The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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mayagayam's picture

Hi and Thank You!! Share celebration with me?

February 21, 2012 - 10:03pm -- mayagayam

Hi from Fairfax, VA.  My name's Maya, and up until a week ago I've never even *thought* about baking bread.Then, thanks to this site, I was able to make my first baguettes ever today, by hand, with no bread maker, from scratch - actual picture below - I can't believe it.  I created a combined recipe using Fromartz, Reinhard and others to make a 68% hydration dough using a 100% hydration poolish that I made last night, and I'm totally jazzed at what I got out of my baguettes today.

dmsnyder's picture

Baguettes made with San Francisco Sourdough dough

I do like sourdough baguettes. Since I'd developed a San Francisco-style Sourdough bread I was happy with, I decided to make some baguettes with this dough. I made one kg of dough and shaped half of it as a boule which was retarded overnight before baking. I divided the other half into two 250 g pieces and shaped them as baguettes, proofed them and baked them without retarding at 460 degrees F for 22 minutes. See my recent blog entries for the formula and procedures. (My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 3

Baguettes on the peel, ready to score and load

Scored baguette, ready to load and bake

Baked baguette, cooling

Baguette crumb

The crust was slightly crunchy and chewy. The crumb was chewy with a nice flavor and a mild sourdough tang. These are definitely worth making again. Next time, I think I'll retard the shaped baguettes and also try baking at a slightly higher temperature to get a darker, crunchier crust.

The boule also turned out nicely, shown here with "a supporting cast" of San Joaquin Sourdough bâtards.



arguros's picture

Baguette dough, final bread texture

February 4, 2012 - 2:06am -- arguros


This is my first post in this forum. I have been following it silently for quite a while and I was impressed with the quality of bread other forum members post here. I also recently bough a Kenwood Major KM020 and I wanted to try it out with a baguette dough.

While I have been living in Dublin for more than 10 years, I am originally from Italy, where there is a long artisan bread tradition, which means I am kind of found of good bread.

I followed the Hamelmann baguette with poolish recipe , with a final round shape

smoke signals's picture
smoke signals

Earlier this week I had a dream about ham & cheese on baguette. Since this was a dream that I could turn into reality, I took up the task of making some baguettes. So many dreams just stay dreams, when you have one within reach: grab it.

I turned to Jeffery Hamelman’s book, Bread, and to an old bakery formula I had from years ago working as a baguette mixer at Red Hen. Pretty strait forward, poolish recipe. But how awesome simple formulas can be! To my delight these baguettes crackled, and tasted like butter and nuts and wheat. It was hard to bake them long enough because I kept wanting to pull them out of and eat them in one, huge bite. 

Dear Baguette,

I am sorry we were apart for so long. I took you for granted. One day you just weren’t there anymore. Maybe the separation did us both some good. I’ve moved a couple of times, have a new boyfriend, in general, things are progressing. But maybe we could think about spending some time together again. I really love the way you smell.

Yours Truly, Smoke Signals  





Elagins's picture

Finally, I got the crumb I've been looking for, and it came about by accident.

To enlarge the crumb, I've been gradually reducing the kneading time, lowering the flour strength and increasing the hydration of my baguette doughs. Finally, I got it right on New Year's Eve, when we were having some friends over and decided that crostini would be on the menu. My wife and I were both very busy that day and I was in a rush to get the bread done, since one of our ovens went on the fritz the day before (naturally!) and so we only had one oven to work with and lots of baking.

To make a long story even longer, I mixed the dough (Giusto's Artisan Flour, 75% hydration, 2% salt, 1% IDY) in my KA and worked it under the paddle for about a minute, when the dough started coming together and the gluten clearly was forming. Without thinking, I put it onto my kneading board, and only when it was there did i realize that I'd intended to work it under the dough hook for another couple of minutes.  "Oh, well," I thought, "No time like New Year's Eve for an experiment." So I let the dough sit on the board and gave it four stretch-and-folds about 20-25 minutes apart.  The dough came up beautifully.

