The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

baguette

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Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Last sunday we went over to my mom's for a mother's day brunch with the family.  My mom asked me to "just take a baguette out of the freezer".  You know, since baking a batch of bread in time to leave for a 11am brunch (we live about an hour away) would be tricky.  The problem?  No baguettes in the freezer--we've run through them all since I finished up my baguette quest.  

A challenge!  This presented a great opportunity to experiment with cold retardation with my standard baguette recipe, Hamelman's Baguettes with Poolish, as well as test just how well they keep at room temperature.  Here's what I did:

I mixed a batch of baguette dough around 2 in the afternoon.  I then shapped 3 small baguettes a little after 5pm, and set to proofing on a couche.  However, for one of the 3 I put a small sheet of parchment underneath.  After 40 minutes of proofing, I slid the baguette on parchment off of the couche to finish proofing, while the couche itself with the other 2 baguettes was slid onto a sheet pan and stuck in the refrigerator.  The lone baguette was baked when fully proofed, about 75 minutes total.  Once it was cool, the baguette was placed in a plastic bag that was not fully sealed, and then wrapped in a paper market bag. 

Later, at 10:30, I pulled the couche out of the fridge, flipped one of the baguettes onto parchment on a peel, and baked it immediately, while the other went back into the fridge.  Baguette #2 sat on the cooling rack all night, unwrapped (mainly because it was past 11 by then!)

The next morning, the last baguette was baked at 9:30am and taken straight from the oven into a paper bag as we hurried out the door at little after 10.

The results:

From Left to Right: Not retarded, Retarded 4 hours, Retarded 15 hours. 

 

The baguette retarded overnight had lots of bubble in the crust, which made it very crisp and crackly.  All three had similar (good) flavor, and seemed plenty moist inside.  The baguette not retarded was crisped in the oven before cutting, but I presume it was crisp when fresh.  The baguette retarded for 4 hours was rather chewy when we got to it (we took that one home and my wife and I ate it for dinner), about 20 hours after baking.  

Crumb shots:

Retarded overnight

Not Retarded

 

Retarded 4 hours

Longer retarding seemed to be correlated with a lower profile, with the non-retarded baguette being the most round (although the baguettes were sliced on the bias,  and were less flat than the slices indicate).  I don't think this was underproofing, as the grigne looks pretty clean on those baguettes.  The retarded baguettes were much easier to score than the one that had not been retarded. 

Conclusion: Retarding baguettes gives a distinctive bubbly crust (for better or for worse), and makes them easier to score, but results in a lower profile.   Flavor is about the same either way.  As long as the crust is re-crisped, a baguette can sit un-cut at room temperature overnight and be nearly as good as first baked, and as good or better than frozen and thawed. Interesting.

nate9289's picture
nate9289

As I promised on my last entry, I took pictures of my bakery during work this morning.  I'll explain some of the methods and processes that we employ as well, since each boulangerie does things its own way.  We are an artisan bakery and use no pre-fabricated frozen dough or chemical additives.  The levain for most of the breads (excluding the standard baguettes) is all natural, made with apple juice we press ourselves.


I work with a small staff of two bread bakers and one pastry chef - the patron or boss makes the specialty cakes.  The bakers work from 3am/5am until 9am/11am every day, and the pastry chef from 5am until afternoon.  Breads not baked in the morning are baked by the boss in the wood-fired oven two or three times during the day, but all the work is done before 10am except for the specialty cakes.  The short hours and small staff keep costs way down while managing to put out between 800 to 1100 loaves daily in about 30-40 different varieties.  While some credit should be given to the equipment, most belongs to the two bakers themselves who are incredible to see in action.  I'm thankful to be learning from them!  So, the pictures:



 


We use an 8-deck hearth oven at 310 deg. C, or 590 deg. Fahrenheit.  Loaves are taken out of the retarder in the morning and let proof before going in the oven.  The first baker arrives at 3am and takes them out, mixing other doughs to let bulk ferment during the early morning hours.  Around 5am the other baker arrives and the oven gets going.  One baker forms baguettes to be retarded that afternoon and night while the other bakes the breads from the day before.  At 9am everything for the day has been baked and we weigh all the specialty doughs, which have been fermenting, and fashion all the loaves, and then they go in the retarder until the next morning.  This is the process for 90% of the breads.



