The Fresh Loaf

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baguettes

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mse1152's picture
mse1152

Happy weekend! I made baguettes for the first time in a long time today. BBA's poolish baguettes. One mistake...the recipe, er formula, calls for 7 oz. of poolish. I made half a recipe of poolish from the book, which is really more like 11 oz., and dumped it all into the final dough. ooooops. But what are you gonna do with 4 oz. of leftover poolish?

This dough gets 4 hours of fermentation and about an hour of proofing. The baguettes came out sorta pretty, I thought:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I describe the flavor as 'clean', not at all yeasty, just wheaty. Very nice. PR recommends sifting 1.75c of whole wheat flour to replicate the ash content of the European flour used in the original formula. When I sifted my KA whole wheat, almost none of the bran was left in the sifter, so I used his second suggestion: using only a few tablespoons of WWF, and unbleached for the remainder of the dough. The bread still had plenty of identifiable bran in it. The bread is very lightly salted. I'm really happy with the flavor and texture.

But here's my question. As you can see, my slashes filled in to bring the exposed dough up to the level of the crust. There are no 'ears'. This has been the case with most of my breads. I did the PR technique of pouring 6-8 oz. of boiling water into a cast iron pan in the bottom of my oven, but no other steaming or spraying beyond that. If you look at some other baguettes on TFL, like these or these, there are definite sharply-defined ears. It's a minor thing, since I'm happy with the way this bread turned out, but I'm just curious as to what is keeping this from happening on my breads. Any ideas?

Sue

redivyfarm's picture
redivyfarm

A little help from my friends, please? Bear with me, here comes one of my notorious rambling lead-ins to some serious baking questions. I love The Splendid Table with Lynn Rosetto-Kasper on Natl Public Radio; doesn't everyone? Years ago she recommended a book, "FoodWise" by Shirley O. Corriher on both the science and the mechanics of cooking. I gave it to my son-in law as a gift and then borrowed it back just the other day. The first ninety some pages are on the wonders of risen bread and there is a wealth of very basic info that I must have encountered elsewhere but have yet to assimilate. Some of it would have helped my most recent baking.

This morning I baked a second attempt at Peter Reinhart's Pain a l'Ancienne rustic baguettes. I mostly use a high gluten flour, about 12.5% protein, but I've heard somewhere that crusty French breads are the product of rather weak flour. For this baking I mixed low protein with high protein white flours 2:1 to get about a 9% protein blend. I followed the BBA formula except that the absorbtion of the water seemed higher than usual so I kept adding a bit more ice-water until the dough remained sticky at the bottom of the mixer as described. I popped it into the refrigerator to retard overnight. This morning it was partially risen when I removed it and let it sit at cool room temperature. After three hours it was actively proofing even though it was still quite cool. I think I allowed this bread to over-proof the first time I made it so I preheated the oven to 500 degrees and turned out the dough onto a heavily floured surface and stretched it to an oblong. I cut the oblong into five strips with the bench scraper dipped in water and baked two at a time at 475 degrees in my curved baguette pan (shaped like this UU) on a top rack with a baking stone. I didn't slash at all because I didn't want to deflate these long thin loaves.

Well, the bread is delicious, the formula is wonderful but my execution is flawed! The crumb is open mostly at the top per the photos- Sorry can't post pictures now- I'll insert them when the problem clears up!

FoodWise says that the problem may be a too hot oven; might the top of my big oven not be the best place to bake these baguettes? I'm also reading that a pale crust such as I'm getting can be from too little protein. What is your experience with these variables? JMonkey, I'd be very pleased with your results!

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I realize that I seriously risk tanking my whole grain cred, here, but lately ... I've been taking a shine to poolish. It'd been a long time since I'd worked with yeasted pre-ferments, and aside from an occasional baguette here and there, I'd not make a serious white bread in quite some time.

But after the New Year, in the course of just a couple of days, I made three poolish baguettes and one poolish ciabatta.

I used Jeffrey Hamelman's masterpiece Bread as a guide. I was so pleased with the baguettes, that for the ciabatta, I modified my sourdough spreadsheet to accommodate commercial yeast breads with pre-ferments, and inserted his formulas.. Aside from scaling each recipe down (I made a half-batch of poolish baguettes, which made three demi-baguetts, and a single 1.5 pound ciabatta), the only other change I made was to add a tiny speck of yeast to each poolish. With the baguettes, since they required about 1/10 gram of yeast, I added one gram of yeast to 19 grams of water and then added two grams of the solution to the poolish.

This was a pain.

So, next time, I just eyeballed about 1/4 of 1/8 tsp of yeast. Both ways turned out fine.

The biggest takeaway for me from making both of these breads is that, so long as the bread is handled firmly but gently and the loaf is well-shaped, the crumb can still be very open without a super gloppy dough. The baguettes, for instance, are just 66 percent hydration and the ciabatta is 73 percent. Of course, the poolish probably helps, since it denatures the protein and makes it more extensible. All the same, the lesson for me stands - good handling goes a long way towards getting an open crumb.

Sourdough is still my preference, but, wow, I'd forgotten how tasty a good, simple loaf of French bread is: nutty, buttery with a strong wheaty flavor that lasts, and lasts, and lasts.

Here's the photographic results. Recipes are below.

Poolish Baguettes

I'm finally starting to the hang of shaping these buggers.


I cut these in half the next day to make garlic bread and cheese bread to go with pasta.


Ciabatta with Poolish

This is, without doubt, the prettiest ciabatta I've ever made. I didn't score it - it just opened up on its own.


And an interior shot. Not as open as some ciabattas I've seen, but open enough for me. Next time, I'll bump the hydration up to 75 or maybe 78 percent.


Recipes

Poolish Baguettes (Makes 3 demi-baguettes of about 8 oz. each):
Overall formula:

  • White flour: 100%
  • Water: 66%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Instant yeast: 0.36%
  • 33% of the flour is pre-fermented as a poolish at 100% hydration with .07% yeast


Poolish:
  • White flour: 5.3 oz
  • Water: 5.3 oz
  • Instant yeast: Just a speck (about 1/32 of a tsp)

Final dough:
  • All of the poolish
  • White flour: 10.7 oz
  • Water: 5.3 oz
  • Salt: 1.5 tsp
  • Instant yeast: 1/2 + 1/8 tsp

The night before, dissolve the yeast into the water for the poolish, and then mix in the flour. Cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 12-16 hours. Once the poolish has bubbles breaking on top and has started to wrinkle, it's ready. It'll also smell ... really nice - sweet and nutty. Mmmm.

For the final dough, measure out the water and pour it into the poolish to loosen it up. Then pour the entire mixture into a bowl. Mix together the salt, yeast and flour, and then add it to the bowl as well. Mix it all up with a spoon and, once everything is hydrated, knead it for about 5 to 10 minutes, until it passes the windowpane test. Cover and let it ferment for two hours, giving it a stretch-and-fold at the one hour mark.

Divide the dough into three pieces, and preshape into rounds. Cover and let them rest about 20 minutes. Then shape into baguettes and cover, letting them rise for about 1 hour to 90 minutes. Score and bake on a preheated stone in a 460 degree oven with steam for about 25 minutes.

Ciabatta with Poolish (Makes one 1.5 lb loaf):
Overall formula:
  • White flour: 100%
  • Water: 73%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Instant yeast: 0.36%
  • 30% of the flour is pre-fermented as a poolish at 100% hydration with .07% yeast


This is all in grams, because I used my spreadsheet - Hamelman uses ounces.

Poolish:
  • White flour: 136 grams
  • Water: 136 grams
  • Instant yeast: Just a speck (about 1/32 of a tsp or 1/10 of a gram)

Final dough:
  • All of the poolish
  • White flour: 318 grams
  • Water: 195 grams
  • Salt: 9 grams
  • Instant yeast: A heaping 1/8 tsp or .5 grams

The night before, dissolve the yeast into the water for the poolish, and then mix in the flour. Cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 12-16 hours. Once the poolish has bubbles breaking on top and has started to wrinkle, it's ready. It'll also smell ... really nice - sweet and nutty.

For the final dough, measure out the water and pour it into the poolish to loosen it up. Then pour the entire mixture into a bowl. Mix together the salt, yeast and flour, and then add it to the bowl as well. Mix it all up with a spoon and let it sit for one hour. At one hour, give it a stretch and fold, followed by two more every 30 minutes. Then let it ferment for one more hour, for a total of 3 hours bulk fermentation.

Remove the dough onto a well floured surface, and pat it out into a rectangle, carefully degassing any truly gigantic bubbles that you noticee. Let it rest for about 90 minutes.

Tranfer to the oven, dimpling it with your fingers if you desire, onto a hot stone at 460 degrees with steam for about 35 minutes or so. Let it rest one hour before slicing.
JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I've only had the pleasure of visiting San Francisco twice, and both times it was on business. But I made sure to stop by the ACME Bread Co. store at the Ferry Building to pick up a small boule of that famous local sourdough, or perhaps a walnut or olive levain.

I'd never tried their baguettes, however, and, since I've recently been very much in the mood for a baguette, and since I'd not made a single recipe from Maggie Glezer's well respected Artisan Baking, this seemed like a natural for the weekend.

