The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My Best Baguette Yet!

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SylvaniaChris's picture

My Best Baguette Yet!

In my zeal to become an accomplished baker (hopefully of good sourdough bread) I brought home half a dozen books from the library that got me started.  My first decent sourdough (utilizing some of Maggie Glezer's methods) was Susan's Simple Sourdough  and the last book I waded through (because it had the least to do with sourdough) was Charles Van Over's The Best Bread Ever which details his scientific method of mixing bread dough in the food processor.  Well I have to tell you I have become a convert!  I'll still keep working to master sourdough baking of various breads, but I don't have to look any further to find a baguette that's any better than the ones I made on my very first and second attempts.  The first was the best I'd made...until I baked the second baguette from the same batch of dough after retarding overnight.  The second also benefitted from the use of an oven thermometer and the knowledge that my oven temp was about 50 degrees cooler than I thought it was after steaming, and compensating by keeping it higher throughout the entire bake.  Here are a couple pictures:

Baguette on cutting board

Here's a look at the crumb:Slices showing crumb

My wife and I agree this is the best bread I've ever made.  The taste and texture is wonderful.  I'm very pleased.



Floydm's picture

Nice crumb and nice looking loaf.  Well done!

ehanner's picture

Very well done Chris. There are a lot of variables to master and you seem to have a handle on them.


JoeV's picture

Welcome to the slippery slope known as bread baking. Just when you get one bread figured out, another presents its self as your next challenge. Keep up the good work.

sewcial's picture

the shaped loaf or the bulk dough when you leave it overnight?

If you retard the shaped loaf, do you let it proof first or put it in the fridge as soon as you shape it?

When you take it out in the morning, do you let it return to room temp before baking and/or finish proofing?

I'd like to try this.


SylvaniaChris's picture

dough in the frig overnight.  The day before I let it rise for 2 hrs in bulk, then divided it and baked 2 baguettes and refrigerated the last piece.  After pulling it from the frig the next day, I gave it a 15 min rest, then shaped it and placed it in a floured dishtowel couche at room temperature for 2 more hrs (the book recommends only 30-45 proof if baking right after making the dough...the 2 hrs is to give it more time to come to room temperature before proofing) before slashing and baking.  As to retarding a shaped loaf, understand that I am very new at this and have very little experience, so can only tell you that the only time I refrigerated a shaped loaf, it was a high hydration sourdough boule that was held in shape by virtue of being in parchment inside a bowl, which I lifted out after coming to room temperature, and placed in a pre-heated crock pot insert with a glass lid in a hot oven, and the combination worked wonderfully well to produce a very good sourdough boule (see Susan's Simple Sourdough link in my post above).

SylviaH's picture

looks delicious!


sewcial's picture

Thanks, Chris, I sounds like either way would work so I plan to start trying long refrig. I guess I'll experiment different ways. Right now I'm using Susan's small sourdough recipe, but I'm making some changes so I'll have to see how it comes out. I thought it was a good idea to do a single loaf for experimenting.