The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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.

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

Franko's picture
Franko

 



Earlier this month I decided it was time to start over and build a brand new rye starter for myself since my old one had become adulterated with various types of wheat flour over the last few months and I wanted a pure rye sour to use in some upcoming projects I have in mind. I'd hoped it would be ready by this weekend but it's seems the pH went out of balance over the last few days making it not quite ready for prime time. The cupboard was bare for bread and I needed something for the next days sandwiches so I thought I'd just make something using a poolish that I could leave overnight and mix up for a dough the next morning. My first thought was to make a baguette dough with the poolish, inspired by Larry's recent post of what he called his “odds and ends” http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21724/odds-amp-ends as well as LindyD's terrific post of the Hamelman series of videos that took us through the entire process of baguette production. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21730/video-lessons-master-baker-Jeffrey-hamelman


The problem with that kind of dough for me is that while I love the flavour of baguettes, I'm not keen on having a wide open cell structure if I'm making a bread to be used for sandwiches, nor did I want a long skinny loaf. What I ended up doing was using more or less the same ingredients and percentages for a baguette dough but reducing the hydration and adding some of my dormant rye sour to the final mix for a bit of extra flavour. Honestly I'm not sure what to call this bread other than rustic or hearth style, which is fine with me since the name is less important to me than the end result. I'd intended to make two large loaves from the dough but when it came time to divide it I decided to make some baguette shapes after all, just for fun and to get some shaping practice in at the same time. In the end I wound up making 2x 250gram and 1x500 gram baguette shapes and the remaining dough as a simple hearth style loaf. The two small baguette shaped loaves turned out OK, but the scoring and final proof on the larger one left a lot to be desired. The hearth loaf had a good jump and formed a nice crunchy crust with Sylvia's steam system providing plenty of steam during the initial bake. The bread has a nice balance of flavour, with the malt and rye sour doing a kind of sweet and sour thing that works well with the nutty wheat flavour of the Red Fife poolish. The crumb is what I hoping for, with no large holes and fairly uniform, so while it's not close to being a baguette type of crumb, it did make for a good sandwich bread which is what I was after from the beginning.


Franko



 


Hearth Style Bread with Red Fife Poolish


Ingredients

%

Kg

 

 

 

Poolish

 

 

Red Fife 75% sifted flour

100

316

Water

100

316

Yeast-instant

1.5

4.7

Total

 

636.7

 

 

 

Final Dough

 

 

All Purpose flour

100

800

Water

45

360

Rye sour-inactive

6

48

Yeast-instant

1

8

Salt

2

22

Malt syrup-diastatic

1

8

Poolish

79

636.7

Total-Kg

 

1882.7

Total Hydration

60.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROCEDURE:

Mix the poolish and ripen for 12-16 hrs @ 65F

 

Mixing by machine:

Add all ingredients to mixing bowl and mix on 1st for 3 minutes then 2nd for 3-4 ½ minutes. DDT-76F

Mixing by hand:

Add all ingredients to mixing bowl and mix by hand for 10 minutes until you have a soft, slightly loose dough. DDT-76F Note: a slightly higher water temp should be used to make up for lack of friction heat from hand mixing v machine mixing.

 

Bulk Ferment-2 hrs. Fold once after 1 hr, repeat if needed for proper development.

Divide in 250 grm pieces for small baguette shapes or 500 grm for large baguette shapes, the remaining dough for batards. Preshape in rounds and rest for 15 minutes.

Shape accordingly and proof for 1-1 ½ hrs. Score as desired.

Bake at 480F with constant steam for 10 minutes. Remove steam apparatus and lower oven to 440 and continue baking for 10-15 longer for baguettes , 20-25 minutes for batard. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

 

 

 

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

I'm still at it.  We were at my parents' place on Saturday (Christmas day), and while I did end up baking a batch of Italian bread for Christmas dinner, there were no baguettes.  But we got home Saturday night, and I actually felt in the mood for baguettes.  I made up the poolish, increasing the yeast slightly from last week so it would ripen before late afternoon, and sunday I made yet another batch of the Hamelman Baguettes with Poolish.