I was mightily impressed. The flavor was excellent, just as good if not better than the single step baguettes I made last week. If only I'd gotten ears all over the bread like the one at the top of the bottom loaf!

The recipe makes 2 lbs of dough, which gets split into two 8 oz. baguettes and a 1 lb boule. But I just divided it into three and make three 10+ oz baguettes. Because I shaped my last baguettes a bit tool long for the stone and had them drooping off the ends, I erred on the other side, and made these a bit too short, so they ended up looking a bit more like sub rolls than baguettes ... but heck, I called them baguettes, so baguettes they are!



I was particularly impressed by the crumb, which I got a good shot of the next day, as I made sandwiches. The internal structure was remarkably open given that the overall hydration is just a notch above 66%, a hydration at which the dough is very easy to handle.


It's an unusual dough in that it uses two different pre-ferments: a poolish and a pate fermente (also known as old dough). It's worth the trouble though.

Old dough

  • Instant yeast: 1/4 tsp
  • Water at 110 to 115 F: 1/2 cup
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour (I used Giusto's Baker's Choice):3/4 cup or 115 grams
  • Salt: 1/4 + 1/8 tsp or 1 gram

Sprinkle the yeast in the warm water and let it dissolve, which takes about 5-10 minutes. Mix the flour and salt, then add 1/3 cup of the yeasted water (reserve the rest -- you'll need some for the poolish). Mix it and knead it for about 5 minutes. Let it rise for about 3 hours, and then pop it in the fridge.

Poolish
  • Instant yeast: 1 Tbs of the yeasted water
  • Flour: 1 cup or 150 grams
  • Lukewarm water: 2/3 cup or 135 grams
Mix it all together until everything is hydrated, cover, and let it sit for about 12 hours. Bubbles will be popping at the top and it'll look a little wrinkly when it's ready. My house is cold (around 55-60 at night), so I let it go for about 16 hours.

The Final Dough
  • Flour: 2.25 cups or 340 grams
  • Instant yeast: 1/4 tsp
  • Lukewarm water: 3/4 cup + 2 Tbs or 180 grams
  • All the poolish
  • All the old dough
  • Salt: 1.75 tsp or 9 grams


Step One: Autolyse
Mix the flour and the yeast together. Then, add the water to the poolish so it will come out easily from the bowl, and pour it into the flour. Stir it up until everything is hydrated, then knead it a few times to ensure everything is well combined. Cover and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

Step Two: Mixing
Break up the old dough, then add it along with the salt. Knead until you get a smooth dough that can pass the windowpane test, which is about 10 minutes or so. Cover and let it rise for about 3 hours, until it has at least doubled and you can see large bubbles. Give the dough a good stretch and fold at 20 minutes, 40 minutes and 60 minutes. Then let the dough rise for the remaining 2 hours.

Step three: Pre-shaping
Before you begin, pre-heat the oven to 450 F. If you've got a stone, make sure it's inside and also place a steam pan on the bottom rack. Glezer recommends you form it into a stubby batard. I just formed a boule. Either works, I'm sure. Let it rest for 30 minutes. This seemed like a long rest to me, but it made a big difference in my being able to easily shape the dough.

Step four: Shaping
This is where she asks you to shape the baguette. I wish I could describe how to do it, but really, you need to see photographs. Essentially, you pat it gently into a rectangular shape and then fold the top long side into the middle, and seal it, gently, but firmly. Do the same for the bottom. Then pull the top completely over the bottom and seal. Finally, with a rocking motition of your hands, start in the center, and gently, but rapidly, move outwards, stretching the dough to its proper length.

Let it rise for about 30 to 60 minutes. When it's ready, the dough will slowly spring back from a gentle nudge with your finger.

Step five: Scoring and baking
Score the baguettes with a blade at a 45 degree angle, with slashes that run primarily down the length of the loaf. Bake with steam at 450 F for about 25 minutes, until the inside of the loaf reaches at least 205 F. Let cool 30-60 minutes before devouring.
JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Well, I made those baguettes I'd been craving. Simple really -- I just did the NYT / Sullivan Street bread scaled down to make three 8-ounce baguettes. Well, I also substituted 10% of the white flour for whole spelt, because I had some on hand, brought the hydration down to 75% and folded it twice before going to bed.

They were very tasty, almost buttery, and the crust was perfect. Crunchy and full of flavor. Crumb was nice too, with the irregularly shaped , though not cavernous, holes I was hoping for.

Man, though, were they butt-ugly.

Thin, bulbous, crooked, ugh. And I did my first attempt at a wheat sheaf all wrong -- I should have cut from the top, not the side, so they turned out looking twisted.



