Bouabsa baguette- Dave's version; first attempt
I've been itching to try Anis Bouabsa's baguette formula for awhile now but have been far too busy to do much baking. I think it's time I change my priorities!! I settled on Dave Snyder's modified version (using starter) and decided to double the recipe. In hindsight, I should have tried only 50% increase-- 4 will not fit on a home stone properly (even my Fibrament). I think 310-340g (11-12oz) would work well for a 20" baguette.
In addition, this is the first time I ventured into the 'hand kneading' domain, with a healthy dose of skepticism, I might add. I've done quite well in my 7 years of baking using my KA for all types of breads so the thought of making even better bread completely by hand intrigued me. I used the 'in the bowl fold' technique-- started off using my plastic scaper but cracked it; plus, it gave me cramps in my hand. Instead, I used my hand and it worked fine. I did the initial premix in the KA on #2 just until everything came together. I tried it by hand but it was a bit of a mess and I was worried about getting a homogeneous mix. I think I could have increased the hydration a tiny amount. (I used Organic AP flour from Grain Process Enterprises-- this is my standard flour: Ace Bakery used this for awhile a few years ago). Our Canadian flour might have a higher water absorption as well.
- Final hydration was approximately 75%.
- Three 'in-the-bowl' folds at 20 minute intervals and in the fridge she went (temp 39-41F) for 22 hours. No other folds done during bulk fermentation.
- Divided the dough into 4 pieces with gentle preshape
- 45 minute rest/ shape
- 45 minute proof
- baked 3 baguettes at 480 for 32minutes; final 20 minutes on convection bake with vents open and door slightly ajar
- fourth baguette stayed in the couche a further 35 minutes before bake-off (total 1h 20min proof); you'll notice the much darker crust-- forgot I had the oven at 500 on convection! It was already well colored after 15 minutes-- reduced heat to 460 and baked another 7 minutes
My wife took the first batch to work so I can't comment on the crumb or the taste. I told her to take a picture for me. The lonely crescent had a decent crumb and good spring considering the extra proofing time. The crust was relatively thin and crackly but moderately overdone-- i.e. slight char taste. The crumb was outstanding in it's lightness and texture but not as sweet (nor flavourful, IMO) as Gosselin's baguette. I wish I could've tried the first batch.
All in all, quite a positive exercise. I'll try again soon with some minor adjustments. And now, I'm prepping to make a Long Branch sourdough (aka. San Juaquin Sourdough but made in southwest Toronto!)
Here are some photos: