The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bouabsa's baguettes, ghetto style

sergio83's picture

Bouabsa's baguettes, ghetto style

I'm still tying to make baguettes and having a lot of fun doing it.  I thought I'd try Anis Bouabsa's recipe as described by David (dmsnyder) here on Jane's (janedo) blog/page/thread(?): After converting grams to ounces to cups, or something along those lines-- I describe my "process" there-- I ended up using 1-3/4 cups of ap flour, and 6 oz of water, plus the yeast and the salt.  The ghetto comes into play because I used the everyday Pillsbury AP flour instead of the fancy stuff (I spent all my money on KA bread and white whole wheat flour), add to that that I measure by volume (I looked at scales the other day, I'm working on it) and that I spent more than 21 hours-- actually, I'm not sure how long it spent in the fridge, just that it was a little more than the 21 hours, but not much more than a few hours more, if that.

I ran into some familiar problems.

I've been proofing, shaping into baguettes on the pan that I put into the oven, letting them rise and then baking them without moving them.  My "shaping" skills leave a lot to be desired, I think my problem has to do mostly with how I'm not good at putting flour on the countertop-- so far, i put too much on and instead of rolling it just slides aroung and i end up pulling out the ends-- next time, i just won't put flour on the countertop.

This time, I tried to "pre-shape" (or something like that) the loaves so I did the push-fold-turn-push-fold seal thingy I've seen on youtube-- actually, if I'm stubborn about making mistakes, I hold this to blame: and then I rolled it-- so basically I shaped the baguette.  Then after an hour I shaped it again-- well, first I stretched it of of the parchment paper which is stuck to (I'm thinking it might be a bad idea to let it rise in a steamy oven, which I would do so that I wouldn't have to put anything over it which would then stick, but since it's sticking and messing up anyway...)  So I tried to reshape it again and roll it out on a lot of flour but I more slid it around instead.  It was also very stretchy, so I had to cut it in half and made two "baguettes" instead of one.

I also tried putting a cookie sheet in the oven to warm up before putting the loaves on it. Not surprisingly I made a mess of that and when I tried to slide the loaves onto the hot cookie sheet they slid into each other so they have a soft spot on one side-- actually though, I got what I think was some oven spring out of it... Or that may just have been because I forgot to score the loaves :S.

Anyway, here are the results of my little comedy of errors:

I couldn't find my camera last night so by the time i did we'd finished off half of one loaf.

I'm pretty happy about the crumb, though it seems to be somewhat irregularly irregular.

I'd have been ever so happy if the whole thing had come out like the right half of the above cross section... actually it might have (I forgot to mention that when i went to slide it I noticed that the tip was off the end of the parchment sheet so I tucked it in so maybe that's why the bubbles are so little.

As far as taste goes, it's not terribly fantastic.  It might have to do with the flour's brand, that the flour wasn't terribly fresh, or that I'm still trying to figure out how to balance out the salt and on this occasion I tried to guess on the miserly side.

I used more than the cup of flour I'm fond of, so for my next trick, I'll try it with 1 cup of flour and i'll figure out the rest of the ratios.  I think I'll also buy some KA brand ap flour.  I'll do the 21 hour cold rise... as far as shaping goes, I could take it out of the fridge and shape on the parchment paper i'll bake it on... but I think i'll take it out of the fridge and let it rest as a ball since I don't know what "pre-shaping" is.  I will not, however, put it in a steamy oven-- I'll cover it with oiled cling wrap instead and then a damp cloth... uy, i think it's gonna stick-- anyway, let me look some stuff up before I try...



ehanner's picture

Looks good Sergio!

occidental's picture

Hey Sergio,

Your baguettes look good to me.  Glad you are having fun learning the tricks of baguettes, there sure are plenty of them aren't there?  One thought I had reading through your post that I'll suggest is to give some thought to using a strainer to spread your flour on the kneading or proofing surface.  I commonly place a handful of flour in a screen type strainer and then tap the side to dust surfaces in a more even manner, so I can avoid overflouring and get better distribution over the surface.  If you have a strainer handy it may be worth a try instead of skipping the flour all together and getting your dough stuck to everything.