When you all make baguettes, how much do you weigh each out at? I've got just enough room for a 12 inch baguette but it seemed to me that 8 ounces was a little on the small size. Also, any hints you can give on shaping, and I'm all ears ....

But, even if they were ugly, they went very, very well with Zolablue's divine sweet potato sausage soup. I pretty much stuck to the recipe, though I added more sweet potatoes since I had to thaw out 8 cups of stock (smallest container I had) and didn't want it to be thin.



I'd once thought that soups weren't photogenic, but now, having seen Floyd's photo, I'm beginning to think that it's just that my soups aren't photogenic.

Anyway, that's a perfect winter meal, as far as I'm concerned (though, the bread really should be whole-grain ... but heck, even I get a Jones for white bread every once and a while ....

THANK YOU, Zolablue. This soup was a huge hit.

beenjamming's picture
beenjamming

So for the first time this week, I got together some people would had expressed interest in starting up a bread baking club and we crowded into my tiny kitchen and baked a dozen baguettes! I had originally intended to have a side by side comparison of baguettes with/without poolish, but just getting introduced to the bread making process was plenty for round one. We used Leader's parisian daily bread recipe for half ver batim, and substituted about 250g of poolish in for the other half of the breads. Everyone took note that the dough with a preferement was far more extenisble and sweeter tasting than then dough without, but that was all we took time to discuss. I did my best to let everyone there make bread with minimal guidance, and stuck mostly to explaining what was happening chemically during fermentation and baking. Overall, it was a really big success. No one had ever made baguettes before except for myself, and I hardly touched the dough, and the bread turned out great. I think a few people's interest were really piqued and a rich baking community with hopefully develop out of this. These are some pictures during the day:

A cross section o f our very first baguette:

we didn't wait till everything was done baking before we started feasting:

about half the gang:

I've since loaned out most of my bread books to interested folks and have been asked to write an article about challah for Cornell Hillel's magazine (I'm not jewish, but I read everything Glezer's had to say about challah). We're kind of rogue baking club at this point, no real ties to the university and no nice kitchen to bake in, but that may change in coming weeks. Steve Kaplan, a cornell prof, just published a book "Good Bread is Back" and had a raucous spot on conan o'brien (who was kind of an ass, in my opinion). I'll hopefully be in touch with him this week and see if he'd be the faculty advisor of our group and then we could get some of that over abundant cornell money and maybe even some kitchen space.

Meanwhile, I've been doing some baking myself-and not blogging about it. Last week, I made a levain couronne to take to a pasta feast down the block. It was loosely based on the Tornato from artisan baking.

It was pretty giant (the peel is 14" wide):

and also pretty awesome inside:

I have not been so proud of a loaf since the first time I made bread. Incredibly complex flavor, super moist crumb and a deeply caramelized crust. I served it with herb-oil and some asiago cheese; it was well received! Last week I also made 2 loaves of blue cheese and walnut levain based on pearl's walnut levain, which were tasty too.

 

I've learned to bake around my homeworks pretty well, and hopefully won't have to slow down too much as the semester gets going. I'd like to still make my own weekly bread all year. That said the problem sets and programming assignments have started to roll in, so we'll see if I have any time to bake outside of Better Bread Better World. Even still, that would be okay with me- getting my friends hooked was very exciting!

-Ben

filbertfood's picture
filbertfood

After years of making baguettes with almost every type of AP unbleached white flour commercially available, I decided that bringing type 55 flour to the US would be the only way to solve the famed baguette debate. I researched flour suppliers and found one from Turkey. If you have ever been to Turkey, you know how good their bread is. In fact, their standard loaf is much like the bâtard and many mills in Turkey supply flour to France, including the one I have sourced for my flour.

Feel free to contact me to see how you can get your hands on some type 55 flour: inquiries@filbertfood.com

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pseudobaker's picture

BBA vs. Glazer French bread?

March 14, 2007 - 8:27pm -- pseudobaker

So I got the BBA from the library last week (great read!) and have made 3 loaves with the pate fermentee (2 pain de campagne, 1 French bread).  The taste is delicious, the crust is very nice, but I don't have very big holes.  The Acme Baguettes from Glazer's Artisan Baking Across America, however, has given me big holes every time.  Any suggestions where I might get bigger holes from the BBA?

 

Thanks.

Srishti's picture

baguettes: whole wheat

March 9, 2007 - 5:35pm -- Srishti
Forums: 

Has anyone made or does anyone have a whole wheat baguette recipe? We found this awsome bakery today (in a neighbouring town) and decided to check it out! They had these beautibul looking 100% whole Wheat sourdough baguettes. Didn't buy any as I had made so much bread yesterday, but now I'm thinking I should have bought one loaf :(

 

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