The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sir William Osler, disaster recovery and pain rustique

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Sir William Osler, disaster recovery and pain rustique


In 1904, Sir William Osler, one of the greatest physicians of his time, was asked to address the graduating class of The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine on the topic, “What is the most important personal attribute for a physician to cultivate in himself?” Sir William's address was entitled “Aequanimitas,” which roughly translates into modern American English as “Chill, dude!” I have always tried to follow Sir William's wise advice.


This afternoon, I made a batch of baguettes, according to Anis Bouabsa's formula. I thought they were the most perfectly shaped and scored baguettes I've every made. As I was loading the three baguettes into my pre-heated and humidified oven, one fell off the back of the baking stone. As I tried to grab it, the other two baguettes fell off the peel onto the oven door. What a mess!


Uttering a few words which my wife has asked I not speak in the presence of our grandchildren, I scooped up the twisted heaps of formerly gorgeous baguette dough. Should I scrap the bake as a lost cause or attempt a salvage operation? What could I lose by trying?


Aequanimitas, aequanimitas, aequanimitas ... 


I was able to separate the three pitiful pieces from each other. I reshaped them quickly – one folded as one might fold a ciabatta, one coiled and one formed into a figure 8 knotted “roll.” I immediately loaded them onto the stone and baked for 10 minutes with steam at 460F and 8 more minutes dry.



Anis Bouabsa Not Baguettes



Anis Bouabsa Not Baguettes - Crumb


Delicious! 


I hope you all have a great week and that all your "disasters" are really "opportunities," when you look back at them.


David


Comments

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

What a recovery. You could have easily posted those pics and proclaimed them Sir Osler's Pain Rustique and everyone would have been clamoring for the formula and the shaping technique. Nice one David, what a showman.


Betty

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The scoring was pretty good, too. <sigh>


David

Floydm's picture
Floydm

All things considered, not a bad salvage job.  Well done.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I've heard good things about "Bouncer Flour." Maybe I should try to get some from Canada especially for this bread.


David

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Nothing's impossible I have found, for when my chin is on the ground, I pick myself up, dust myself off, start all over again.


Great recovery, David. 


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

but it is better not to do it the same way the second time. ;-)


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

One of a kind!  First glance I was very impressed with your new loaves!  Top left...Eyes of St. Lucia Baguette! 


Sylvia 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Ahhh, and this is the reason I now use a baking sheet if I have a large amount to bake. Glad to see you recovered like the professional you are :>)


Eric

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Oh my! You bring back bad memories! But I was much less creative. Jane

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jane.


I suppose - from your comment and Eric's - that, if you bake long enough, something like this will happen eventually. Well, I'm glad that's over with!


My first inclination was really to just forget about it and throw the dough away, but it really was nice dough and would have made wonderful baguettes, I'm sure.


The entire drama took a little over 60 seconds, I think - from the time the dough fell until it was salvaged, reshaped and in the oven. Very little conscious thought was involved. A Zen experience.


BTW, Dr. Osler was born in Canada, emigrated to the UK and eventually returned to North America. In the U.S., his name is associated with Hopkins, but he really made his reputation in England. As far as I know, he did not bake bread.


David

benjamin's picture
benjamin

I wish some of my successful loaves looked like this... you can only imagine what my mistakes look like.


You have the patience of a saint!


ben

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Maybe he didn't bake bread, but I like his attitude. I'm trying to be the same these days but I admit, it's a struggle. Zeeeeeeennnnnn.....


Another thing I have done with this type of error is use it as a pâte fermentée.


Jane

proth5's picture
proth5

Those are the days when I wish for the convenience of a loader...


Nice save!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hmmm ... Loader? 


Maybe it's time to look into a Super Peel.


David

proth5's picture
proth5

for a real loader.  The Super Peel always looks interesting but there's nothing like a loader >Tim Allen grunt here<


Pat

DonD's picture
DonD

Hi David,


I just discovered your blog recently and have really enjoyed the great exchanges of information and knowledge. Your blooper just reminded me of one of my own. Recently, I was making a batch of Bouabsa baguettes and had measured out the ingredients carefully. When it came time to mixing the flour with water, I poured in the leftover water from the measuring cup instead of the one that I had carefully weighed. I had to finish it just by feel but the kicker was when the shaped baguettes were sitting on the counter for the final proofing, my cat walked on the counter and left deep paw prints on my loaves!


