The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Well, this week was a little disappointing one in baguette land.


I only made two seemingly minor (intentional) changes from last week:  First, I endeavored to proof until the baguettes "felt ready" (about 65 minutes this week), rather than waiting for a 75 minute proof.  That I think went well.  Second, I switched from KA Bread Flour to Stone Buhr White Bread Flour.  I generally prefer the Stone-Buhr, but my local grocery stores stopped stocking it.  Last week,  all of a sudden Save-Mart had a small supply with a "Close-Out" price-tag, and I snapped up 3 bags while I had the chance.  In the past, I've gotten much more sweet, nutty wheat flavor out of the Stone-Buhr in breads that rely heavily on the flour for flavor, such as baguettes. In particular, Stone-Buhr gave better results than the KA, Gold Medal, or the Sunny-Select store brand with Peter Reinhart's formula for pain a l'ancienne, which I used to make pretty frequently.  For several editions of my weekly baguette quest, when I've liked the shape and scoring, but not the flavor, I've wondered if a little Stone-Buhr would fix everything.


Anyway, the big problem this week is that the poolish over-proofed after only 10 hours on my counter--I could smell the booziness of it but forged ahead, and ended up with somewhat pale, chewy bread. Ah well. The big question is this: why did it overproof so fast?  I have a few potential theories:



  1. The flour is to blame: Perhaps Stone Buhr has more free sugars, which explains my experience of great flavor, and a fast proof.

  2. The yeast is to blame: I may have over-yeasted the poolish.  I've been trying to approximate 1/16 teaspoon of yeast by half-filling a 1/8 teaspoon measure, and it isn't easy.

  3. My apartment is to blame: The apartment was a bit warmer than usual Saturday morning when I took temperatures in order to figure out the right water temp.


Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Anyway, here are the results.  Only two baguettes are pictured because I sent one home with my parents (who had stopped by to see their grand-daughter) prior to taking a picture.  Take my word for it that baguette #3 looked much like #1 and #2.


Exterior


 

Crumb

Crust was pale, and very tough and chewy.  Scoring placement was pretty good, although I'm thinking part of the problem is that I'm not scoring deep enough.  Crumb was moderately open, but oddly dry.  Flavor wasn't too bad despite all that.

At least I had more luck with my Sunday bake, a rendition of dmsnyder's lovely San Joaquin Sourdough.  Haven't sampled the inside, but the outsides look nice and they smell phenomenal.  Still, for a picture I decided they needed a cute-ness enhancer.

 

houstonwong's picture

A visit to Gosselin in Paris

November 21, 2010 - 9:34am -- houstonwong

This is one of my first posts, though I've been a long-time and avid viewer.


Last month I was in Paris and had a chance to visit a few bakeries. So I thought I'd share some pics here with everyone.


This post is about Gosselin's bakery. I went to the one on St Honore St (the original?) but these photos are from his other bakery on St Germain St.


Shop on St Germain

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Staying home and looking after my wife and new baby has given me all kinds of time to bake, which includes my weekly batch of baguettes.  This week was intended to be the same as last week but without the errors imposed by my wife going into labor, but let me take this opportunity to reiterate my formula and process:


Poolish



  • 5.3 oz. bread flour

  • 5.3 oz. water

  • 1/16 tsp yeast


Final Dough



  • 10.7 oz. bread flour

  • 5.3 oz. water

  • 5/8 tsp yeast

  • 0.3 oz. salt


Process:



  1. Mix Poolish night before, let sit ~10 -1/2 hours 

  2. Mix all ingredients with wooden spoon, let sit 5 minutes  

  3. Mix in mixer ~2 minutes until the dough windowpanes

  4. 30 folds in the bowl with a rubber spatula

  5. Ferment 1 hour, stretch and fold

  6. Ferment 1 hour more, divide into 9 oz. pieces, pre-shape oblong (I do a modified version of Hamelman's pre-shaping technique for boules--fold in half, then tuck the dough into itself with the fingers.  For an oblong, on the last tuck I twist my wrists inward such that it turns into a stubby torpedo shape)  

  7. Rest 10-20 minutes

  8. Shape as baguettes--I've been doing the "fold over the thumb and press" technique, twice in one direction and then once in the other, sealing the last against the work surface.

