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baguette recipe- comments and conversion help, please

donenright's picture

baguette recipe- comments and conversion help, please

Hi, all
This is a recipe I've been working on, based on some reading here at the Fresh Loaf on the Anis baguettes, and the idea of the cold oven. I'm encouraged with the results so far- it is tasty and I'm starting to get the nice open crumb. Not only do I save a bit of energy with the cold oven, but the cold/wet oven actually makes for a lot of steam in the first five minutes of baking; it doesn't all vaporize instantly. Anyway- I'd appreciate some feedback and comments. Also, can anyone help me convert this recipe into a formula w/ weights and percentages? (Grams, please- I don't know from ounces). Thanks all- this is a very inspiring site and I appreciate everyone's expertise.

about 2 tbs active sourdough starter
1 cup all-purpose white flour (I use Robin Hood)
1 cup water
Leave overnight


Add 1/8 tsp baker's quick-rise yeast
1 slightly-heaping tsp salt
1 1/4 cup flour 

Stir until it holds together, dump it onto a floured surface, combine further, stretch it a few times, leave for 20 minutes. 
Again, stretch and fold, leave for 20 minutes
After the fourth stretch, place in a covered bowl and refrigerate a few (up to 20) hours. (I usually leave it five or six.)

Remove from refrigerator, divide in two, pre-form loafish shapes, leave covered for an hour.

Gently form into baguettes, let rise 45 minutes or so.

Mist with water, score and place on top rack in a cold oven. (I pour a cup of water on the cold oven floor- not everyone can/should do this, I realize).

Set oven to 450. 

Loaves are done in about 25 minutes.


hansjoakim's picture

The best online conversion tool I've found, is this one.

To convert your sourdough starter, you'll have to break it down to water and flour parts, and then move from volume to weight.

rainwater's picture

The recipe for the "Anis" baguettes I gleaned from this forum didn't have an overnight sourdough "poolish" in the formula.

Here are the weights for this "Anis" recipe.

"All Purpose" flour         500 gms.     17.5 oz.

Water                         375 gms.     13.75 oz.   (I weigh my water)

1/4 tsp.    "instant yeast"

2 tsps.    salt

This recipe made the best baguette I've ever had....ever....I'm actually surprised.

I am obsessed with making good pizza dough.  I haven't reached perfection yet, but my best effort so far was this Anis baguette recipe.  I substituted "Bread Flour" for the "All Purpose" flour.  I used 3/4 tsp. of yeast instead of 1/4 tsp. yeast.

I also added 3/4 of 1/4 cup olive oil....(yes, this is a weird measurment, but it's what I came up with. 

I used the same directions as for the baguettes.  The pizza I had last night was my best effort, but I still want to tweak a few things to see if getting closer to perfection is possible.

Maverick's picture

By the way, there are 4 TBS in 1/4 cup, so 3/4 of 1/4 cup is 3 tablespoons.

For what it's worth, my pizza dough is 64% hydration compared to your 75% hydration. I use 2 TBS (1 oz.) extra virgin olive oil for 22 oz. of bread flour (4 cups) and a little less salt.

donenright's picture

It would seem I'm using a very high hydration dough- about 88  percent, which surprises me since it doesn't seem nearly as "goopy" as many in the videos who talk about 80% hydration formulae. It is pretty wet, though- doesn't knead but stretches well. 

Rainwater- I did fine one thread that adds a sourdough  ("levain"?) component to the Anis recipe, but now that I mention it I can't find it again. 

Great pizza dough is indeed a noble cause. I use the same recipe, and like you I add extra yeast. No oil yet though- I'm trying to cut down :)

Thanks for the comments. 

ehanner's picture

Rainwater and Donenright,

By my calculations the hydration on the formula donenright is using is around 77%.

The hydration rainwater talks about is 4% different depending on using ounces or grams. 4% is a fairly large discrepancy and would be enough to be felt in the dough.

The hydration using your ounces measurement is 78.6%. Using grams it is 75%. I used 236 grams per cup of water and 135 grams per cup of flour. in my calculations.

Donenright, you are describing a cold start method I wrote about a couple years ago here and have had good luck with. I'm glad you brought this up as it points out that one can make wonderful bread using less than half of the energy of the "conventional method". If your only reason to run the oven is to bake this one batch of bread, there is certainly no need to waste the energy preheating the oven, let alone a stone. I don't use cold start all the time since I do tend to bake multiple loaves at the same time but it is nice to know that it does work well.

I hope you can show us a picture of your cold start bread. You are an inspiration.



donenright's picture

Thanks Eric for the input- your percentage makes more sense given the texture of my dough. I've been baking bread for a long time and have only recently started measuring anything- this is a big step.

I did see your posts about the cold-start oven; I'm now sold on it and am baking muffins in the same way. The only adjustment I've had to make is to move everything to the top rack in the oven, to avoid burning the bottom of the bread/muffins with the element on so constantly as the oven heats.

I've even started cooking pasta with cold water on a cold burner. Heresy, I know, but there is absolutely no difference in quality, and I think the savings in energy (and energy bills) will really add up over time.

The reason I'm excited about the cold oven baguettes is that I get a much better crust than I do when I throw them in a 500 degree oven. At that temperature, the water vaporizes fairly quickly, but my 250 ml of water in the cold oven takes quite a while to disappear, as I mentioned above.

I will post photos. I was going to do so last night but alas someone ate the evidence.

Thanks again


Maeve's picture

sorry, double post

Maeve's picture

Could someone explain the cold oven thing?


snippet from the first post:


Gently form into baguettes, let rise 45 minutes or so.

Mist with water, score and place on top rack in a cold oven. (I pour a cup of water on the cold oven floor- not everyone can/should do this, I realize).

Set oven to 450. 

Loaves are done in about 25 minutes.


So, it takes my oven at least that long to warm up to 450F - Do you set the timer from when it hits 450F?  Or are they done when the oven hits 450F?


The Anis baguette recipe is my favourite so far for sandwiches, close second is Peter Reinhart's ciabatta recipe from the BBA (although I modify it into almost-crescent shaped hoagie rolls.  I don't get proper huge ciabatta holes, but those buns are are tasty.)  I love the Anis recipe because it's so easy and the least involved.  But I'm always ready to try new techniques and this one just confuses me.

donenright's picture


I put the loaves in, then turn the oven on. My oven doesn't fully hit 450 until the loaves are almost done.

The advantages are a) energy savings and b) you get a long slow process of steaming the loaves (about five minutes, before it evaporates) while the oven heats up.

The only caveat is that your element is on the entire time, so you risk burning the loaves from the bottom. That is why I place them on the top rack.

Hope that helps


Maeve's picture

That does help!  Also, if I bother to use the search engine, I would easily find the threads where this method was discussed.  :)


I've got a routine with the various things I bake, but it's all centred around the Fibrament baking stone.  I suppose I'll have to experiment both with it in and without it to see which version I prefer.