The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

baguette

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Sylviambt's picture
Sylviambt

First try at the Vermont sourdough turned out lots better than anticipated. I used a soupy levain as the base for the sourdough, building it over a couple of days. My second try at the baguettes still didn't work out as well as hoped for. Will try again.


Sylvia (Bronx to Barn baker)


Vermont sourdough, baguettes

BKSinAZ's picture

My very first loaves of french bread & some lessons learned.

February 20, 2011 - 8:29am -- BKSinAZ

I finally decided to break free of my bread machine and hand make my bread for the first time. I really never liked the look of the loaves that came out a bread machine and felt more of a reward for doing it all by hand. I did use the same machine recipe (3 cups of Flour, salt, sugar, yeast, shortning, water)

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

I do believe I am closing in on my goal of a tasty, presentable and above all reliable baguette, folks.  At the very least, the results have been reliably tasty of late, which will do for a start!


Anyway, here was last week's bake.  Still a lot of bursting between cuts despite loading the steam pans a couple minutes before loading the loaves.  Great ears though.


Exterior



Crumb (For the loaf on top, I believe)



Moments Later, as BLT


 


 


For this week's bake I switched over to the King Arthur Bread Flour (instead of AP), primarily because my wife did the shopping last week and that's what she picked up.  Worth a try, anyway.  I also threw a cup of water onto the floor of the oven after loading the baguettes, to get some extra steam.  Also, by accident I forgot to take the steam out of the oven, so I had steam for the full 26 minutes of the bake.  Oops!


Exterior:



 Crumb



 


Not bad, eh?  Not as much ear as past weeks--probably at least in part because of the flour.  But only a little bit of bursting.  The baguette on the bottom is just about perfect (this one is pictured in the crumb shot).  Though I'm also quite proud of the one in the middle.  It won't win any beauty contests, but the plastic wrap stuck to the top of that one during the proof, leaving a sticky, slack surface.  The fact that I got any kind of regular looking score on it is a victory I wouldn't have had a few months ago (this victory brought to you by TMB baking ).


Crust was good although a little...leathery, for lack of a better word (this sounds worse than it was).  Probably because of the excess steam during the second half of the bake.  Crumb was fantastic: open, creamy, flavorful.  If I could bake baguettes just like this every time, I'd be happy.  I could bake them like this but with the ears from last week, I'd be in home bakers' heaven.


Happy baking, everyone.

Sylviambt's picture
Sylviambt

My first baguettes are in their second rise under a canopy of dusted linen and plastic. I'm glad they're under wraps. They are undeniably ugly. Instead of rolling out slender columns of dough, I created things that look like squat electric eels, large cucumbers, chubby rolling pins. I hadn't allowed the dough to rest long enough after pre-shaping. Darn.


Well, we'll see what I end up with in two hours.


Sylvia


Bronx-to-Barn Baker

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Well, dear readers, despite my recent silence on the subject I have not given up on my baguette quest!  For the last few weeks, however, I'd gotten a little sick of blogging about it.  This week was fairly successful, however, and so I want to share, and request some feedback.


The main change from previous bakes is that a little over a week ago I got a shipment of baking toys, I mean, equipment from TMB/San Francisco Baking Institute.  I got 2 yards of 18-inch linen couche, a lame/blade holder with razor blades, a proofing board (which I've been using as an all-purpose bench board), and a flipping board.  With these, I was certain, many of my problems would be resolved (specifically, excess degassing when shaping and transfering, and ragged scoring).  The first bake with the new equipment (last week) was a little rough, but this week I had things sorted out.


Exterior



Crumb - First Half



Crumb - Second Half



I'm getting there!  The slashing wasn't perfect, but it went much smoother with the new blade, resulting in at least two ears per baguette big enough to lift the loaf with.  Crust was decent if not exceptional, flavor was good.  Profile was nice and round, a nice change from some recent flatter bakes.  Crumb varied within the baguette I sliced (the one in the middle, up top) from good to great.


Here's where I'm looking for feedback: I'm still having problems with the crust bursting between cuts -- is this the result of under-proofing?  Or something else?  I could swear this batch was fully proofed, but I'm not necessarily a good judget of these things.