Handling it very gently, I scaled it to 225 g/8oz and let it rest for another 20 minutes or so before rolling it out and arranging the six loaves en couche for about 75 minutes of proofing. Oven preheated t0 500F/260C. I steamed the oven, slashed and loaded the loaves, then steamed again at 3 minutes, reducing the temp at that time to 450F/230C. Baked for about 10 minutes longer and got terrific oven spring, as the photo shows. What the  photo doesn't do justice to is the gorgeous yellow color of the crumb.

All in all, a very satisfying bake.

Next batch will be at 80% hydration, and I'll also see how other flours (i.e., Sir Galahad, Harvest King, La Parisienne) behave under these same conditions. Will keep you all posted.

Stan Ginsberg

Nickisafoodie's picture

On Christmas eve I made 3 pounds of  dough for two large batard loaves intending to bake Christmas morning after overnight refrigerator proofing.  In the morning I went to preheat and the electric ignitor that starts my gas oven was broke and it didn't come on!  I wasn't sure if I could freeze the dough at this point.  I was targeting 72% hydration rather than a more typical 75% for a Tartine bake as I would be baking on a stone rather than in a dutch oven and looking to keep dough from spreading too much.  Plus the KAF patent flour I use seems to have a high moisture content with 72% coming working well in past recipes using this flour. 

Flour was 5.5% rye (100% hydration rye starter which made up 6.4% of the recipe), 10% semolina (ground the day prior) and 84.5% King Arthur patent flour (high protein, from a 50 lb bag - have never seen this in 5 pound bags).  Salt was 2%.  I originally intended to coat with sesame seeds and make two 1.5 lb batards. 

Plan B: pizza dough:  Given the 72% hydration is a level I have used for pizza dough and successfully kept in the refrigerator from 3 to 5 days, I thought this would be a good plan B.   Hoping for the best, I divided the dough into four pieces and place individually in lightly oiled containers.  For pizza dough, 3-5 days of refrigerated fermentation works well for optimal flavor and rising power, but have not ever gone longer. 

I ordered the new ignitor part and 5 days later my oven was up and running.   The $15 part ($22 with expedited shipping)  and an easy 15 minute fix was worth the wait compared to the repairman's $200 quote.  And by the way, three different web sites had the same part for for $75 so it pays to shop around...

So last night I made my 7 day old dough pizza.  You could see lots of holes in the dough while looking at it thru the plastic container.  I left the dough out for 90 minutes before starting.  This is a wet dough so I gently stretched to about 8'' size, let rest for 10 minutes and stretched to the final 14" size.  I made sure there was enough flour on the bottom to not stick, while preserving a rather moist dough otherwise.  I used semolina on the peel.  I used my thick soapstone stone which takes 90 minutes to preheat (to 600 degrees as outlined in a prior post).  The pie cooked in 3 1/2 minutes.  The tray above is where I let it rest after removing from the stone.

Surprise number one was how nice and fluffy the baked pizza was.  I thought the long fermentation may have broken down some of the rising ability/cell structure of the dough.  Surprise number two was very flavorful, but not sour or even tart (although I like sourdough more on the full flavor side).  Likely due to the starter being only 6.4% of the recipe compared to 20% or more in a sourdough bread recipe and a 39° refrigerator temperature.  But the flavor was excellent, slightly complex and the high hydration did allow the dough to become slightly gelatanized inside similar to some of the Tartine breads.  It was one of the best pizzas I have ever made.

So a very happy outcome all around and finding that a week in the refrigerator worked out surprisingly well.  And the holiday spiral ham?  Well while the oven didn't work, the broiler did as it uses a different element/burner at the top of the oven.  Wrapped the ham/pan in heavy foil, placed on low shelf, and removed foil after one hour.  Applied glazed and put under broiler for another 10 minutes.  The broiler flame carmelized the ham nicely and Christmas dinner was not only salvaged but came out very well.  Now I need to remake my original recipe and bake those batards!

Happy New Year to all...


sweetbird's picture


I've loved this site from the sidelines for so long and have been nourished again & again by everyone's passion and generosity, so I thought it was high time to stop being an innocent bystander and post something. I pulled two beautiful breads out of the oven tonight based on this formula by txfarmer: What wonderful bread!

