The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


dmsnyder's picture


I had thought that, when I retired, I would tackle more complex breads and pastries. So far, my inclinations have been otherwise. I have been working on simpler recipes that can produce good breads with lesser time demands. Go figure.

This bread is an example. A baguette sur poolish is a classic bread. It can be produced in 5-6 hours (not counting the overnight fermentation of the poolish) and is at its peak of quality as soon as it has cooled. Yesterday I baked a sourdough adaptation of this classic bread, starting in the late morning to have fresh-baked baguettes with our dinner.

Liquid levain

Baker's %

Wt. (g)

Flour mix






Firm starter (50% hydration)







  • The “Flour mix” is 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% whole rye flour.

  • I used my stock starter to feed the levain. It is kept at 50% hydration. Adjusting for this, the actual levain hydration is 89%.

Mix the levain ingredients and ferment for 8-12 hours. (My levain quadrupled in 6 hours and was refrigerated overnight.)

Final Dough

Wt (g)

AP flour


Water (80-90º F, if cold levain)




Liquid levain




Note: The final dough hydration is 66%, accounting for the water and flour in the levain.


  1. Dissolve the liquid levain in the water.

  2. Add the flour, and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Add the salt, and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Bulk ferment at 75º F for 3 hours with stretch and folds at 30, 60, 90 and 135 minutes.

  6. Divide into 3 equal pieces and pre-shape as logs.

  7. Rest for 15-30 minutes, covered.

  8. Shape as baguettes and proof on a couche for 75-90 minutes.

  9. Transfer baguettes to a peel and score.

  10. Bake at 450º F with steam for 22-25 minutes. (I baked for 12 minutes with steam at 450º F then for 10 minutes at 425º F convection bake.)

  11. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.


The crust was thin and crisp – as close to a classic baguette crust as I have produced with sourdough. The crumb was moderately open and chewy. The flavor was moderately sour – more sour than I expected. It was very nice with our dinner of soup (krupnick) and salad (lettuce with pecans, dried cranberries and Point Reyes blue cheese with a mustard vinaigrette).


Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture

I have made baguettes following many different formulas. Some of the most interesting have been various versions of “pain à l'anciènne,” including those of Reinhart in The Bread Baker's Apprentice and of Leader in Local Breads. Sometime back in 2008, I found an e-mail that Peter Reinhart had sent to a bread bakers' Usenet mailing list in 2003 which described the formula for pain à l'anciènne as he got it directly from Philippe Gosselin. The version that ended up in BBA was simplified somewhat by Reinhart, adding all the ingredients before the mixing, omitting the double hydration and delayed addition of the salt.

When I first made baguettes from Gosselin's original method, they were the best-tasting ones I had ever made. I finally got to taste Gosselin's baguettes tradition (from the rue Caumartin shop) last year. To my taste, they had a bit of a tang suggesting they might have been made with levain, so I modified the formula to use a liquid levain and found I preferred the result to that leavened with commercial yeast. In fact, I preferred what I had baked to Gosselin's own.

This is the version I used for today's bake:



Baker's %

Organic AP Flour

400 g


Ice Water

275 g



8.75 g


Liquid Levain

200 g


Instant yeast (optional)

¼ tsp



883.75 g


Notes: 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%.

For today's bake, I made 3/4 of the dough amount in the table above.

I mixed the levain the night before starting on these and retarded it in the fridge overnight. 


  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 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.

Notes: In Step 7., I specify shaping the loaves by simply stretching the dough pieces into a rough baguette shape. This is a very slack dough and a challenge to handle as one might a lower-hydration baguette dough. If you are very comfortable handling slack dough, have a firm grasp of the “iron hand in a velvet glove” principal and are feeling up to the challenge, you can shape the pieces as you would shape a baguette ordinarily. That is, in fact, what I did for this bake.

You will also note that I scored these baguettes with a single, longitudinal slash. I find the results more satisfactory than the traditional 5 or 7 cuts when scoring a very sticky dough like this. However, the difference is merely cosmetic.

These baguettes had a chewy crust, except for the ears, which were crunchy. I think they could have baked 5 minutes longer, or I could have left them in the turned off oven for another 5-7 minutes to dry the crust. The crumb was nice and open. The flavor was sweet, complex and moderately tangy. I attribute this to a combination of factors – retarding the levain overnight and fermenting the dough, after the final mixing, at 85 dF.