Happy baking, everyone,


-Ryan

Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul's picture
Paul Paul Paul ...

As my pilot entry I just want to do a little background about my bread baking, and then show pictures of my latest success.


So, I won't tell you that I used to always stand by my mom or dad's side, and eagerly noted every motion of everything they did, and passionately exclaimed "Ooh I want to be a CHEF when I grow up!" because that would be lying. No- my story is certainly not a Disney-esque, awe inspiring one, unless you want to hear about someone who spontaneously took on this new hobby, or lifestyle if you will. Hell- sounds a lot more interesting to me!


All throughout my life, anything I would see would firmly plant itself in my hand, and be hard to forget. Yes, as a kid I was definitely a "scaredy cat", little things would get mentioned, and like cement, it just stayed in my mind, all day. Especially nowadays, when there is a lot of work to come, and I am stressed out, man- I obsess over my work! I have minor OCD, what can I say?


But hey- it's not always a bad thing! I tend to have a great memory, which means good things and hobbies stick in my mind also. Before I talk about bread, I just want to really give an example by talking about my poker habit. One day, I was watching a documentary which followed around a professional poker player, and there sparked the new big thing in my life. All I could think about was POKER, POKER, POKER! Yikes- I didn't even know how to play poker.... But soon I was online, working to create a bankroll out of nothing.


Likewise is the story about baking (except that I have no idea what initially sparked my interest). Suddenly, I had the starting of a passion for baking. When talking to my mom about the idea of making bread, she exclaimed something like, "Why would you do that? We have a breadmaker that can do that all for you!" Yes, this was true, but it made bricks more than bread. Man over machine, I don't think she understood that concept for a while.


As my passion for bread grew, I took a very expensive private lesson with a baker in San Francisco as my holiday gift from my family, while at the same time I started to neglect my sourdough starter, but that's for another story. Anyways, now that you've read this "novel" I want to show you my latest creation, inspired by txfarmer's 36 hour baguettes! I made these baguettes with a poolish instead of sourdough starter, and a lot went wrong, but the outcome was great. As you'll see from the pictures, this was the worst looking baguette on the outside, but the best looking on the inside.


Open Crumb


 


Crust


Hope this wasn't too wordy of a first blog. I know that with most blogs I just scroll right down to the pictures and only read the blog if I like the pictures! By the way, I'm only fourteen. So yes, I play poker illegaly every day, I am an opinionated liberal, and I'm an innocent breadbaker. Bite me haha.

wally's picture
wally


One of the things I love about baguettes is that with just a little manipulation once they are proofed, you can take the "stick" and create an array of dinner rolls that are barely linked: the épi de blé is the obvious example.  But recently, after watching a video series called Formes de pains that a TFL member posted (and I can't recall who, so please shout out if you're reading this), I became fascinated with another forme using a baguette shape as the starting point: la margueritte.


So I decided to have a little fun, and instead of just creating my usual two or three baguettes, to play with them a bit.


The impetus was my attempt to arrive at a dough weight that I am happy with for the home baguette; something, in my case, that is maximum 16 - 17 inches long.  I've always made 10oz (283.5 g) baguettes, but I'm not altogether pleased.  Their girth is more appropriate to a sub roll than a classic baguette.  So I decided to go with 8oz (227.8 g) dough weight to see if that produced a slightly more lithe baguette - a ficelle, actually.


Because I wanted to play with the dough more than anything else, I decided to make a straight baguette, essentially using Hamelman's French Bread recipe, but decreasing the hydration to 69% and doing a hand, rather than machine, mix.  Bulk fermentation was a little over 3 hours, and folding was done in the container though sets of 8 folds at a time.  The initial fold was done 10 minutes after mixing, and then 2 additional folds were made at hour intervals.  The dough was divided and preshaped into 3 pieces with a 25 minute bench rest.


When it came time to roll out the baguettes, it was evident that the amount of folding had really increased the elasticity of the dough, even though I had done nothing more than a quick minute-and-a-half mix of the ingredients by hand.  So it was necessary to roll them out partially, let them stand another 5 minutes and then finish the shaping.