 


 


The specialty doughs go in the spiral mixer and the normal white dough goes in the large oblique mixer.



 


 


Baguettes during pre-shaping:



 


Here are some loaves about to go in the oven.  The dark ones are baguettes aux céréales and the one with the ring is bread made with hazelnut flour.  The second picture show baguettes nouvelles, explained below.




 


For the baguettes nouvelles (new baguettes), the dough undergoes a 72 hour bulk fermentation in the refrigerator and then is formed with a hydraulic machine to not deflate the gas.  Notice the machine and the metal grill below:



 


Here are some loaves fresh from the oven: round miches, large pain paysan, regular baguettes on the oven loader, dusted baguettes de tradition, and baguettes nouvelles in the case.


 


 


 



 


My favorite bread we bake each Saturday is the grand pain paysan, a slab of dough weighing 5kg, or 11lbs!  It's sold by the kilo.



 


I don't do much with pastries - one absolute master pastry chef makes them all.  Fresh strawberries are all the rage right now, and we're doing a buy 3 strawberry pastries, get 1 free deal.  The picture with the almonds and raisins shows mini-kugelhopfs, the special pastry of my neighbor region Alsace.


 


 


 


Finally, some pictures from inside the store.  Most boulangeries suffer from either an overly-elaborate or overly-dull store space, often too small.  Not the case here!  From the enormous wood-fired oven imported from Mexico - producing an unbelievably tasty bread - to the lime green walls, it's a great place to find whatever suits your palate.


 


 


 


 



 


At home after a long morning of work, enjoying a baguette nouvelle.  Hope you've enjoyed the pictures!



Nate


 

honeymustard's picture
honeymustard

My partner's father and sister are here to visit. They each occupy one of the downstairs rooms that I meticulously cleaned before they arrived, so much so that I drove myself into hand-wringing worry over each minute detail in their rooms. Then the cobwebs in the other corners of the house laugh at me.


Bread calms me down, I think. There's something about nurturing it into life (and--in the oven--subsequently killing it, I suppose, but I don't think about that) that I find calming. I rekindled this years-long love of bread-making while sitting in a cramped hostel room in Taipei right before Christmas.


There was literally no floor space save for a two-by-three foot area where the door swung open in on our tiny apartment. We'd just had our Christmas Day supper. We'd found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where the owner spoke just enough English and we spoke one or two food words in Mandarin to get across that we'd like chicken soup. He brought us two different kinds. He gave Dave his bowl and said, "Good for man." A minute later, he brought me mine, and said, "Good for woman." He smiled, waited for our reactions. Dave loved his while I didn't like his, and I loved mine while Dave wouldn't touch mine. What a wise man that had served us. He offered us zong: spiced rice with pork wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. The spices were just reminiscent enough of Christmas that I didn't miss the overwhelming bright lights, electronified versions of Christmas carols, or ads delivering guilt trips about not giving your loved ones enough presents. But let's be serious, I didn't miss it anyway.


Chicken Soup & Zong


Besides, I had already gotten all my relatives and friends presents, and now it was my turn. To be there when I first arrived back in Nova Scotia, I ordered the Tassajara Bread book. It seemed only fair that as an amateur bread baker, I have a cookbook focused on bread alone.


I feel selfish, because with that bread book, I gave myself more than I had anyone else on my Christmas list. Breads were springier and lighter, tastier and more beautiful. I felt in control of the bread for once, and I fell in love.


I set about to Google many times thereafter, finding more recipes, wanting to find more people who wrote books like Edward Espe Brown, those who seemed to understand the art much more than Betty Crocker. Eventually I found many sites, and it's almost overwhelming. I'm learning how to make bread all over again.


Poolish Baguettes


So for my first trick, I made poolish baguettes. From this recipe. Schmiechel is not amused because she cannot eat it.