  9. Place on couche, cover with the folds  

  10. Proof 1 hour, 15 minutes  

  11. Pre-heat oven and stone to 535 degrees at least 45 minutes before baking. Place two metal loaf pans in the oven on a rack below the stone.

  12. Transfer baguettes to parchment on a sheet pan, score.  

  13. Pull the loaf pans out of the oven.  Soak two towels in a bowl of very hot water (my tap water gets plenty hot), transfer to the loaf pans  

  14. Slide parchment onto stone, load steam pans, lower temp to 485.  

  15. Bake 26 minutes, removing the steam pans and turning the baguettes around after 10.


This week's results:


Exterior:


 

Crumb

From Food

 

Bottoms

 

I find this week's results puzzling.  The exterior had a good color, but burnt on the bottoms.  I had good placement on the slashes, but either not enough depth, or not enough angle, or a little overproofing.  Flavor was good, though last week's was better.  Crust was still a bit chewy, not like the lovely crisp crust I got in week 5.  Crumb was fairly tight (the section in the picture was as good as it got--most of the baguettes were tighter than this)  Linked to the quality of the slashes?

 I'm thinking that I overproofed just slightly this week, and possibly degassed a bit much when I was making my slashes.  Last week when I got such good results I didn't know for certain how long I'd proofed, but I think it may have been closer to 65-70 minutes rather than 75.  Or the baguettes just proofed faster this time.  I need to watch the dough, not the clock, I guess.  This would be consistent with my results in week 5 as well--burnt bottoms, hit-or-miss appearance of gringe.  But I don't really know what I'm talking about, so feel free to correct me.

Next week then, a slightly shorter/more sensitive proof, and I think I might experiment with alternate shaping methods, see if one of those gives me better results.

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Last Saturday I made my sixth consecutive attempt at baking Hamelman's Baguettes With Poolish.  My report on it is very late, and my procedure had a couple of forced errors (for a very good reason I'll get to in a moment), but I got some very good results nonetheless.


The key factor affecting both the late report and the minor errors in production is that when I measured my poolish at 10:30pm on Friday night, my wife at that time was exactly 40 weeks pregnant.  Her water broke a little before 7am on Saturday.  We were off to the hospital and I was more than ready to write the poolish off as a loss, but the midwife sent us home to wait for labor to begin in earnest, and so when we got home at 10am, I set about making my baguettes to pass the time.


So I had a poolish that was slightly overfermented (if you haven't been following this series of  blog posts, I've found that I need to start the final dough after 10-ish hours for best results).  I went ahead anyway, prepared to toss the whole thing if we had to run to the hospital.  As it happened, I got the baguettes made and out of the oven while my wife was still having sporadic contractions.  As with last week, I tried extending the final proof to 75 minutes (up from 60 in previous bakes), although I may have been off by a few minutes, since my wife and I went for a long walk during the proof in order to get contractions going, and I didn't pay close enough attention to the time (I'd set the timer for 60 minutes, and it had gone off when we got back, but that was all I knew).


We headed out to the hospital for real just before dinner time, but I ended up cutting into one of the baguettes and scarfing it down while my wife was on the phone with the midwife.


The Results: Exterior


The Results: Crumb

The baguettes were a little pale, and the crust a little chewier than last week--both results of the poolish over-fermenting, I'm pretty sure.  The cuts are much improved, though I still need to put a little more angle on them so they don't merge so much.  The crumb on the baguette I cut was great in some places, but a little tight in others.  However, the texture of the crumb was just lovely--finally creamy rather than at all fluffy.  The flavor was up a couple notches from previous weeks as well.   I think if I do everything the same, but get the poolish right next week, I should be well on my way (though it will take much more practice to get the cuts and crumb reliable, I'm sure).

So I'm fairly proud of these baguettes.  That said, I am infinitely prouder of the other "bun" pulled out of the oven last weekend, my beautiful daughter Miriam Bell Sandler, born at 12:18 pm on November 7th.

proth5's picture
proth5

I was away from home and baking for a long time, but now I'm back (at least in the way that I count as being "at home.")


