The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Overnight Baguettes

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Overnight Baguettes

I finally invested in a new baking stone, one that fills an oven shelf with only a couple of inches to spare. Now I can make baguettes that approach 18" to 20" in place of the stubby ones I baked before. Consequently, along with sourdough, sticky buns, foccacia, and getting familiar with spelt, I've been baking my own baguette formula that has borrowed heavily from Anis Bouabsa's formula and especially his process, and, in the most recent batch, Peter Reinhart's pain a' l'ancienne procedures. I've made this formula three times, tweaking a little each time, not the ingredients, the procedures. I've nicknamed them "Overnight Baguettes.


Formula for 1000 g finished dough


              All purpose flour    575g    100%


              Water                   414g      72%


              Salt                        12g        2%


              Instant Yeast         1/4 tsp.   ???


I mix all the dry ingredients together in a wide bowl, and add the water. Using a plastic dough scraper I incorporate the water into the dry mix, cover and rest it for one-half hour.I turn the dough out onto a very lightly dusted board and French fold until dough passes the window pane test. Chill (details follow: I tweaked here.). Remove from chiller. Bring to room temperature (details follow: tweak #2). Preshape, rest, shape, and final proof. Preheat oven to 500°F. Pre-steam oven. Load slashed loaves reduce temperature to 450°F immediately. After ten minutes remove steam source (if you can do it safely), vent oven and finish baking.


I did all my mixing with ingredients at room temperature (low seventies-ish) for the first two batches. For the first batch, ala Bouabsa, I left the dough in the refrigerator 21 hours @ 38°F. For the second batch I placed it in our wine closet @ 55°F for seventeen hours. For both batches I did two stretch-and-folds after the first 50 and 100 minutes. These two S&F's leave the dough very elastic and smooth (I think it feels "silky").


In both cases, after I turned out the chilled dough (again, following Bouabsa) I immediately divided the dough into three equal amounts, preshaped, and let the dough rest for one hour.


The first batch's dough increased about one-and-a-half its original volume in the refrigerator. Despite dividing and resting the dough was still chilled when I final-shaped it, and final proofing took two hours and fifeteen minutes.


The second batch's volume tripled in the wine closet (I worried about losing any chance of oven-spring). The dough was particulary puffy after resting an hour (more oven-spring worry). Final proofing took 90 mins. My worries were dispelled in the first ten minutes in the oven. Both batches exhibited good oven-spring, but the flavor of batch #1 was distinctly more bland then batch #2. The crumb of both batches was open, light, and slighty chewy.


I was generally happy with both batches, but the second batch's flavor won out. Whatever flavoring chemistry goes on in retarded dough appeared to work harder at the wine closet's elevated temperature.


Despite the oven-spring experienced in batch #2, I was still worried I was setting myself up for future failures letting the dough triple in volume during its retarded proof at 55°F. I recently broke down and bought Peter Reinhart's  "The Bread Baker's Apprentice". His anecdote about capturing the hearts and minds of his more reluctant students when they are first introduced to pain a' l'acienne dough pushed me to skip to its formula. I was intrigued by his "shock retardation" using ice water to mix the dough.


I mixed the third batch's dough with ice water, and also placed it in the wine closet during its autolyse rest. I checked the dough a couple of times after performing the two S&F, and was a little worried by almost no apparent action. Encouraged by the few little bubbles I could see through the bottom of the plastic container I went to bed, but set the alarm to remove the dough after fifeteen hours chilling. The dough was just short of doubled when removed.  Following Reinhart's directions I let the dough sit, undivided at room temperature (high sixties-ish) for two hours. When I got out of bed the second time the dough was well doubled and the top of the dough was stretched in a couple of places by large gas bubbles. I liked what I saw, and felt.


I divided the dough, preshaped, and let it rest twenty minutes. Following, I shaped, and final-proofed for ninety minutes (I use a poke test to decide proofing status, but I keep track of time too.) Baking proceeded as described above.


The results:



We are delighted with the flavor, and crumb! This is going to be our "go to" baguettes: no more tweaking. 


David G


 


 


 

Comments

ehanner's picture
ehanner

That looks perfect David. Great job!


Eric

Yippee's picture
Yippee

David:


Beautiful baguettes! 


From my experience, 1/4 tsp of yeast is about 1g, which will account for appr. 0.174% in your formula.


Yippee

Yippee's picture
Yippee

David:


I was testing my new spoon scale and it turned out that 1/4 tsp of yeast weights 0.7g, which changes my previous caculation to 0.122%.  


Yippee

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What a wonderful crumb!  I also use two stones in a shelf fitted for them that came with my oven.  When the stones cover the length of the oven I have found it is best for me to steam from above if not using a steaming lid.  How do you steam your baguettes when on your new stone?  From above or below with the shelf over steaming pan?


Sylvia

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Sylvia,


I steam from below. I use a half-sheet pan, lined with towel, and wetted with either boiling or tap hot water about five minutes before I load the bread. I ordered my new baking stone a generous 2 inches less than the width of my oven, and I have approximately one inch of clearance between the backwall and the stone, and 1/2 inch between the door glass and the stone.


