The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pâte Fermentée Sourdough Baguettes

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

Pâte Fermentée Sourdough Baguettes

I'm not sure why, but the flurry of Anis Boubsa and Pain á l'Ancienne entries a short time back made me want to try baking baguettes...with the added stipulation of using straight sourdough and no baker's yeast.


I developed a recipe from Hamelman's Baguettes with Pâte Fermentée. This is what I came up with...


On Thursday night, I created the fermentée as follows:



  • 140g SanFran Starter at 100% hydration

  • 161g warm water

  • 280g KA bread flour

  • 7g Kosher salt


Mixed this by hand, covered, let ferment for 1.5 hours and then stuck in the fridge. This creates 588g at 66% hydration.


Two days later, on Saturday morning, I mixed the following for 4 minutes in a KitchenAid (dough hook, speed 1):
  • 580g Pâte Fermentée (note: 8g less than the above)
  • 140g SanFran Starter at 100% hydration
  • 600g warm water
  • 955g KA bread flour
[ETA: I first dissolved the starter in the water, mixed in the flour and pulled off chunks of the pâte by hand and added as the mixer was running. I also let the pâte fermentée warm up at room temp for 1 hour before using.]
After a 30 minute autolyse, I added:
  • 21g Kosher salt
...and mixed another 5 minutes on speed 2. I then bulk fermented for 4.5 hours, folding at 45 minutes and 1.5 hours in. This made 2303g at 66% hydration.


After the bulk ferment I scaled out 4 portions of 420g each and stuck the remainder (about 620g) back in the fridge as pâte fermentée for later this week. I pre-formed 4 baguettes and benched for 10 minutes, rolled out to 18 inches, put in a couche and covered.
After a final proof of 1.5 hours, I removed 2 loaves from the couche and placed in a 500°F preheated oven, covered with a hotel-pan lid and steamed for 15 seconds. I steamed a 2nd time for 6 seconds 3 minutes later. After 15 minutes, removed lid, lowered oven to 460°F and baked another 15 minutes rotating the loaves every 4 minutes or so for even browning. Internal temp ended at 202.5°F (at high-altitude).
I then reset the oven for 500°F and put in a steam pan. At 2.5 hours I put the second pair in. As a small side experiment, instead of using the hotel-pan cover I normally do for steaming, I sprayed the loaves liberally with a spray bottle and poured 1/2 cup of hot water in the steam pan, following the same baking time/temps above.
I am incredibly happy with how this came out. However, if any of the more experienced bakers here have any suggestions for tinkering, I'd like to hear them. I make things up as I go along and I'm not always sure what I'm doing. (For example, does the autolyse really do that much in this recipe since there is already salt in the old dough?) I've been very lucky in my baking outcomes, but need to improve in many areas.
I have to say that TFL has been a major contribution to both my luck and improvement.
Notes:

  • The hotel-pan setup is my homemade version of the SteamBreadMaker. It is hard to tell in the photos, but the covered loaves are a deeper brown, although subtly so, and they have a thinner, crispier crust and are, in my amateur opinion, much better
  • 1st loaves were a bit under proofed, 2nd ones a little overproofed...not my forte to be able to recognize dough readiness yet
  • I might do a longer bulk ferment next time
  • Normally I use a SuperPeel, which is too small for the baguette length, so I'm not adept at shaking dough off a peel/pan...that's why my loaves are a bit bent like me
  • Just when I think I have a handle on scoring, I have to think again
  • The crust and crumb both had full flavor...although I'd like to try some of Janedo's french flour
  • The crumb texture was perhaps one of my best outcomes yet..airy, not overly light, not gummy...just right
  • For the anal-impaired, the scaled dough was 420g (14.8oz) and baked down to 336g (11.8oz)
Pics:









 

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I have a great starter going. I will cut/paste your recipe. I am impressed at the crumb with only a 66% hydration. Looks wonderful. I do have a question. How did you maintain oven temp with all of the opening and closing? Also what are the dimensions of your hotel pan lid? I have a granite roaster w/ lid. I am thinking I may have to try this next. c

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

Thanks for your comments. One of the posts influencing me in the baguette direction was your singing 1st attempt. A bit late, but lovely loaves they were...


Maintaining oven temp is a tricky one. Several things I believe (loosely) help:


 



  • After breaking numerous, cheap pizza stones, I invested in a 15x20 Fibrament-D stone that retains heat almost too well.

  • I use a SuperPeel that lets me move loaves on to the stone quicker than when I use a normal peel.

  • I usually pre-heat about 25°F higher than called for in the recipe and turn it down after steaming.

  • Pre-heating with the hotel-pan lid in the oven...it stays hot and confines the heat in a smaller space.

  • Practice and repetition. I have a set routine of motions I have simplified for this very reason. Part of that mise en place thing..