I had the chance to be with one of my oldest friends and some of his friends the other night and it hit me like a ton of bricks that my time in Okinawa had changed me in some pretty profound ways and that I will never be quite the same person ever again.  I think it all came out on the plus side, but the changes are real.


 So why keep baking the same old bread?  So I decided to goose up some of my formulas.


 The bear is still getting me as I get my hand skills back (Will I ever be happy with my scoring? No.  I'm learning to live with that.) and of course, if you change everything, consistency (which is the bugaboo of little minds, but is something I like) takes a backseat.  But though I'm not a picture taker the levain baguettes this week were worth a snap.


Levain baguette 68


 Formula (I'm leaving the math as an exercise because so many people like grams and I'm an ounces an pounds kind of gal.)


 Using KA AP flour.


 Liquid levain from liquid seed (inoculation 20%)


12% of the flour pre fermented


Hydration - a whopping 68% (!)


Salt 2%


 Method:


Flour, pre ferment, and water into the mixer (hooray I finally got me that mini spiral!) mix to shaggy mass.  Autolyse for 20 minutes.


 Add salt.


 Mix 5 minutes on the sole speed.  (could be mixed by hand using the "fold in the bowl" method)


 5 hours total bulk ferment, one fold.


 Pre shape (in oblongs - yes, I'm going rogue!)


 Shape.


 Proof on couche 1 or so hours - seam up.


 Score.


Bake at 500F for 4 minutes with steam then 14 minutes at 480F with convection.  Remove from oven.


 


Bear is still getting me on the scoring, but that crumb is getting to look pretty nice (too bad I can't take pictures - it never was "my thing" and I'm thinking that part of me didn't change.)  The crumb is profoundly yellow and the taste as always.  Crust stays crispy even after cooling.


And I'm loving that new oven.  Singing loaves every time!


 


I'm also working with a commercially yeasted baguette with two pre ferments, but that isn't ready yet.  Stay tuned.


For any Marines out there - my best wishes as the anniversary of the founding of the Marine Corps approaches.  Stay safe.  And if I may say it "oorah!"


 


Happy Baking!

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

I didn't get around to posting yesterday, but I made my 5th weekly batch of Hamelman's baguette's with Poolish.


I had a whole story about what I changed from last week and why, but accidentally hit reload and lost it all.  So I'll be brief.  The changes this week:



I forgot to turn the oven on when I meant to and did a final proof of 75 minutes instead of 60, while raised the preheat temperature to 550 for only 30 minutes to compensate for the stone being cold.


The Results: Exterior


 

Results: Crumb

 

I had a lot less luck with scoring this week--the lame kept dragging rather than cutting cleanly.  I'm not sure if this was from proofing longer--I also didn't cover the baguettes as thoroughly with the folds of my make-shift couche as I have been doing.  Crumb is clearly pretty tight, which is probably my fault; I still need more practice at being sufficiently gentle with these baguettes (or could that be over-proofing too?).  That said, the crumb had a nicer texture to it than I've been getting, and better flavor as well.  The crust was great--crisp all around, and just a little chewy.  A little over-dark on the bottom on account of overheating the stone, but even that wasn't too bad.  If I never get my crust any better, I think I could live with that.

I'm really not sure if this week's batch  was overproofed, or if other problems led to my scoring and crumb issues.  I'm going to stick with the 75 minute proof and see what happens if I do everything else right.  So my plan for next week is to change nothing except a) Be even more gentle when shaping, and b) be more careful about covering the baguettes while proofing.  I'll see how it goes.

Happy baking, everyone.

-Ryan

 

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

The adventure continues!


