


EvillyChic's picture

Recreation of the mysterious Bánh mì baguette

April 29, 2012 - 2:24am -- EvillyChic


Here in this post, I would describe how I make Bánh mì in my own way, which suitable for home bakers, who share the same dream of conquering this challenge to successfully recreate the mysterious Bánh mì baguette.

Below is how I make Bánh mì baguette. (6 loaves, 75g per loaf)


Utensils needed

isand66's picture

I was in the mood for something simple and relatively uncomplicated to bake so I decided to make some baguettes based on the Peter Reinhart method from ABED which uses a long overnight ferment of the bulk dough.  Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to add something different to make it more interesting.  I just picked up some quinoa flour from the supermarket which imparts a nice nutty flavor to the dough.  I also added some low protein Italian style 00 flour from KAF along with some organic whole wheat and bread flour.

The end result was a nice crispy, light and nutty flavored baguette.  I still need some practice with my shaping and figuring out how long to make them so they fit on my oven stone.  I could have handled the dough a little lighter to preserve some bigger holes, but overall the crumb was not bad and the crust was nice and crisp.


300 grams KAF Bread Flour (BakersPercentage, 44%)

200 grams Italian Style Flour 00, KAF (BakersPercentage, 29%)

100 grams Organic Whole Wheat Flour, KAF (BakersPercentage, 15%)

80 grams Quinoa Flour, Bob's Red Mill (BakersPercentage, 12%)

454 grams water, 70 degrees Fahrenheit (BakersPercentage, 67%)

14 grams Sea Salt  (BakersPercentage, 2%)

7 grams Instant Yeast (BakersPercentage, .01%)


Using your stand mixer or by hand, mix the water with the flours for 2 minutes on low.

Let the dough autolyse for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and mix for 2 minutes more on medium speed, adding more flour if necessary to produce a slightly sticky ball of dough.

Remove dough to your lightly floured work surface and need for 1 minute and form into a ball.

Leave uncovered for 10 minutes.

Do a stretch and fold and form into a ball again and cover with a clean moist cloth or oiled plastic wrap.

After another 10 minutes do another stretch and fold and put into a lightly oiled bowl that has enough room so the dough can double overnight.

Put in your refrigerator immediately for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days.

When ready to bake the bread, shape the dough as desired being careful not to handle the dough too roughly so you don't de-gas it.

Place it in your bowl, banneton or shape into baguettes.

Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours covered with oiled plastic wrap or a wet cloth.

Pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 500 degrees F.

Slash loaves as desired and place empty pan in bottom shelf of oven.

Pour 1 cup of very hot water into pan and place loaves into oven.

Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 25 - 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.

Shut the oven off and crack the door with the bread still present.  Let it sit for 10 minutes to continue to dry out and develope the perfect crust.

Let cool on cooling rack and enjoy!

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here:

rfusca's picture

90% accident

March 2, 2012 - 9:06am -- rfusca

So I was mixing up a recipe of BBA pain ancienne and decided to halve the recipe.  I wasn't paying attention and ended up doing a 90% hydration.  It turned out pretty decent.  This was done by S&F only though and very short proofing time.  Almost fully fermented in the fridge and only proofed for 45 minutes while the oven heated up.

Not too bad, all things considered.  I didn't expect to have much luck with scoring such a high hydration, so I just split done the middle.

Mifadieon's picture

Baguette - Having little problem making it... Wants to know what I did wrong

February 27, 2012 - 12:59pm -- Mifadieon

Im having a little problems with making baguette so I was just wondering If you guys could see what I did wrong. Here is what I did:

                  This is a baguette I just make it smaller and cut it long way. This is b/c it is similar to the asain baguette not the french baguette that is long and you cut differently!!!!

           ingredient:  3 1/2 cups flour

                                1/4 oz of yeast

                                1 1/2 cup of water

                                1 tablespoon of sugar


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