My hotel pan is a cast-off from a restaurant I frequent. I believe it is what is called "full size" and the inside is about 19"x 11". I just measured it this morning to see how long I could make my baguettes. I added a $5 handle from Ace hardware. It is exactly like the SteamBreadMaker setup except I have a different steamer and it was less than half their cost.


Teresa at Northwest Sourdough uses a roaster lid and that is where I originally got the idea to use a cover. Check out the 3rd video at the bottom of her recipe page at http://northwestsourdough.com/recipes.html

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, ryeaskrye.


Those are beautiful baguettes - crust and (especially) the crumb!


So, you used a pâte fermentée and sourdough starter. Yet another approach to try. Hmmmm ... I bet they tasted delicious as they look.


David

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

David,


As noted, I pulled out dough for my next batch after the bulk ferment thinking it will develop a little more flavor for the next go round that way.


Should I have pulled it out before the bulk ferment so as to preserve the yeast in a more active state?


John

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I haven't much experience with pate fermentee. My reading says you remove it after mixing (before bulk fermentation). Hamelman says it must be used within 48 hours, even refrigerated.


David

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Thank you for the complimnet on my loaves. They were VERY good. I am glad they inspired you. 


I  have access to restaurant supplies as my son is a chef. I will look into getting a lid. I too preheat to 500...then cut back to 450. I don't lose any heat in transfer but wanted to know how you cope with it. I have seen the super peel but so far I am OK with the regular one. I am interested in the Fibrament stone. I have  a regular one that I got from Amazon a couple years ago. It has been fine. I need another one though and I am thinking I may get the one like you have. Where did you get it ? What do you mean that it holds heat "almost too well" ? Thank you and again your loaves are wonderful. Caroline

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

Caroline,


I'm not sure what experiences others have had, but when using the Fibrament stone, my oven appears to run hotter. It may be my oven, since I did not pay close enough attention prior to owning the stone, relying on the oven setting to be correct...NOT!


As a result, some loaves turned out a bit too brown on the bottom. I have since raised the stone to the next higher rack position and that issue eventually went away. I almost feel the stone went through an extended seasoning period.


As Lindy noted, they are expensive, but the price includes the shipping, which turns out to be roughly $20 of the cost. I grew tired of cheap stones (and tiles) popping in the oven when I made heavy, wet ryes and the 10 year guarantee was a major factor in my decision. Do note that they are heavy and it takes longer to pre-heat...which adds to the cost in the long run I suppose.


I notice their prices have gone up...I paid $63 for the $70 stone. I intend to be baking bread 10 years from now, so even at $70, I look at it from the standpoint that it is worth $7 per year to have a frequently used and reliable, excellent piece of "equipment." 


I'm very happy with it.


John

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I always enjoy coming across recipes that use natural levains over baker's yeast. Thanks for sharing it.


Trailrunner, here's the link to Fibrament:  http://www.bakingstone.com/order.php


 


 

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

That is interesting to read. Do you have this brand ? Any details about its use vs a regular stone? thank you Caroline

LindyD's picture
LindyD

No, Caroline, I have a 14' x 16' stone purchased at Amazon which works well for me.  Cost and weight were factors in my decision.


Fibrament has been discussed at TFL.  Here's the link


Search "Fibrament" at TFL and you'll find more.

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Great looking crumb!


 


Did you see a difference in the loaves between steaming and clocheing?


 


thanks!


Pattycakes


 

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

Yes, there was a definite difference in the appearance and texture of the crust. There was not any detectable difference in the crumb.


To be clear, I did not use a cloche. The first two went under a homemade version of the SteamBreadMaker and the next two were "open air" on a stone with steam supplied via cast iron pan and spray bottle.


Using the lid and steamer and varying the steam times, I have been able to affect the thickness of the crust. The first two had very thin crusts that were crisper than the other two. They also were a deeper brown and blistered a little more.


John

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Your bread looks wonderful and I'd love to try the recipe, however I always have stiff starter (60ish % hydration) around.  Do you (or anyone else) know how I could convert the recipe for use with stiff starter?  I have been looking around on the web and have read that you can convert the stiff to liquid by replacing 1/4 of it w/ water.  If so, do I just use 105g of my starter (25% less than your 140) plus 35g of water?


If this subject has already been addressed on TFL I appologize and would love to be directed to the discussion link.

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

Using my little hydration calculator and rounding for easier weighing, I find that 100g of your 60% starter plus 50g of water would create 150g of 100% starter (10g extra) and would likely work just fine.


Please let me know if you try this and how it turns out. As I said in my post, I kind of make things up, though with a bit of a "scientific" approach. I seem to get lucky most of the time.


I'm actually going to try my own recipe again tomorrow using the dough I pulled out of the first go round.