This baguette is still a favorite.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

dabrownman's picture


It has been a while since we did our Hemp Bag take on Empress Ying’s 36 hour baguettes.  The last time the hemp seeds made for some pretty dopey baking according to Hanseata.  She is rarely wrong when it comes to seeds and especially  ….eeerrrr…. baking with them.   They were delicious baguettes but lacked full depth of flavor and tasty character of a bread that has at least 15% whole grains in it.


Luckily EY (Empress Ying) has already set the standard for multi-grain baguettes here like she has for 36 hour baguettes galaxy wide here:  They are terrific!

 Of course I didn't find her perfect post until after my bake was done so all of the good things I learned from it were not used :-)  Her experiment starts at 20% whole grain and moves up to 40% and she increases her hydration as the whole grain rise with 80% hydro for her 20% whole grain version.


I kept my hydration at 75% for this 16% version but would have used 78% had I thought properly even without her post.  I know it sounds like a lot to expect from a doofus like me but my apprentice has been testy of late and asleep at the oven much of the time.


My whole grains were different than txfarmer’s too.  We used spelt, rye and whole wheat.  Our 36 hours was different than hers too and wasn't even 36 hours either.   We just can’t seem to stick to any kind of schedule since we retired.  Instead of a 12 hour autolyse, we did a 6 hour room temperature one with the salt.


After the mix of levain and autolyse came together, we did 8 minutes of French slap and folds because my apprentice loves the sound of the dough smacking the marble - makes her go insane and start barking very loudly until things quiet down.  After a 15 minute rest we continued on with (3) S&F’s every 30 minutes for the next hour and a half.   We allowed the dough to ferment for an hour before we retarded it for 20 hours instead of 24.  We then took it out of the fridge with the intent of baking it but after 1 hour of warm up, pre-shape, final shape (16” long) and into a rice floured basket for final proof, we only let it proof for an hour and then chucked it into a plastic trash can liner and into the fridge for another 14 hours of retard. 


EY said that she thought it could stand some more hours of retard and Ian just gave it 30 so we though a total of 34 hours of retard instead of 24 might be OK if the bread gods were too drunk on godliness to notice. 


After the 2nd retard was done we let the dough, still inside the trash can liner sit on the counter for 3 hours before firing up Old Betsy at 500 F for a 45 minute pre-heat with 2 of Sylvia’s steaming bread pans on the bottom rack with the stone on the rack above.

The baguettes were upturned onto the parchment lined peel, poorly slashed 4 times each, this type of massacre should be illegal by the way,  and slid onto the stone with a ½ cup of water thrown into the bottom of the oven as we closed to door to make sure the steam was maximized. We immediately turned the oven down to 450 F and let the bread steam for 10 minutes.


The steam was removed, the oven turned down to 425 F convection this time, and the baguettes were baked for another 15 minutes.  The baguettes were turned 180 degrees every 5 minutes for the last 15 minutes to make sure they baked evenly.


When we test them for temperature they were already at 210 F so we took then out of the oven and put them on the cooling rack.  They were very crispy (and stayed that way), blistered, nicely browned and we could hold them up by the ears – well at least 1 of the 2 we could.  The slashing was still primitive - practice isn't helping much  -  but no giving up is allowed :-)


What surprised us was the crumb was not as open as we wanted and thought we would get after our last baguette bake and the even our last boule bake for that matter.  Well you can’t have everything, every time like Empresses do unless you know what you are doing and do it :-)  Maybe starting off with 8 minutes of French Slap and folds was not the right thing to do. 

Do you think it would help if we followed txfarmer’s directions exactly?  Possibly!  Well, tell that to my apprentice!These baguettes do taste great, much better than plain white ones or even ones with hemp seeds in them with our taste buds.  Can’t wait to have some bruschetta tonight.

16% Whole Multi-grain Baguettes







Build 1


Rye Sour Starter


















Total Starter






Total Starter






Levain % of Total






Dough Flour






Whole Spelt



Dark Rye



Whole Wheat



Dough Flour












Dough Hydration






Total Flour






T. Dough Hydration



Whole Grain %






Total Weight




isand66's picture

A couple of weeks ago I tried TxFarmer's 36 hour sourdough version but I had some issues transferring the rested baguettes to my oven and the results were less than stellar.  After experimenting with a different formula for a couple of bakes I decided to go back to this recipe and see if I could get some better results.

I think this time I achieved something close to the crust and crumb that TxFarmer creates.  These ended up being the best one's I've made to date and tasted excellent with a nice light and crisp crust and chewy crumb.  The only thing I need to improve is my shaping and transferring from the couche to the peel and baking stone.  I just purchased a new larger couche and flip board so I'm anxious to see how that turns out.

