The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


maojn's picture

First question here, baguette scoring. Please help!

March 27, 2013 - 8:50am -- maojn

Hi everyone, 

First I would like to express how much I love this site. I just post my first article actually about my baguettes, customized kneading board on sink, and Pain de Campagne.  Today I am going to post my first question and I know you guys will definitely help me out!

ww's picture

Slashes close up, help!

November 2, 2010 - 12:20am -- ww

Does anyone have the problem of slashes on the loaf closing?? Mine open quite nicely then close up after about 10 mins into the bake. I don’t think it’s a matter of my cuts being too shallow. 

And what is the normal sequence? Oven spring preceding/ followed by/ accompanied with the opening?

I have a over-proofing problem but I wonder if too much steam or too little has something to do with it as well. Help!

lolo's picture

Pain de Campagne


This is my second bread from BBA.  I decided to stick with boules even though Reinhart says this is the perfect dough for all kinds of fancy shapes.  Everything went really well until the slashing.  I bought a lame from a local kitchen store and it just was not slashing the dough.  At all!  I tried wetting it, oiling it, using the other side of the blade... nada.  Finally I touched it with the tip of my finger and realized that it's fairly dull.  Sad!

I grabbed a semi-sharp serrated tomato knife to do the slashing instead.  While that actually cut into the dough, it did so with a fair amount of drag, so I didn't get the cleanest slashes.  Ah well.  Time to go to the hardware store to buy a package of razor blades, I guess. 

Pain de Campagne, boule


The recipe said it made three loaves.  They turned out to be rather small loaves, so next time I think I'll split it into two if I'm going to do the same shape.  But there is something nice about these little boules, though.

Pain de Campagne


The crumb on this is decent.  The taste is good, but I think I like the taste of the pain de l'ancienne better.  My husband liked the taste of this, but halfway through a big slice said there was an "aftertaste."  I don't know if he's tasting the whole wheat component (hard red winter wheat berries I ground in my vitamix) or what.  I don't think I let the bread overproof, and he said it wasn't an alcohol flavor, so I'm not sure what he's tasting.

Overall a fairly successful bake.  It was my first time using a pate fermente.  I even considered making two loaves and keeping the other third of the dough for a loaf tomorrow, but I haven't baked with a poolish yet so that might be my next project. 

ehanner's picture

Ultimate Slashing Tool

May 1, 2008 - 7:15am -- ehanner

 Upon seeing the posts questioning how to store your razor blades, I thought I would share my discovery with you all. I used to use a single edge razor and a sharpened paring knife and I even bought a lame from KA and tried the double edge razor on a coffee stirrer stick. All of those devices will slash your dough some of the time without getting snagged or tearing the surface. Some recommend the blade be wet or oiled or floured to help glide the blade without sticking. None of those devices will work reliably all the time or on any type of dough, even over proofed fragile dough.

ehanner's picture

Yesterday morning I started a batch of my basic all white SD dough. I had meant to include some white ww and a little rye for flavor but I was having a senior moment and so today we are enjoying white sourdough. I have been experimenting with varying the amount of starter in the batch to effect the final consistency. I find that the smaller the amount of starter I use, the more slack the dough is when it's time to form. With that in mind one could simply add more flour to stiffen up the dough but in my experience the condition of the starter is not a stable value so my thought is that I should learn to adjust the amount of starter based on how healthy it is at the moment to arrive at a consistency I can work with.

Today I am using 50g of active starter to rise 1100g of AP flour (Harvest King) at 65% hydration which works out to 710g of water. This is double the amount I have been using for this bread. The usual 2% salt is 22g. I mixed all ingredients in a bowl by hand and frisaged on the counter, gathered into a ball and let it rest for an hour covered.

After the rest, the dough is smooth and elastic. I now get to enjoy the maneuver I feel is the single most helpful in the kneading step, the French Fold. In just a few moments of French folding one can transform a slack untrained mass into a well formed and tensioned dough. There used to be a video here showing this maneuver but alas I think it was taken down by the poster. Anyway the bulk ferment is planned for 12 hours in the oven with the light on.

Dividing, shaping, PAUSE 10 mins, and shape into boules for the final proof of about 1 hour. With a little creative cutting of parchment I can manage to get two boules in the oven on a cookie sheet. I boiled a cup of water and placed it in the oven alongside the dough. After an hour, I pulled the water glass, slashed and baked from cold at 425F for 30 minutes + -.

The dough spread like a turtle and I feared I would be submitting these as "out takes" but to my constant surprise the oven sprung as advertised and all is well after all.


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