The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


JC1957's picture

Light work week has given me time to bake at home.  First batch was the 1,2,3 formula again and then I did a sour dough baguette batch for today.  Here are the results:


And then today:

I love the exchange of ideas and formulas on this site.  I'm going to try the cocoa, cranberry walnut sour dough very soon.

Mebake's picture

This is my second try at baguettes, my first was unworthy of a blog, it was overmixed, shaping was lousy, and crust and color were lacking. Now that iam getting the hang of it, i really love Poolish baguettes. The nutty fragrance of a poolish is indeed intoxicating.

I adhered to Hamelman's book instructions, including very moderate mixing times,  but my final proofing was 50 minutes instead of 1-1.5 hours (my kitchen was warm). I did bake boldly, and the baguettes came out crusty and cracked loudly out of the oven, but i admit.. i have left the baguettes for longer than called for 35 minutes without steam, and vented steam from the oven throughout the bake, which caused the crust to thicken, and the baguettes  crust to be extra thick and crumb to be drier than desired. This, however, was a good bake, a far cry from my first baguettes.

EDIT: I did infact stray from hamlman's folding regime. I folded once after 1 hour but found the dough truely undeveloped as the mixing was very brief. I folded the dough again after 20 minutes and then after 10 final minutes.



storunner13's picture

Overmixed Baguette Dough?

June 22, 2011 - 12:43pm -- storunner13

So...first post.

I've baked a number of breads before, but decided to do a little research and try making baguettes (just to be tough on myself).  Anyways, I was following the Bouabsa recipe (or at least I think I was following it).  But I'm pretty sure I overmixed it.  Being a newbie, I was expecting the stickyness to eventually go away leaving me with a smooth and elastic dough.  However, as I now understand, the stickyness should never go away.

RobynNZ's picture

David Lebovitz baguette dilemma

June 22, 2011 - 4:15am -- RobynNZ

Most of us who make our own bread would tend to  fall in and out of two camps - planning well and generally maintaining a pretty good production/consumption balance versus getting carried away testing or generally enjoying baking and letting that ratio get out of kilter.

Reading David Lebovitz's amusing blog post just now, I felt I wanted to share it with those who had yet to read it (and of course amongst the submitted comments more mirth) :

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

A collection of my recent bakes:

Poolish Baguettes

Cut for BLT's

Ciabatta (Craig Ponsford formula)

Somewhat disappointing crumb.  Another batch made the following week looked similar

Miche, shaped as a large batard.

With baby for (largely uninformative) scale


More Ponsford Ciabatta, made without the final letter fold "shaping"

Crumb, still disappointing

Happy baking, everyone,


dmsnyder's picture

I don't know how many different formula's for baguettes I've tried, but the one with the best flavor was that for the Pain à l'Anciènne of Phillip Gosselin. (See:à-l039ancienne-according-peter-reinhart-interpretted-dmsnyder-m).

During our recent visit to Paris, one of the breads we had was Gosselin's Baguette Tradition, and it was very similar to the Pain à l'Anciènne I had made. The differences were that the crumb was more open, chewier and had a mild sourdough tang. I don't know whether Gosselin makes his Baguette Tradition using the same long cold retardation as employed in his Pain à l'Anciènne, but I suspect he does.

Gosselin's Baguette Tradition from the bakery on Rue Caumartin

Gosselin's Baguette Tradition crumb

Today, I made baguettes using the Gosselin technique, but I substituted a liquid levain for the yeast … well, I did also spike the dough with a little instant yeast to better control the fermentation time.



Baker's %

WFM Organic AP Flour

400 g


Ice Water

275 g



8.75 g


Liquid Levain

200 g


Instant yeast

¼ tsp



883.75 g


Note: Accounting for the flour and water in the levain, the total flour is 500 g and the total water is 375 g, making the actual dough hydration 75%. The actual salt percentage is 1.75%.


  1. The night before baking, mix the flour and levain with 225 g of ice water and immediately refrigerate.

  2. The next morning, add the salt, yeast and 50 g of ice water to the dough and mix thoroughly. (I did this by hand by squishing the dough between my fingers until the water was fully incorporated.)

  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl with a tight cover.

  4. Ferment at room temperature until the dough has about doubled in volume. (3 hours for me) Do stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first two hours.

  5. An hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF, with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  6. Divide the dough into 4 more or less equal pieces and stretch each into a 12-14 inch long “baguette.”

  7. Score and bake immediately at 460ºF, with steam for 10 minutes, and for about 20 minutes total.

  8. Cool on a rack before eating.

Baguettes Tradition

Baguette Tradition crumb

The crust was crunchy and the crumb was nicely open and chewy. It was moderately sour but with nice sweet flavors as well. All in all, it was quite similar to the baguette tradition we had from Gosselin's bakery. The loaves are smaller with proportionately more crust than crumb. The crust was a bit thinner, and the crumb a bit chewier. My totally unbiased, super taster spouse declared it “much better” than what we had in Paris. I don't know about that, but it is quite good – close to my notion of a perfect sourdough baguette - and I expect to make it again and again.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

gingersnapped's picture

[crossposted to my general baking blagsite,!]

The day you find yourself laboring over a fine grained sieve sifting the bran out of otherwise a-ok whole wheat flour: might as well admit it you’re addicted to yeast.

relax piggybank, it's turkey

open up; sandwich time

Personal success: half batch + stretch and fold + autolyse with a hella wet dough and shaped! appropriately! neatly!  It looks like bread when it came out of the oven! (this is perpetually delightful and surprising)

Personal failure: forgot to score and got ants in the pants and pulled it out before the crust could fully harden.  The biggest advantage I’ve found to cooking in someone else’s oven — I tend to walk away and leave well enough alone (perhaps an important life lesson there).

bencheng's picture

Sourdough baguette

May 14, 2011 - 10:57pm -- bencheng

Sometime last year I attempted to make sourdough bread but it didn't turn out very good. It was too sour and dense and very tough and so I gave it up. However my sourdough bagel baked last week was pretty successful, so I decided to made the baugette again.

Instead of using a 100% hydration poolish, I used a leaven from my sourdough starter.

1 tablespoon of my sourdough starter
105g Water
105g Strong Bread Flour


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