They were couched for 1 1/2 hours while I preheated the oven to 500 F.


I decided to place them on parchment paper on my peel to make loading more easy, and to construct la margueritte right on the parchment.


As you can see from the picture below, it is essentially a baguette with the tips of each end cut off (they are used to make the little dough ball in the middle which acts like a glue for the structure).  It is then cut diagonally into 6 more or less equal pieces, and they are place in a circle with the dough ball in the center.  The video for this can be found here.  It's quite easy to make and once formed the top is lightly dusted with flour and then each 'ear' is lightly slashed.


 


The epi, below, is of course simply the baguette shape cut diagonally with scissors with pieces then turned right and then left (or left and then right) and also dusted with flour.  


                                         


The oven was presteamed using SylviaH's method, and hot water was added to my lava rocks when I loaded the bread and then twice more in the initial 2 minutes.  The bake was at 475 F for 21 minutes, and I rotated the breads after 10 minutes to get even browning (made easier by the parchment paper they baked on).


Both la margueritte and the epi create, in effect, separate dinner rolls that are lightly conjoined.  It just seems such a unique and conversation-generating way to present rolls that otherwise would be placed in a basket and just passed around a table.  The videos present several other interesting ways of manipulating baguettes to create new formes de pains.


The ficelle turned out nicely as well, with its grignes opening up well.  Crumb shots below as well.


    


    


Methinks a tomato-basil bisque would be a wonderful sop for these!


Larry


 

mdunham21's picture
mdunham21

This weekend has been a smorgasbord of baked goods.  Friday afternoon i mixed together a poolish with the intentions of making poolish baguettes the following day.  I let the poolish sit out until it was nice and bubbling then retired it to the refrigerator for the next day.  I removed the poolish from the refrigerator and brought it to room temp while I prepared the main dough. 


I was working off of Peter Reinhart's poolish baguette recipe from BBA.  I sifted the wheat flour to remove the bran, i'm not sure if my sieve was fine enough to remove all the bran but it removed a large proportion of it.  I'm going to be a bit lazy in my blogging tonight and just post a few pictures, which will not include crumb shots because the crumb turned out piss poor.


I had to find something to do with the left over bran i sifted from the wheat flour.  I decided to make bran muffins, which I have never made before but thought i would try.  The recipe was a crap shoot a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I used a small portion of wheat flour to AP added some sugar some molasses, yeast, and buttermilk and an egg.  I topped the muffins with oats and baked them in a 350 degree oven until a toothpick came out clean.  I can't say I've ever had a bran muffin so I have nothing to compare them to, they seem to taste fine.  


I caught an episode of Diners Drive in's and Dives earlier this week, Guy Fieri happened upon a restaurant that featured cranberry and wild rice french toast.  The two ingredients seem like such an odd combination to me and I had to try it.  I pieced together a recipe and made a large sandwich loaf with a smaller free form loaf to go with it.  Needless to say, I can't wait for breakfast in the morning, I just wish I had some fresh maple syrup to go with it.  


As if this wasn't enough for one day, I decided to make sandwich loaves for the upcoming week.  The loaves are basic white loaves from The Bread Bible.  I don't eat a lot of white bread but this will have to do this week until I can make some whole grain loaves.  


Nope, not done yet.  The poolish baguette recipe calls for 7 ounces of poolish, which leaves a substantial amount for another application.  I am tossing around the idea of making a poolish pizza crust tomorrow, although I am still uncertain about a recipe at this point.  I have also decided to start the bread baker's apprentice challenge tomorrow.  I have already made quite a few of the recipes in the book but I will chalk that up to practice.  At any rate, I have the soaker for Anadama bread sitting on the counter top now, another post to follow.


 


Happy Baking,


-Matthew 



White Sandwich loaf before pre-shape


Sandwich loaves final proofing


White sandwich loaves final proof



Finished sandwich loaves



Crumb Shot


C


Mixture of the day's bake



Crumb shot of cranberry wild rice bread

wally's picture
wally

                                


This week I found time to come up for air and play with some of my Christmas toys, so I tried a little experimentation where I haven't been before, and also revisited familiar places where my skills can always improve.  The result is an interesting, but somewhat perplexing, apple-walnut sourdough, and more practice with croissants and my favorite poolish baguettes.