While mixing, I realized that last week, and at least one previous week, I'd been adding too much yeast to the final dough--Hamelman says to use .13 oz of instant yeast for a full batch, and last week I definitely used .13 oz in my half batch.  Heaven knows what that's been doing to my baking.  Last week I think it turned out okay (well, better than okay) in part because the poolish was so sluggish.  Anyway, this week I used the correct 0.067 oz yeast (yay for having a scale accurate to the 0.001 oz eh?).


Besides the yeast adjustments, no changes from last week.  I used Cyril Hitz's rolling method for shaping again, but was better at it.


Exterior


 

Crumb

 

Needless to say, I'm very pleased with these baguettes.  Great caramelization of the crust, decent ears and placement of the scores.  Crust was pleasantly crisp, although not as perfect as last week.  Nice open crumb, with a nice nutty flavor.  Only downsides: a bit flat (and with tight crumb) in between scores, and the bottoms got over-dark (and tasted a little burnt).

I think perhaps I under-proofed as well--there's a little bursting in between the scores on one baguette, and I seem to recall having the bread "bulge" at the scores is another indication of under-proofing. I still have yet to master the "poke" test, it seems.

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

If you've been following this series of posts, you might be wondering, "what happened to week 11?" Well, last Saturday my mother in law invited us over for a Chrismas cookie baking day.  I was distressed at the notion of missing my regular baguette bake, and foolishly decided to mix the dough at home, then bring the dough with me and bake it at my in-laws.  Long story short, it did not go well.  Moving on.


This week brought three changes to my baguette routine.  First and most importantly, I switched by to KAF Bread Flour from the Stone-Buhr flour I had been using.  Partly this was because I ran out of Stone-Buhr, and my local stores have stopped stocking it.  But I think the flour is to blame for the sub-par results I've been getting.  Last week I was looking through my past blog posts, and was struck by the stark difference between, say Week 4, or Week 6, and more recent bakes.  Ever since I started using the Stone-Buhr flour (Week 8, if you're keeping track), my crumb has been underwhelming, flavor has oven been lacking, and I've struggled to get the baguettes to color sufficiently, even as the bottoms reliably burnt.  Not that I was hitting all those points every time with the KA flour, but I was getting much closer.


I also tried two suggestions from comments from last week:  I used Ciril Hitz's rolling technique for final shaping (thanks to Daisy_A for the pointer), and tried leaving my steam pans in for 13 minutes instead of 10 (thanks to realcasual for the suggestion).


Results: Exterior


 

Results: Crumb

 

I was really quite pleased with these baguettes.  I didn't quite get the hang of Hitz's rolling method, although I might with more practice.  As a result, the baguettes were a little lacking surface tension, baking up somewhat flat and resisting slashing.  Despite that, the crumb was decently open, and the flavor was good.  The crust was simply fantastic.  Crisp, thin, flavorful just enough chew to hold together--perfect.

Next week (well, next time--between Christmas and New Years I may end up taking a couple weeks off of Saturday baguettes), I'm going to try the Hamelman "over the thumb" shaping method again with the King Arthur Bread Flour side-by-side with the Hitz method, see which I like better.

Happy baking everyone,

-Ryan

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Hopefully this isn't seeming too much like a broken record.  This is now my 10th week of baking Hamelman's Baguette's with Poolish.  After my slightly ridiculous post last week, I'll keep it brief.  This week I used my new postal scale to get exactly 0.067% yeast in my poolish (0.1 grams).  I also decreased my preheat temperature slightly to prevent burned bottoms from an overheated stone, and kept a closer watch on final proof, checking every 5 minutes once the baguettes had proofed 55 minutes.


Poolish after 12 hours


 

Exterior

 

Crumb 

 

Crust could have been darker--I tried baking for an extra couple minutes (28 total) before turning the oven off, to get a more caramelized crust, but I think I just overbaked them.  Crust a little chewy, but not bad.  Crumb decently open, although not consistently throughout the baguette we had with dinner.  Flavor and texture were good, although the outer edges of the crumb seemed dry (hence my suspicion of overbaking).  A little flatter than some weeks--I tried doing just two "over the thumb" folds in the final shaping, and I think that wasn't sufficient surface tension.

Next week, I'm going to try making my oven a little hotter.  My oven seems to bake cooler than it should, and while I've been assuming that a setting of 485F approximated the desired 460F, that may not be the case.  That, and practice, practice, practice at shaping and scoring.

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