Unamused Schmiechel


But my visitors can eat bread. And they will eat all of it.

SeligmansDog's picture

Baparoma vs. ??

April 11, 2011 - 11:07am -- SeligmansDog
Forums: 

I finally found a Baparoma on Ebay, paid too much, but I'm in heaven.  Here's a post of my results from my food site, webercam.com. 


It's a cool pan, too bad about the size limitation.  My question to you all is:  Has anyone that has one of these tried anything to make an equivalent baguette and found the results just as good?  Does anyone know if a simple inverted pan on a flat sheet (or anything else)  give the same result? 

basbr's picture

Amount of poolish in Hamelman's baguette and pain rustique

April 10, 2011 - 7:17am -- basbr

Dear all,


This weekend I received my copy of Hamelman's "Bread" and it's fantastic. I made a boule from his poolish baguette recipe and his pain rustique.


I was completely surprised by the difference in taste between the two breads. Both were terrific, but the pain rustique tasted like no yeast bread I have ever tasted. I was blown away.

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

This week I made the dough for Hamelman's baguettes with poolish yet again.  This time, instead of making three 11-13 inch baguettes, scaled at 250g, I made one 750g loaf.  Since the 250g baguettes would be called demi-baguettes, clearly this was a mega-baguette. Clearly.


Okay, fine, I made a batard and scored it like a baguette.  Still it came out pretty nicely.



Crust Crackles, too!



No bursting between the scores! Though on a batard that's kind of cheating.  Anyway.


No crumb shot this time--we had company over for dinner and I wasn't quite willing to beg their patience while I snapped pictures of the bread, the way I regularly do with my wife.  Moderately open crumb, comparable to my recent baguette efforts.  Good flavor, nice crust, though a little chewy.


It will be back to baguettes next week.  Happy baking, everyone.

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Really?  Week 24?  Something like that, anyway.


Ahem.


Yesterday I made yet another batch of Hamelman's Baguettes with Poolish, continuing my baguette quest.  For those of you who have been following along, two weeks ago I made a batch which I didn't get around to blogging about, and last week I was busy on Saturday and forgot to make a poolish for Sunday.  In past weeks, I've gotten good results in crust, crumb and flavor, and decent to excellent grigne, but my scores keep bursting in the oven.  This week I was influenced by the video BelleAZ posted of Cyril Hitz slashing baguettes.  Hitz says in the video that the scores should overlap by a full third of their length, something I don't think I was doing very well, or at least not very consciously.


Ahem.  To the breads!


Exterior



Crumb



Y'know, I think I could be pretty happy with this. It's not perfect.  There's still some bursting, especially on the baguette on the bottom.  But that one just wasn't scored very well in general.  No bulging in between scores like some past weeks. Flavor and mouthfeel were quite good, as they've been for several weeks.  Crust was a little chewy, although I think this has more to do with the fact that the baguettes came out of the oven at noon, rather than later in the after noon.  Longer sitting seems to correlate to chewier crust.  No biggie.


I'm going to stick with this formula a few more weeks (I'd like to try it as two mini-batards or one large batard, just for yucks), but I think this quest is nearing completion.


Happy baking, everyone.


-Ryan

willchernoff's picture
willchernoff

I think i'm finally getting the hang of making french bread. I won't say my recipe/technique is perfect, but I finally feel confident enough to share bread with freinds. Here's some pictures of what I've been up to.


 


 


 


I've been enjoying these results, but I can't seem to get an even oven spring. That is, where I slash the dough either pops too much or too little while baking. Any ideas how to get a more consistent pop?


 


Details on what I actually do: http://wchernoff.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/feel-that-oven-spring/

bencheng's picture

Scoring baguette

March 4, 2011 - 7:22pm -- bencheng

Hi there,


I have been baking baguettes for a few time, but none of the scoring come out as as open as I want them to be.


I have done some reading, I'm wondering if because my cut is not deep enough or the baguettes were not proofed enough. 


 


If you have any suggestions or ideas I'd appreciated your help. 


TIA


baguette1


 

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