I also want to try this formula with some changes and additions and see if I can still get a nice open crumb.  I also want to try this in a batard and boule when I get a chance, but maybe with a slightly lower hydration.

For the recipe and directions please visit TxFarmer's blog post above.

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here:

Misty wants you to know she prefers mice to bread any day.

isand66's picture

Over the last few weeks I have been experimenting with making different styles and recipes for baguettes.  A couple of weeks ago I tried TxFarmer's 36 hour sourdough version but I had some issues transferring the rested baguettes to my oven and the results were less than stellar.  This time I decided to concentrate on a recipe from Dave Snyder for his "Rustic Sourdough Baguettes after Phillipe Gosselin".  This recipe is also similar to Peter Reinhart's formula for Pain a l' Ancienne from The Bread Bakers Apprentice where he uses yeast and no starter.

I wanted to give Dave's recipe a try using Yeast Water instead of a sourdough starter and I also wanted to incorporate some Durum flour into the mix.  I created a Durum Yeast Water starter over 3 builds and also used some KAF French Style flour in the final dough which is medium protein, high ash flour which is supposed to mimic the flour used in France for their world-famous baguettes.

The only mistake I made on this recipe was the forming of the baguettes.  I knew I should have re-read the directions from TBBA but I was too lazy and paid the price.  I didn't use nearly enough flour to control the extremely wet 75% dough and had a difficult time forming them into baguettes without man-handling them.  The final result turned out pretty good with a nice open crumb and sweet nutty flavor.  Keep in mind this dough is very wet and is not meant to form the baguettes in the normal fashion.  You basically just pat the dough out into a rough rectangle and cut 3-4 strip and carefully stretch them out to form a baguette.


Yeast Water Starter Build 1

60 grams Durum  Flour (KAF)

60 grams Yeast Water Starter

Mix the flour and Yeast Water in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 4 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed to build 2.

Build 2

Add ingredients below to starter from above and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

100 grams Durum Flour

100 grams Yeast Water

Build 3

Add flour to starter from above and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or until bubbly and either use immediately or put in the refrigerator for the next day.

60 grams Durum Flour

60 grams Yeast Water

(Note: I made extra starter since I wanted to use this for another bake.  You can cut the amounts down to make the 200 grams needed in the recipe)

Main Dough Ingredients

100 grams Durum Flour

300 grams French Style Flour (You can use AP flour to substitute)

200 grams  Yeast Water Durum Levain from above

275  grams Ice Water

8.75 grams Sea Salt or Table Salt


Build your Yeast Water levain the day before you are ready to bake or start in the morning the day before you want to bake the actual baguettes.

The evening before you want to bake, mix the mature levain with the flours and 225 grams of the ice water.  (I measured the water and added a few ice cubes for a minute and then removed the cubes and measured again).  Immediately put the flour mixture in the refrigerator in a covered greased bowl.  (Note: you can follow Dave's original recipe and substitute your 100% hydration sourdough starter for the Yeast Water starter).

The next morning, (Due to my schedule as we took a ride out east to buy some pumpkins and taste some wine I didn't prepare the dough until about 8 PM),  add the salt and 50 grams of ice water to the dough and mix using your hands until all the water is absorbed into the flour.  You will have to squish the dough and the water together for a few minutes until all the water is absorbed.  I did this in the same bowl the dough was resting in the refrigerator in, but you can transfer to a clean oiled bowl if desired.

Cover the bowl with the dough and ferment at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume which should take around 3 hours.  Every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours do a stretch and fold in the bowl.

About one hour before ready to bake, set your oven for 500 degrees F.and make sure you prepare it for steam.  I have a baking stone on the top shelf and the bottom and use a heavy-duty rimmed baking pan that I pour 1 cup of boiling water into right as I put the loaves into the oven.

After 3 hours or when the dough has doubled, transfer the dough to your well floured work surface (use about 1/2 cup of flour).  Sprinkle more flour onto the top of the  dough if necessary and using a wet dough scraper and wet hands pat the dough out into an oblong .  Be careful not to degas the dough or you will lose all of the nice big open holes you are looking for.  Cut the dough using your metal dough scraper into 4 strips and transfer them with floured hands to a piece of parchment paper on the back of a baking sheet.  Gently coax the dough until it is about 12-14 inches long.  You may need to let it rest for 5 minutes to relax before doing this step.  Score the dough as best as you can.  You may have to dip the blade in ice water between each cut.