John

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

I typed the wrong numbers into my calculator...I put 140% instead of 100% as the end hydration.


The numbers should be 120g of your 60% starter and 30g of water to get 150g of 100% starter...or 112g of 60% plus 28g of water for exactly 140g.


Sorry about that...and for some reason I can't edit my reply above.

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Where do you get a hydration calculator?  Sounds very helpful.  Thanks for your response.  I intend to try your recipe as soon as I get done with my current batch of (part sourdough, part commercial yeast) baguettes!

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

I have my own simple one in an excel spreadsheet. If you are interested, PM with an outside email address and I will send to you.


 

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

I would love to have your conversion calculator as well. Would you be so kind as to share it with me, too?


Thank you!


Pattycakes

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

if you do a search of TFL you will get a bunch of things back that pertain to the calculation. It looks great !


 


http://members.shaw.ca/breadsimple/

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

I plugged in some test numbers and it looks like the calculator will work.  I'm definitely going to try it on this baguette recipe!

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I use this calculator all the time.  I'm really happy to hear someone else finds it helpful.  FYI you can do "File/Save As" to copy the page locally and then it will continue to work even if you're not logged in to the net.  All the calculations are done locally with JavaScript.


:-Paul

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

Just to prove to myself it wasn't a fluke and my recipe worked, I used the lump of dough I saved from the initial attempt and tried it out again. As David mentioned above, Hamelman suggests Pâte Fermentée must be used within 48 hours. While I had planned on stretching that out to 72 hours, a work project pushed it off for 96.


My thought was that since I did not use baker's yeast and my Pâte Fermentée is essentially a very stiff (66%) sourdough starter with the addition of 2% salt, it should still work beyond the 48 hours.


It did.


I baked all four without a cover, just so I could try making them longer. Steaming consisted of a cast iron skillet below the stone and heavy misting with a spray bottle. I got some lovely blistering and wonder how much was the refrigerated Pâte Fermentée and how much was the misting. Without the cover, the crust came out a bit thicker and chewier, though there might be other reasons for that.


Flavor was more enhanced the 2nd time, both in crumb and especially the crust.  The crumb was not as light, though still not gummy in the least, and remained airy.



I still struggle with shaping and I tried 2 different techniques – the 2 crumb shots show the difference.



I did pull out another portion to save, this at 1 hour into the bulk ferment during the first fold. I wonder how long I can go before I have to use it...I guess it will be Bride of Pâte Fermentée Sourdough Baguettes next week sometime...




 




dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, ryaskrye.


You got another very fine batch of baguettes there. You may have struggled with the shaping process, but the results certainly look good. Both the crust and crumb look good too.


I looked more carefully at your formula. I just realized you are using, essentially, a double dose of SD starter - one liquid, one firm - with a total baker's percentage of 75% pre-ferment.


I wonder how this compares to the non-SD Acme Rustic Baguettes that Maggie Glazer has in "Artisan Baking." The Acme baguettes use both a pate fermentee and a poolish - kinda like what you are doing.


Your flavor must be pretty interesting.


David

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

David, since I'm overly analytical about things, I'm curious as to the 75% you see.


I have these silly spreadsheets I've developed that I enter most recipes in and from that I get 30.3% for the amount of pre-fermented flour and 52.55% for the total amount of pre-fermented ingredients.


As for shaping, the overhead shot does not reveal the variance in height along the length of the baguettes. I'd like something a bit more uniform. The baguette in the rear underneath the other three has big bulb ends that make it look more like a dog's chew toy. My second round was much better than the first and I think scoring has something to do with it. I may try to overlap the scores a little more and perhaps try a single long one as well.


As mentioned, I base this off Hamelman's recipe (page 103) and substitute an amount of starter for the yeast in both the pâte and the final dough. I then adjust other ingredients in my spreadsheet to match his 66% hydration and keep the baker's percentages as close as possible.


I write too much...


John

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, John.


My calculation was the amount of pre-ferments (580 gms + 140 gms) divided by to unfermented flour (995 (?)). Probably, it is more meaningful to consider the amount of pre-fermented flour as a percent of the total flour.


Reading Hamelman's side bars, he implies that seemingly small differences in this (20 vs. 30%, say) have a significant impact on the bread. I can't say I have my arms around this concept yet, but I'm starting to pay attention to differences in recipes I work with.


And, hey! I've shaped a few dog bones in my day. Hmmm.... Maybe I should start a thread on "The funniest-looking loaf you've ever made." I could start with a few pages of photos from my personal portfolio.


David

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Bakers percentages get tricky when the recipes include preferments! There was a brief discussion some time ago regarding the different usage of bakers math in "Bread" and in "Advanced Bread and Pastry". I don't think there's consensus on what method should be used, so (alas), one needs to clarify this before presenting recipes.