In this weeks edition of Hamelman's Baguette's with Poolish, I made three modifications to the process from last week (well, more like two and a half:



  • Reduced the yeast in the poolish.  I've been preparing a half batch of dough relative to Hamelman's "Home" proportions, but until now I haven't reduced the yeast in the poolish,  which sounds quite foolish until you realize that the yeast measurement is 1/8 tsp, and nearly every yeasted preferment in the book calls for 1/8 tsp of yeast, regardless of size.  Anyway, I've been feeling like there's a degree of flavor and texture missing, as well as the presence of a pronounced alcohol smell about the poolish (and then the finished dough to some extent).  So I approximated a 1/16 tsp of yeast in 5.3 oz. each of flour and water.  

  • Tried to handle the dough more gently during shaping and preshaping. 

  • Last week I forgot to turn the oven down after loading the baguettes, so this week I made sure not to do that!


 


After 11 hours the poolish was bubbly and had a pungent aroma with just a hint of maybe some alcohol in the background.  It's possible I could have fermented it even less with no ill effects.  One of these weeks, I may try making three tiny batches of dough with three tiny batches of poolish, and test just what results I get from different amounts of time and yeast.


The Results: Crust



 

Crumb:


I was pretty happy with this batch.  Definitely better than before, although clearly not there yet.  I'm not sure if it's clear from the picture, but the crust was definitely a darker color than previous batches, with the same amount of baking time.  This lends some credence to my notion that the poolish was overfermenting somewhat before (or so I understood it from Larry last week--I'm happy to stand corrected on this!).  My slashing is getting more consistent, although unfortunately the scores are consistently too close together as well! Believe it or not, the one in the middle actually had four discrete slashes before it went into the oven...

Crumb was definitely better than last week, although not quite up to where I want it to be.  Texture-wise, also a bit less fluffy and more creamy than before, but still somewhat fluffy.  Flavor was also better--I'm finally starting to get some of the nice nutty notes that I remember from my lucky breaks with this dough.  Just some of them, however.  Crust was thin and crisp on top, but thick and chewy on the bottom--I think you can even see it in the picture.  Not sure what that's all about--possibly a result of leaving the baguettes in to crisp a little more with the oven turned off?

Next week: Further reduction of the yeast in the poolish -- worst case scenario it isn't ready to go when I want to start mixing at 9am, and I start the bread a little later, right?  Also, time to start experimenting with steaming methods.  I'm really intrigued by the steaming method SylviaH posted earlier this week. I would have tried it today, but I didn't want to conflate the results of not goofing up the oven temperature with the effects of the steaming method.

As always, any tips, comments, or smart remarks are welcome and appreciated,

-Ryan

banguette's picture

Dense crumb problems when making sourdough baguette from natural yeast starter

October 23, 2010 - 10:38am -- banguette

I've been baking using a natural sounrdough starter I made from wild yeasts based on the Joy of Cooking recipe where you add 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup water every twelve hours over the course of a few days until it's bubbly and active from wild yeasts. I've tried a few different types of breads, but I'm mostly trying to make a white baguette with the sourdough starter as the only yeast.

MadAboutB8's picture
MadAboutB8

Finally, I got over my procrastination of making baguettes and got on with making one.


My first attempt wasn't great and wasn't too bad either. There are things that I've learnt and will take them to my next bake. There were no issues with the taste and the dough strengths and extensibility. 


The issues I had with this bake were scoring, underestimation of the baguette size when it's fully-proof (i.e. it extended beyond my baking tray), baguette transfer from couche to baking tray.


 


 



 My home-made couche from an off-cut of IKEA curtain:)



Garlic and parsley baguettes with a mussels in white wine, yummy dinner!


You can also fine more details and photo in the below links.


http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com/2010/10/first-time-making-baguettes.html


Sue

rockcreek's picture

Bake-Ahead Baguettes

October 21, 2010 - 8:01am -- rockcreek

Hi everybody: first time posting here, so I hope I'm putting this in the appropriate forum. I'm trying to make a lot of BBA poolish baguettes for a Saturday morning bake sale, and as much as I'd philosophically like to stay up all night Friday baking, that's not happening. Can anyone suggest what I can do tomorrow to help preserve as much freshness and flavor as I can until Saturday morning?


80% bake? Oven refresh on Saturday morning? (I will be getting up early on Saturday, so I'll have some to get the oven going.)


Thanks in advance!

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