When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 460 degrees.  It should take around 20 minutes to bake  until the baguettes  are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 - 205 degrees F.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 20 minutes or so before eating as desired.

The results were pretty good with a nice open crumb and light but crispy crust.  I will certainly try this one again and hopefully follow my own directions about shaping this time!

dmsnyder's picture

Watching the development of baking skills and the endless creativity of TFL members gives me enormous enjoyment. When I find members using formulas or techniques I have contributed and taking them to new and exciting places, I am especially thrilled. I can think of no better example than what txfarmer has done with the Anis Bouabsa and Phillip Gosselin formulas I first explored as part of my “baguette quest” in the Spring and Summer of 2008. Her “36 hours+ sourdough baguettes” (See 36 hours+ sourdough baguette - everything I know in one bread for her original, basic formula.) have been visually stunning as well as technically intriguing. It was with great anticipation that I followed her formula and procedures this weekend to make a batch myself.

My only modification of txfarmer's procedure was that I fermented the dough prior to dividing and shaping at 85 dF for 1 hour. I generally scale baguettes to 250 g to fit my baking stone. Her formula makes about 900 g of dough. I divided this into 3 pieces of 299 g each and shaped them to (barely) fit on my stone. I baked the baguettes for 12 minutes with steam at 460 dF conventional bake then for another 12 minutes at 435 dF in a dry oven using convection bake. In hindsight, I should have baked them for about 2 minutes less. They sang when taken out to cool and smelled delicious!


The crust was very crunchy and the crumb satisfyingly open, although not as open as some of the amazing baguettes txfarmer has shown us. The flavor of the bread was complex, nutty and sweet with moderate sourdough tang.

I do believe I have a new favorite sourdough baguette.




Mason's picture

Scoring problems with Baguettes

May 25, 2012 - 1:58pm -- Mason

Hi Everyone,

I am playing with a highish hydration dough for baguettes using DonD's method and amounts for Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation

I have been baking for many years now, and have yet to develop a consistent grigne on my baguettes.  Certainly I can't get anything as elegant as Don's scoring.  Everything seems to go fine, except the scoring.   

peteryoung's picture

Splitting seams on Baguettes

April 16, 2012 - 5:47am -- peteryoung

Hi, I am Peter Young in Nottingham UK

I have been making bread for a while, but I am currently struggling with baguette seams splitting.

I think it's because I'm not sealing the seams properly during shaping (and perhaps the ends, but then

I usually just roll the ends to a point).  I've heard a bit about 'tension' but I am not sure how to achieve it.

Any suggestions would be welcome.




dabrownman's picture

I have been wanting to do some whole rye and whole wheat SD baguettes that has at least 20% whole grains.  I wasn't going for holes but for taste.  The starter was a Rye and WW one as well.   I also told teketeke that I would try her baguettes she makes with YW and I am becoming a real YW convert  Since her baggies are YW using white flours, this doesn't qualify for doing hers yet but I didn't want her to think I had forgotten. The SD is nice and sour and YW is not.  Both have the same moist crumbthat is fairly open for so much whole flours.   I am OK with the slashing and know it could have been worse. :-)  The YW did spring slightly more.

Below left is SD and Right is YW.

Slash of SD below

Slash on the YW

Crumb shots follow SD top adn YW bottom

Close ups YW first

SD below

Below SD is on top

Method was the same for both.  Levain build in 3 stages over 12 hours and then retarded in the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning the levains were allowed to sit out on the counter for 1 hour to warm up.  The entire levain was placed in the mixer with half of the flour, 75% of the water and the rye malt.  This is mixed on KA 4 with the wisk for 4 minutes.  Then it autolysed for 30 minutes covered.

The rest of the flour and water is added and the dough hook goes on to knead for 4 minutes on KA 3.  Then the salt goes in and you knead on KA 3 for 2 more minutes.  The dough goes into a covered and oiled bowl to rest.  5 S& F's are done on an oiled counter 4 times every 15 minutes.  The the dough is formed into a ball and sits in the covered oiled bowl on the counter for an hour and half before going into the fridge for 22 hours. 

The next morning the dough sits on the counter for 1 1/2 hours to warm up and then is shaped, placed in a floured couche and then into a plastic bag for final proofing.  Mine took 3 hours. 

Preheat at 500 F regular bake with stone and steam in place.  Slash the baguettes and put into the oven to steam for 8 minutes.  Remove steam, turn down to 450 F convection and bake for another 8 min or so until done.  Here are the formulas.