Hamelman's method is to base the percentages on the overall formula (where you divide by the total amount of flour in the formula), while Suas uses the final dough formula as his base (where you divide by the total amount of un-fermented flour that goes into the dough).


Really interesting experiment, and thanks for the detailed write-up, ryeaskrye! Your photos are great as well.


It would be pretty interesting to know how far one can stretch the refrigerated pate fermentees. Hamelman suggests 48 hrs., but other resources list anything from 3 - 5 days. That means one could either save a portion from the previous baking batch, as you've done, or one could simply mix up a 66-67% hydrated piece of dough (flour, water, salt, yeast/SD) and stick it in the fridge. Then put it in your baguette/French bread dough a couple of days later. I've always made a new "pate fermentee" 14 - 16 hrs. before mixing, and that requires some planning. This fridge method seems great: Not only flavorwise, but it also makes everything more flexible.

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

hansjoakim,


Thanks for the comments. Originally, I began by mixing up that 66% piece of dough, and now perpetuate it by lopping off a portion from the newly mixed dough. With the pâte being sourdough versus baker's yeast, it should keep longer than the 48 hours. It'll be at least 128 hours before my next attempt.


Hamelman is a bit frustrating for me in one aspect. He does give an Overall Formula breakdown in baker's percentages. And he breaks down any Preferments in their own localized percentages. However, he does NOT provide baker's percentages for the Final Dough, either a local or an overall breakdown, which I find odd.


As a baker's tool, I have always thought Baker's Percentages' main purpose was to allow fast scaling of a recipe for a commercial baker. As such, I can see the utility of preferments (biga/poolish/pâte fermentée/levain builds...etc) being broken out into their own localized baker's percentages as they are going to be mixed separately from the final dough.


Shouldn't his final dough do the same, at least locally, to assist mixing of that final component? You can't use the overall formula percentages unless you do some math and subtract out the preferment. Since those are local, you have to fall back to using actual weight measurements, which negates the purpose of the baker's percentages.


 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi ryeaskrye,


I hope you find time to report on your next batch of baguettes as well! I'd be very interested in learning more about crumb texture and flavor aspect of the finished baguettes! Also, what do you think about leavening capacity of the "old dough"? I guess in your case the "old dough" piece is there for flavor rather than as a leavening agent, since you're mixing in a fresh levain as well? As the "old dough" gets older (ahem...) (and more sour), the yeast are probably having a rougher time coping with the conditions in it.


To be honest, I prefer Hamelman's way of typing out the recipes more than I do Suas' way. The makeup of the end product depends on the overall formula. If you're presented with a new recipe, and you want to get a quick "feel" for what kind of bread it will produce, at least to me it makes most sense to start with the overall formula. What's the total hydration? What kind of flours are involved and in what ratios, etc.? By looking at the overall formula, you get all this information immediately. All you need is the bakers percentages for the overall formula, the percentage of prefermented flour, and the bakers percentages for the preferment. The final dough figures follow immediately.


The reason I dislike bakers percentages in the final dough formula, is that these figures alone don't say anything about the hydration or overall flour combination used. In order to figure out how wet the dough is, you'd have to study the preferment in detail (is it a poolish (100% hydration) or a pate fermentee (67% hydration)), and how much the preferment is compared to the overall flour weight etc.


Both ways are equivalent, they provide you with the same information, but if you want to get the "overall picture" of the recipe, you'd have to crank out the spreadsheet if you have bakers percentages for the final dough only. The bakers percentages are there to ease scaling of recipes, but I find it much easier to scale if they're given for the overall formula. After all, it's the "overall formula" that goes into the oven as your preshaped loaves, right? ;-)


I guess it's mainly a matter of what one is most used to. I was exposed to Hamelman's way before I read Suas, so that's why I prefer Hamelman, I think.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Wow, those look terrific! Tell us about the flavor and after taste. You do have nice shaping and scoring also.


One question, are you baking on the bottom rack by chance? Your bottoms look a little darker than the sides and top.


Eric

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

I really like the flavor I am getting. On a scale of 1–10, I'd put the sour itself only about 6. However, the taste is full bodied, particularly the crust, and does not linger overly much — it is clean.


I am baking one rack above the middle. I have a 15x20 Fribrament stone and it tends to run hot. I have had issues with the bottoms of my breads being too brown. However, the stone seems to be "breaking in" and that is becoming less of an issue. I also use very little flour on the peel and do not put any on the stone, so the dough is in direct contact with the stone. Perhaps that might affect the outcome?


I also kept the oven at 500° for the full bake this time, steaming 3 times in the first 6 minutes, going another 9 and then rotating every 4 minutes for another 12.


David and Eric...thanks for your comments...they mean a lot coming from two caliber bakers.


John