The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

anis bouabsa question

benjamin's picture
benjamin

anis bouabsa question

I made the anis bouabsa baguettes today and they were great, the only problem is that they dont open quite as I would like in the oven. Has anyone played around with the hydration in this recipe to get better cut opening? If so were you successful.


 


thanks


ben

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, ben.


I've made these with anywhere between 350 and 372 gms of water for 500 gms of flour. How absorbent the flour is matters a lot in how slack the dough will be. So, you need to develop a feel for this and adjust hydration accordingly.


It's also important to develop the gluten really well. I've been adding some stretch and folds on the board before the 21 hr cold retardation. And forming the baguettes with a good gluten sheath helps. Of course, scoring technique and how you pre-heat your oven and steam it matter significantly too.


My advice is to keep making these to develop a feel for the hydration that works for you, but be prepared to make adjustments as needed with each batch. 


Sorry, there is no more concrete answer.


David

benjamin's picture
benjamin

there never does seem to be a concrete answer as far as bread is concerned... maybe that's what is so enticing about baking, the constant adjustments and tweaks along the road to the elusive perfect bread.


This was the first time I had baked these, and I had read several comments noting the wetness of the dough, so I just went along with it and followed the recipe exactly. The crust was exceptional, I have never been able to produce the authentic french bread crust, but this recipe nailed it. 


I have become fairly good at scoring and achieving nice 'ears', so I don't think technique is at fault. Similarly my oven was pre-warmed with steam pan, so no blame to lay here either.


The only thing I can think to change is to reduce the hydration a little. The formed baguettes were very 'slack' following 40 min proof. Though I was able to score them as I would like, the marks never really opened up (a couple bloomed beautifully, but others on the very same loaf were lifeless). As you suggest, perhaps flour is the culprit, I have been using KA organic bread flour.


As far a gluten development, I kneaded the dough via the french fold technique, but I didn't do this for too long since I read that you should avoid overdeveloping this dough. I then simply folded at 20 min intervalsas per recipe.


Do you develop the gluten to a much higher extent david?


regards


ben

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, ben.


By time the dough is ready to retard, the gluten is quite well developed, and the dough is very extensible. It gets even more extensible after retardation.


I think there is frequent confusion between gluten development and gluten organization. If you are hand kneading, I wouldn't worry about over-developing the gluten. I don't think you could if you wanted to. 


I have used a variety of flours for this bread. I think my favorite is KAF European artisan-style flour. If you added a bit of white whole wheat and a half smidgeon of ascorbic acid to your AP flour, I think you would have the same thing.


David

benjamin's picture
benjamin

thanks for the info david!


 


ben

DonD's picture
DonD

Ben,


I have had pretty good success with the Bouabsa baguettes using a mix of 150 gms Bread Flour, 300 gms AP Flour and 25 gms each of WW and Rye Flour. I think the Bread Flour will give you the extra oven spring to open your cuts. I read that Anis Bouabsa adds Gluten, Malted Barley Flour and Ascorbic Acis to his flour mix so I think the Bread Flour will give you the additional gluten. I use 350 gms water so the hydration is 70%. Be careful not to overdo it with the steam as too much steam tends to fuse your cuts. If you have some cuts that open and others that do not, it could be that the pressure that you exert during shaping is not evenly distributed along the loaf.


I also find that after retardation, 1 hr rest after preshaping and 45 mins proofing after final shaping works well for me. Good luck.


Don

benjamin's picture
benjamin

thanks for the tips don... lots to think about!


ben