That said, last weekend I did a side by side comparison of the Gosselin and Bouabsa recipes that were published on your blog. I used the same flour mixture for both with the addition of a small amount of Fava Bean Flour (2%). All the baguettes came out beautifully. The Gosselin baguette crumb was softer, sweeter and wheatier tasting but less open than the Bouabsa which was nuttier and chewier with a rich deep flavor. I served it to my wife and several of my friends and the Bouabsa baguette was unanimously the favorite. I would post some pictures but being a new contributor, I do not know how...


Thanks for your excellent and informative blog.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Don.


Welcome to TFL!


I have always thought that loafing is what cats do best. I gather your cat gave new meaning to it.


Your Gosselin/Bouabsa comparison is interesting. I also found the Gosselin baguettes to have a sweeter flavor. Which has the more open crumb is indeterminate in my mind. Shaping technique variations make more difference than any difference I'm ready to attribute to the formulas.


Anyway, both formulas make really wonderful baguettes. I'd encourage others to try both.


BTW, there is a FAQ on this site explaining the procedure for including photos in your entries. No more excuses! Let's see what you're baking.


David

DonD's picture
DonD

Bouabsa BaguettesBouabsa CrumbGosselin BaguettesBouabsa & Gosselin Crumbs


Hi David,


I finally figured out how to upload the photos. Here they are...


The first two photos are the Bouabsa baguettes and crumb detail. The third one shows the Gosselin baguettes. The fourth one is a comparison of the crumbs with Bouabsa on the left and Gosselin on the right. The flour mix, shaping method, baking time and temperature for both are identical. Note also that the Bouabsa baguettes have a deeper, richer color.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Don.


Well! The photos were worth waiting for. Nice job on all of them.


Now that you've mastered the hardest one, you can branch out to easier breads. ;-)


Looking forward to seeing more of your breads.


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

They look lovely and the scoring is perfect! --Pamela

DonD's picture
DonD

Thanks David for your kind words.


I am a fanatic about good French baguettes and not being able to find any good ones commercially, I started baking them when the first books about artisanal bread baking came out in the 90's but I was never satisfied with the results compared to the baguettes I had tasted in France so I stopped making them. In 2006, I was in Paris and had the chance to taste a Pain a l'Ancienne from Philippe Gosselin which blew me away. When I saw the recipe that you posted on your blog, I was motivated to resume my baking and this time it was great! Like you, I am still on the quest for the ultimate baguette. I am currently experimenting with different flour mixes and combinations as well as improving the quality of the crust.


Cheers.


Don

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Don.


Your story sounds like lots of others' among TFL members. I suggest you introduce yourself in a new topic (Under "Create Content" in the left column). And show off your baguettes to the wider TFL community.


Happy baking!


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Hey, they look great in spite of the mishap. Worse things could have happened. Once, when I was a very young cook I made a pie, pecan as I recall, pulled out the rack, and slid it into an ancient SF apartment style gas oven. I had the racks in backwards (probably didn't know any better). As I pushed the rack in, the pie slid off the rack and landed upside down on the hot oven floor. There was no salvage to this mishap, just the worse possible outcome: burning pecan contents and dough and an oven that had to be self-cleaned by a person. I learned my lesson about which way to insert the racks, though.


--Pamela

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Experience is a hard teacher.


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

And by necessity the mother of all invention. --Pamela

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Whenever I've had a loaf stick to the peel and rip apart as I'm loading it into the oven, I calmly remind myself (after quite a few choice expletives have escaped my mouth) that the bread may be ugly, but it will still taste great. You have gone further and made yours lovely once again through some quick, creative thinking...well done!


Since you've been baking Susan's great recipes lately, you'll appreciate this one: after reading forever about Susan's magic bowl technique, I decided to give it a shot with not one, but two boules and two large stainless bowls arranged diagonally on my large baking stone. Well, they had great oven spring, all right, so great in fact, that they rose into and baked onto the inner surface of the bowls. I could not get them off when it came time to uncover them...what a mess! Must make much smaller boules next time I try this...

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, md.


I've tried to figure every whichway how to do this. The only way would be to bake two dinner roll-size boules under bowls half the size of the one I now use. 


The first time I baked two bâtards under a roaster cover, they stuck to the sides, as happened to you. I hate to lose delicious crust that way!


David