The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

DiMuzio's Baguettes with Liquid Levain

xaipete's picture
xaipete

DiMuzio's Baguettes with Liquid Levain

These baguettes turned out surprisingly well in spite of a number of recipe mishaps--I improperly jury-rigged some ripe firm levain into an instant liquid levain, made two large loaves instead of three smaller, and left the oven at 500º. The crumb was somewhat open and had a nice buttery flavor, but the loaves lacked a crispy crust owing to their too high and brief bake. I really owe this one another try before deciding on its merits!


dimuzio french baguette


 


dimuzio french baguette


450 g KA AP flour


290 g water


10 g salt


3.5 g instant yeast


100 g liquid levain


Put together in the usual fashion.


--Pamela


 

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Great lookin pictures and Loaf, Pamela! ; )


Sylvia

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks, Sylvia. I had a great bake out weekend--got to do some of this stuff when Jim is home to help wash the dishes!


--Pamela

vincent's picture
vincent

how it is made of (liquid levain)....nice loaf


 


vincent

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Nice job, Pamela.


Naturally, a home oven isn't as deep as a commercial deck oven, so shorter loaves need to be made.  From my limited store of names for French pain ordinaire, I'd say you shaped a "joko", or it might be called a "parisienne".  Some might call it a "batard".  All of these shapes and different ovals (boulot) or rounds (boules) are commonly made with baguette dough.  They are well described and illustrated in Julia Child's Mastering II.


Since you already asked me to critique your first attempt with this formula, here are some random observations:


1) crust color -- very dark on top, with gradually paler color toward the base of the loaf,which is almost white.  You already mentioned that you left the oven at 500 degrees for a while.  I'd say the baking stone was significantly cooler than the air in the oven.  Pre-heating an extra half hour or even an extra hour might correct that.  I might reduce the pre-heating next time to 475-480 and see if that, combined with a longer pre-heating of the stone, would solve that condition.


Be sure the loaves are at least 2 inches apart.  3 or 4 inches is better, if that's feasible.


     Looks like either more steam, more rapid introduction of steam, or more effective capture of the steam during the first 10 minutes of baking would make some improvement to what is already a good crust.  Don't let the loaves sit in the dry oven more than a couple of seconds before creating abundant steam and closing the door to capture it immediately.  Vent the steam after the loaf barely begins to brown -- usually around 10 minutes.


2) flat profile (cross-section) -- the flat profile indicates that either the dough was too wet (I doubt this) or that the loaf should be tightened more agressively without eliminating the big holes (alveoles).  Since you're only making two or three loaves with this formula, you can get excellent results using a somewhat slower but definitely more gentle method of shaping a long cylinder.  Instead of rolling the strand back and forth (which can work the dough too much and cause a tight crumb), try limiting your work to the folding motions you see illustrated in Chapter 6.  Just keep folding the dough until the loaf is tight, and only strike the seam with your hand -- not the rest of the loaf.


It's almost impossible to relate in words the subtle but important method necessary for shaping a baguette made from moderately soft dough.  I made a stab at it in Chapter 6, but I seem to remember advising people to get hands-on supervision from a trainer or instructor.  The baguette is made from a very simple dough, but that long cylinder is almost impossible to master without hands-on instruction.  It really is the most difficult standard shape to master.


At the culinary school where I taught, I didn't even try to show the technique in Introductory Baking because students got frustrated and only had a day to learn it.  With Advanced Baking students I'd still wait a couple of weeks and build their confidence with ciabatta, batards, and rounds before smashing it with the baguette.   After 3 or 4 weeks of practicing it a few times per week, they'd usually get it.


Anybody who thinks shaping baguettes is easy is almost certainly using a firm dough, possibly made with spring wheat flour.  The crumb will be too tight, the crust will be too chewy and not crisp enough, and the volume will be excessive, leaving a cottony interior.  That bread may be long and narrow, but it isn't close to a traditional baguette.  Beware of poorly-constructed imitations.


--Dan DiMuzio


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks for these valuable comments, Dan.


On steam: I'm not getting much steam from the various methods I tried. I'm waiting for some lava rocks that I ordered to arrive. Some members of this forum have had good results using them to generate steam. I'll also try heating the stone longer next time. Lowering the oven temperature is a no brainer.


I agree that I didn't get good surface tension on those loaves. Again, I only make baguettes occasionally and think it is hard to master the shaping this way. I'll have to set aside 3 or 4 days in which I only make baguettes when I return from vacation. Repeating the process multiple times over the course of 3 or 4 days is probably what I need most at this point. I'll take a closer look at chapter 6 too so I can better understand the shaping technique.


--Pamela