The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman no-knead Baguettes w/ wild yeast culture

trailrunner's picture

Hamelman no-knead Baguettes w/ wild yeast culture

My husband asked me to please make baguettes for him today. I had the starter already going . I already knew how much I liked this formula since I had done it once before. So I subbed 250 g of my 100% hydration starter for the yeast. I didn't adjust the flour or the water at all. I wanted a really wet dough. Boy did I get it. It was like a ciabatta. But I persisted and am very pleased. I tried to score the loaves but they were so wet and I didn't do the best but I got huge oven spring and grine so I am OK with it . The crumb is lovely and creamy and since I don't keep my starter out on the counter it is a very mild flavor. Here is the crust:

: Photobucket and the crumb: Photobucket

xaipete's picture

Scoring wet loaves is really difficult. Your bread looks great--like pain a l'ancienne.


RitaRose's picture

I've been baking with my started for a few months now but haven't tried making baguetts yet. Could you share your recipe with me?




trailrunner's picture

Pamela this is only the 2nd time in over 30 yrs of baking bread that I have made baguettes. I am pleased. You are right that it is very like the pain a l'ancienne. I was able to pick it up after wetting my hands and dusting the table top lightly. Lovely lovely dough. I am in the process of switching all of my breads to wild yeast...keep you posted ! is the un-kneaded French bread in Hamelmen. Essentially what you do is fold the dough 20x every 30 min. and then shape and rise and bake. If you have a favorite bread recipe all you do is sub 25% of the flour weight with the 100% hydration starter. So if you have 1000g flour you add 250 g can adjust the water and flour if you want or not as I did.

 adapted Hamelman formula:

1kg unbleached bread flour

.73kg water

.02kg salt

250g 100% hydration starter

Stir together. Set timer for 30 min. Do 6 sets of turns /  one every 30 min in the bowl with your scraper...20 folds per turn . Use a large rubber spatula or scraper and do not tear dough.  Let rest 15 min at the end of the 3 hrs. Then shape 4-5 loaves  and proof for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. Preheat and steam oven at 500. Reduce to 460 and bake 24-29 min till 205 internal temp.

proth5's picture

I have been baking an adaptation of this formula for years with all wild yeast.

Some differences.

I preferment only 12% of my flour, total hydration is 65%, I do 4 folds in the bowl, allow a bulk ferment of 2 hours then do a fold as per regular mixing methods and then bulk ferment for an additional 2 hours.  Shape, final fermentation of 1 hour.

When shaping, I am firm, but gentle.  Mr. Hamelman instructs you to use your "gentlest hand" to shape the 73% hydration baguettes.  I would suggest that perhaps his gentlest hand does contain a touch of firmness.

I have a shot of the typical (I mean week after week after week the same thing...) crumb elsewhere on this site in my blog if you care to look at it. I'm never 100% happy with the baguette as a whole, but usually cast my most critical eye on my own baking output. 

I had a brief problem with grigne when I got a new blade holder, but found out that I just hadn't shaped my blade correctly so that the blade was curved.  After that - no problem.

No less than a baking luminary than Solveig Tofte has remarked that although she thought that high hydration was required to get a an open crumb, what she learned was that proper fermentation is what really matters.  Also the mixing method used created little pockets in the dough that will eventually expand.  I bring this up because a lot of people assume that they must push to high hydrations to get an open, creamy crumb in their baguettes.  Although I would never discourage anyone from pushing hydration levels if they are so inclined, I think it is important to realize that it is not required.

Lovely bread.  I have adapted a lot of formulas to wild yeast (after finding that my stash of instant yeast had indeed finally died - after three years in the freezer) even moving into enriched breads and croissants.  It is a rewarding project indeed.  Have fun!

trailrunner's picture

What a wonderful wealth of info. My "goto" bread for over 30 years has always been Challah. This is new territory for me using long ferments and wild yeast...wild indeed.

I looked at your blog entries. Beautiful bread. I love the holes and have read a lot of places that indeed it is the fermentation. My husband is a scientist and concurs that the long fermentation is what makes the great open crumb.

I also admire all of the wonderful Christmas gifts that you showed. What a joy it is to have family tradiitons. We are the same way.

Could you share the exact formula and times that you are using to get the baguette that you have on your blog? I would love to try it. Thank you again and I look forward to seeing many more of your posts. Caroline

proth5's picture

But I will warn you, it seems too simple.  Also - oh my - me and my ounces and pounds - I'll let you do the arithmetic.  Another warning is that I bake at 5,280 feet.  That does make a difference.

Also, I could tell you that I use a 100% hydration starter, preferment 12% of my flour with a 25% innoculation rate at 100% hydration and a final hydration of 65% with salt at 2% and I've given you the exact formula and an exercize in baker's math.  But, here goes...

For 2 loaves at an estimated baked weight of 8.75 oz each

Levain Build (12-16 hours before mixing)

.75 oz starter

1.12 oz KA AP flour

1.12 oz water


Final dough

All of the levai

10.98oz KA AP flour

.25 oz Salt

6.61 oz Water

Desired Dough temperature 76F

Mix all ingredients to a shaggy mass.  Wait 30 mins.  Do an additional 4 rounds of folds at 30 minute intervals (as described in the un-kneaded formula)

Bulk ferment - 4 hours at 70-75F - one fold at 2 hours

Divide and preshape rounds - rest 15 minutes

Shape.  Ferment 1- 1.25 hours

Slash.  Bake with your preferred steaming method.  Start in a 500F oven and then lower the temperature to 460F.  I bake 18-22 minutes.

That's it.  I spent a year making small tweaks, evaluating, and tweaking again before I got it to my liking (and I emphasize "my").  In particular I spent a lot of time adjusting the percentage of the flour that I pre-fermented.  I don't like an aggressive sour taste in my bread.

Thanks for the other kind words.  I am the fortunate receipient of a number of family heiroom recipes and I treasure those.

Happy Baking!

trailrunner's picture

Yep I can do the math...not sure why as it is not my long suit but there you go. I am looking forward to trying it next week. Should have finished all the ones I just made. They taste great BTW today too. I love the way sourdough ages after the loaf is stored. Very nice.

Look forward to sharing more of your experiences...thanks again, c