My plan was to follow the formula exactly but my starter was pokey on the morning that it was destined to meet the cold autolyse, so I had to leave the autolyse mixture in the refrigerator for 5 hours longer than planned, for a total of 17 hours. Finally the starter was ready (after getting a boost from a fresh feeding) and I worked it with the salt into the cold flour & water mixture. I almost wanted to apologize to it for the shock of the cold! Because the two mixtures seemed to resist being joined, I decided to do a Dan Lepard-style stretch & fold every 10 minutes for the first half hour, then settled into the s&f every half hour in tx's formula. That worked well. Then the dough went into the refrigerator for its 24-hour cold rise.

But because the extra-long autolyse threw my timing off (and because I had to bake today, not tomorrow), I realized that I would have to take the dough out today before the full 24 hours had passed, judging that it was also going to need some time at room temp. I took it out at around the 18 hour mark, gave it about 2-1/2 to 3 hours at room temperature and then went on with the dividing, pre-shaping, resting & final shaping. It was a lovely, soft, active dough.

My shapes are somewhere between baguettes and batards because of the constraints of my oven and baking stone. I tend to make mostly boules and now realize I need to work on my shaping and scoring of this type of bread! Because they were a little fatter than tx's baguettes they needed a longer bake time, and at the end I turned the oven off and left the door ajar with the baguettes still on the stone for about 5 more minutes. As it turned out, I could have left them a little longer to allow the interior to dry more. But . . . wow . . . the flavor!

Crackly crust, creamy crumb, weak-in-the-knees flavor. My husband and I had planned on Indian food for dinner but couldn't resist some slices before dinner.

My camera tends to turn everything into a golden wonderland in low light, but here are some more photos. I hope I haven't made them too huge. Tried to follow the 800 x 600 px rule but they seem absolutely gargantuan.  I'll need to work on that for next time.

Thank you for this bread, txfarmer!! And thank you all for your constant inspiration.

All the best,  Janie

MarieH's picture

Today I made my first baguettes. I have shied away from the intimidating baguette - the shaping, the proofing, the scary, scary slashing! But I have made enough boules, batards, and rolls to gain confidence in my skills. I am quite pleased with my first attempt. Like all things baking, improvement will come with experience and practice. The recipe is from Hamelman's Bread: Baguettes with Pate Fermentee. While the crumb is not as open as it should be, the flavor is delicious and the texture light and airy. Good enough to do a happy dance in the kitchen (with only the cats to appreciate)! Thanks to all the baguette bakers who have posted inspiration.

Happy baking,


suzyr's picture


A walnut sized of fully risen dough, such as pizza

1/4 cup of warm water

2/3 cup of all purpose unbleached flour

Mix this well and place in bowl and cover at room temp.  Let sit for 8 hours then move on to second stage.


The first starter

1/4 cup of warm water

3/4 cup of all purpose flour

Pour water over first starter and then add flour and mix in well.  Cover again and let this sit at warm room temp for 4 hours.  Then place in refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Take out and get ready for final day.


The Final Dough

1 1/4 cups of cool water

1/2 tsp of instant yeast

the second starter

3 1/3 cups of flour all purpose

1 tab of salt

Take the starter out of the bowl and cut up into pieces, like 4 and place in work bowl add water and yeast.  Let soften for 5 minutes and add flour and then salt. Mix well and switch to dough hook. Let this sit for 10 minutes and then start hook for about 8 minutes on medium speed. Then place in oiled bowl for 1 1/2 hours at 80 degrees. Fold this, not punching down at all.. then cover again and let this finish covered for 45 minutes.  Take out and shape into baguettes or boule’s.  Baguettes are around 10 ounces each.

Bake baguettes for 30 minutes at 450 with steam.

tomdrum's picture

Baby baguettes

November 15, 2011 - 1:58pm -- tomdrum

Hey guys

I am pretty new around here but I am a bit of a bready and thought I would share last nights baguettes with you all. There were a pretty simple bake but super tastsy and highly recomended, should have made more than four little babies but now I have the formula I can..and so can you :)

Pre ferment

100% Flour (I Used yorkshire Organic 85% extraction)

100% Water (cool)

2.6 % rye sour (mine is 50% hydration and was taken from the fridge)


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