YW Baggies  - All numbers in grams          
SD Starter     Dough Flour % Multigrain Sprouts%
 Build 1B 2 B 3Total% Rye303.89% Buckwheat 0.00%
SD Starter   00.00% WW303.89% WW 0.00%
Rye   00.00% Buckwheat 0.00% Rye 0.00%
WW   00.00% Spelt 0.00% Bulgar 0.00%
Buckwheat   00.00% Farro 0.00% Barley 0.00%
Dark Rye   00.00% Barley 0.00% Spelt 0.00%
WWW   00.00% 6 Grain Cereal 0.00% Water 0.00%
Bread Flour   00.00% Millet 0.00% Total Sprouts00.00%
AP   00.00% Amranth 0.00%    
Water   00.00% Lentils 0.00% Scald  
Total00000.00% Dark Rye 0.00% Buckwheat 0.00%
       Semolina 0.00% WW 0.00%
YW Starter     Bulgar 0.00% Rye 0.00%
 Build 1B 2 B 3Total% Oats 0.00% Bulgar 0.00%
Yst Water60301010012.95% White WW 0.00% Barley 0.00%
Rye   00.00% Potato Flakes50.65% Spelt 0.00%
WW   00.00% Ground Flax Seed 0.00% Water 0.00%
Buckwheat   00.00% Bread Flour 0.00% Total Scald00.00%
Dark Rye   00.00% AP25032.38%    
WWW   00.00% Dough Flour31540.80% Add - Ins  
Bread Flour   00.00% Salt70.91% Barley Malt 0.00%
AP60303012015.54% 50% Water/ Whey21527.85% Molasses 0.00%
Water   00.00% Dough Hydration68.25%  Honey 0.00%
Total120604022028.50%     Olive Oil 0.00%
       Total Flour435  Egg 0.00%
Total Starters     Total Water315  Red Rye Malt 0.00%
  %  0.1724 T. Dough Hydrat.72.41%  White Rye Malt151.94%
Flour12015.54%        VW Gluten 0.00%
Water10012.95%    Hydration w/ Adds70.00%  Sunflower Seeds 0.00%
Hydration83.33%     Total Weight772  Nuts00.00%
Levain % of Total28.50%        Total151.94%


SD Baggies  - All numbers in grams

SD Starter     Dough Flour % Multigrain Sprouts%
 Build 1Build 2 Build 3Total% Rye303.65% Buckwheat 0.00%
SD Starter20  202.43% WW 0.00% WW 0.00%
Rye  10101.22% Buckwheat 0.00% Rye 0.00%
WW 10 101.22% Spelt 0.00% Bulgar 0.00%
Buckwheat   00.00% Farro 0.00% Barley 0.00%
Dark Rye   00.00% Barley 0.00% Spelt 0.00%
WWW   00.00% 6 Grain Cereal 0.00% Water 0.00%
Bread Flour   00.00% Millet 0.00% Total Sprouts00.00%
AP80202012014.60% Amranth 0.00%    
Water60302011013.38% Lentils 0.00% Scald  
Total160605027032.85% Dark Rye 0.00% Buckwheat 0.00%
       Semolina 0.00% WW 0.00%
YW Starter     Bulgar 0.00% Rye 0.00%
 Build 1Build 2 Build 3Total% Oats 0.00% Bulgar 0.00%
Yst Water   00.00% White WW303.65% Barley 0.00%
Rye   00.00% Potato Flakes50.61% Spelt 0.00%
WW   00.00% Ground Flax Seed 0.00% Water 0.00%
Buckwheat   00.00% Bread Flour 0.00% Total Scald00.00%
Dark Rye   00.00% AP25030.41%    
WWW   00.00% Dough Flour31538.32% Add - Ins  
Bread Flour   00.00% Salt70.85% Barley Malt 0.00%
AP   00.00% 50% Water/ Whey21526.16% Molasses 0.00%
Water   00.00% Dough Hydration68.25%  Honey 0.00%
Total00000.00%     Olive Oil 0.00%
       Total Flour465  Egg 0.00%
Total Starters     Total Water335  Red Rye Malt 0.00%
  %  0.2043 T. Dough Hydrat.72.04%  White Rye Malt151.82%
Flour15018.25%        VW Gluten 0.00%
Water12014.60%    Hydration w/ Adds69.79%  Sunflower Seeds 0.00%
Hydration80.00%     Total Weight822  Nuts00.00%
Levain % of Total32.85%        Total15



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