I've wanted to try an apple-walnut bread for some time, but frankly, I'm too lazy to either dry apples or buy dried apples.  So, my thought was this: why not puree an apple, make allowances for its hydration, and see what would result.  I used Hamelman's Vermont sourdough as my 'base' recipe.  To this I added a pureed Macintosh apple.  Now, according to my Google explorations, apples are about 85% water. Armed with this information, I adjusted the flour and water weights and mixed the dough, having built my levain over a 12 hour period.  The first thing I found is that even pureed, the apple has not released all of its water during the mix, so I ended up adding a small additional amount of water to reach a dough that felt right (Hamelman's Vermont sourdough is at 65% hydration, so I figure I upped it to about 68% - no big deal).


I mixed all ingredients except salt, did a 40 minute autolyse, and then added the salt and mixed for 3 minutes on speed 3 of my Hamilton Beach.  After, I added chopped walnuts and mixed on speed 1 for an additional minute.  Bulk fermentation was for 2 1/2 hours with two folds at 50 minute intervals.


The initial thing I noticed about this dough was that it was very slow in rising during the bulk fermentation.  After dividing and shaping, I left it for final proof downstairs where the temperature is a chilly 60 degrees F.  After 5 hours I was not satisfied with its progress and brought it upstairs to a more hospitable 68 degrees where it proofed for an additional 2 hours before baking.


Now, if this were simply Hamelman's Vermont sourdough both the fermentation and final proof would have been accomplished much sooner (unless I opted to retard overnight).  But with the addition of the apple and walnuts, the levain worked much, much more slowly.


The bake was fine - there was noticeable though not spectacular oven spring.  The profile, as you can see, is not bad, but not what I am used to when baking this recipe without additions.


    


Good things: instead of pieces of apple in the finished product, there are flecks of the peel and a nice, but not overwhelming flavor of apple, with some additional sweetness it brings.  The walnuts are a perfect complement.  The bread is surprisingly moist and has stayed fresh much longer than a straight sourdough.


I do wonder if there is something in the pureed apple that inhibits the levain (cue for anyone to offer opinions, or better yet, definitive answers).


Following the sourdough experiment I decided that, it being wintry and cold - outside and in my kitchen - it was a good time to revisit croissants.  Lately I've spent some time with our pastry bakers at work rolling out croissants, so I've developed some confidence in my shaping and overall in the feel, texture and thickness of the dough.  The results, shown below, were accomplished using a recipe adapted from Dan DiMuzio's excellent textbook, Bread Baking.  I laminated the dough using two single-folds and one double (book) fold.  I'm pretty pleased with the outcome and the crumb.  As with everything in baking, I'm finding that the 'secret' is pretty simple: practice, practice, practice.


    


Finally, I wanted to bake something for my friends at my local pub (which also supplies me with Sir Galahad flour in 50# bags), so I did a bake of poolish baguettes taken from Hamelman's recipe.  I've tweaked his to up the 68% hydration slightly via the poolish, but when I did the poolish mix last night, his recipe was closer to me than my spreadsheet, so this is straight from Bread.  I like it particularly because it demonstrates the openness of crumb that's attainable with a hydration that is not overly high.


I'm including a picture below of the ripened poolish for the benefit of anyone who is not familiar with what this should look like.  What I'd like to call attention to are the small rivulets of bubbles that have formed, displacing for the most part larger bubbles that dominate under-ripened poolishes. (And actually, this could have ripened for probably another 20 minutes or so, but my schedule pronounced it 'done' - and in any event I'd prefer a slightly under-ripened poolish to an over-ripened one).



Here are the 10 oz 17" baguettes (mini baguettes really) that emerged from my new FibraMent baking stone after 23 minutes at a temp of about 450 degrees F.


    


Aside from the few slices shown here, the rest was quickly devoured by patrons and kitchen staff at the Old Brogue Irish Pub.


    


Larry


 


 

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