The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gosselin vs Bouabsa Experiment

DonD's picture

Gosselin vs Bouabsa Experiment

I found this site a couple of months ago and have been following some fascinating posts and the great exchange of information among the members. I have always loved the true French baguettes and during the early 90's when the first artisanal baking books like The Village Baker and Bread Alone came out, I tried my hands at making French baguettes. They were acceptable but not great. When I stumbled on this site and found the formulation for Gosselin's Pain a l'Ancienne that David of dmsnyder posted, I was motivated to try making it because I remember how good it was when I tasted it in France a couple of years ago. It turned out great. And then, I discovered the Anis Bouabsa formulation that David also shared with us. It turned out even better. So I decided to have a head to head comparison between the two a couple of weeks ago. I have had a couple of exchanges with David about this topic and he encouraged me to share the results with the TFL community, so here we go...

I used the folowing flour mix:

30% KA BF

58% KA APF

10% KA WWF

2% Bob's Red Mill Fava Bean Flour

2% Noirmoutier French sea salt

The mixing, fermentation, shaping and baking followed David's closely for both formulations. They were baked on the same day about one hour apart.

Both batches turned out great. The oven spring was about the same for both. The Gosselin crust was lighter in color than Bouabsa's which had a deep rich color. Both had good crunch and sweet caramelly flavor. The Gosselin crumb is soft and incredibly sweet with a wheaty aftertaste. The Bouabsa crumb was slightly more open, was more chewy and had a nutty flavor. I had an informal blind bread tasting with my wine tasting group and the Bouadsa baguette was unanimously the slight favourite.

The top photo shows the Bouabsa baguettes. The second photo shows the crumb detais with Bouabsa's on the left and Gosselin's on the right. The third photo shows the Gosselin baguettes. The fourth photo is a close-up of the Bouabsa crumb.

I want to thank David and all the TFL members for generously sharing their knowledge and experience.

Happy Baking!




blackbird's picture

Great study, thanks, making notes.

MommaT's picture

Hi DonD,

These are absolutely stunning baguettes!

You have inspired me to keep on trying!  Next stop - Bouabsa formulation!


DonD's picture

Thanks MommaT. I was inspired by seeing others so the chain continues...

The formulations that we are using are only approximations of the real thing because first we do not have access to the same ingredients as the original bakers and second from what I understand these are just verbal translations of their recipes.

Good luck with your experiment!


pattycakes's picture

I love this kind of thing...I did the same thing a while back, but I can't say that my loaves looked like yours...I wish they had!

How much yeast did you use in the formulation?

Thanks for the great pics and the breakdown...


DonD's picture

Hi Patricia,

I had fun too!

For 500 g of flour I used 5 g of instant yeast for the Gosselin baguettes and 3/8 tsp instant yeast for the Bouabsa baguettes.

I read that Boubsa adds ascorbic acid and malted barley flour in his mix but he did not give any proportions. I will try to experiment.