I was concerned, prompted by an earlier thread you contributed to about steaming from below with a large baking stone, that I might not get sufficient steam with the half-sheetpan on the rack below the stone. However, I've observed steam escaping around the top (and bottom) of the door, well above the stone--fortunately, not a lot. I also have to cover the oven's vent, which is on top of the stove, to prevent steam escaping. Consequently, I'm confident that I'm getting a good quantity of steam to my loaves. Lastly--and the best test--I'm getting the oven spring expected in sourdough formulae I've been baking routinely (weekly) for about four months, using the above and earlier techniques for steaming.


I've settled on this steaming method for two reasons. First I think it's safer than dashing hot or cold water into a pan of heated lava rocks. Secondly, and to me more importantly, I can safely remove the half-sheet pan when the steam has done its job, and finish the bake in a dry oven. I couldn't do that with the earlier methods I'd tried: lava rocks in a pan, or ice cubes on the oven's floor.


However, I also intend to try lowering my baking stone to the lowest rack position, and putting the steaming half-sheet on the topmost rack. If I notice a discernable difference, I'll switch, but I don't expect to based on what's happening now.


In your case, I'm betting the manufacturer's design staff knew stone was a "good thing", but knew little or nothing of what a home artisanal baker does to produce steam, or why.


Thank you for your kind praise. Honestly, I haven't had a "real" French baguette for more than forty years, but I think these come close to what I remember.


David G

LeeYong's picture
LeeYong

Beautiful Baguettes!!! I can't wait to try these myself!


Happy baking!

nova's picture
nova

DAvid,


I bake and sell from my home...your pan and towel steaming method is superb!! Since I have been using this approach, all breads have great oven spring, scores open as they should.  In my case, I have 2 cheap Sears ovens and when the steam gets going, it rolls out the vents...but I fill the pans with plenty of water and let the bakes go with steam for about 10-15 min b/4 removing the pan....and yes, much safer.  I remove when I am ready to rotate loaves.  Thanks again for sharing such a different and effective method!


nova

davidg618's picture
davidg618

it works well for you too. I use more water than I did when I used lava rocks, but, overall, I find this approach safer, and more consistent.


David G.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Made my 15 hour retarded, 55°F chill temperature, baguettes last evening/this morning.


Began at 4 o'clock. Forgot the ice water "shock retarder", and made 5 S&F's at half-hour intervals as the dough chilled. Dough doubled overnight;divided into three 325g preshapes immediately after removing dough from wine closet. Rested 1 hour, final proof 1 hour at room temperature @ 70°F.




Definately a "keeper" formula.


David G

3piglets's picture
3piglets

Dear David,

I would like to try your overnight baguette. I have a question on your stretch and fold process. I'm a newbie, have no experience. Everything is new to me. So please accept my apology if my questions sound dumb.

You mentioned first that "I turn the dough out onto a very lightly dusted board and French fold until dough passes the window pane test.", late, "I did two stretch-and-folds after the first 50 and 100 minutes. These two S&F's leave the dough very elastic and smooth (I think it feels "silky")". I wonder whether you meant that you did French fold only twice at 50 minutes interval to pass the window pane test after 30-minute autolyse or you did French fold many times to past the window pane test at beginning and then two S&F's at 50 minutes inteval before you chill the dough. That means you have had the dough at room temperature for at least 30+100=130 minutes before you send them to wine cooler.

Thank you for your time.

Jun

davidg618's picture
davidg618

In case anyone else is interested in the answer, here's the messages text.

David G

I did French folding many times, followed by 2 S&F at 50 minute intervals.

That said, that post is old, and I've both refined and simplified my Overnight Baguette process over the ensuing months. I've reached a point where I'm satisfied; i.e., I'm not experimenting any more. 

Before describing my process, let me first tell you I bake to make good breads for daily consumption, or to share with friends and family. Baking is not a hobby for me, it is a small piece of every day life--we haven't bought a commercially made loaf of bread for more than a decade. I bake sourdoughs, ryes and baguettes, my wife bakes sandwich breads ( in a bread machine ). Occasionally, I'll bake Challah, or specialty breads or rolls, but infrequently, relying on formula I'm comfortable with. I'm not an experimenter, except to increase flavor, and simplify, simplify, simplify.

Here's the way I make baguettes now.

I pre-chill the flour; i.e., I weigh the flour, place in a bowl, cover and put into the refrigerator for at least three or four hour. When I'm ready to mix the dough, I check the flours temperature--my DDT is 54°F (wine cooler temperature)--and adjust the water temperature as best I can. To date, I've had to use iced water; it takes many hours to reduce flour's temperature.

I mix all the ingredients together: flour, water, salt and yeast. I'm quite aware that baking dogma insists that salt should not be added until after an autolyse step. Well, I've tried it both ways, and did not observe any difference. Adding it with all the other ingredients is simpler.

For one year I mixed all my doughs by hand. Doing that taught me the "feel" I should be looking for. Now, I use the a mixer (KA 600 Pro, with a spiral dough hook). Specifically, I mix the dough on speed 1 until the mixture forms a shaggy ball. That takes between 3 and 4 minutes. With my hand I check that the mix is homogeneous, and there is no unincorporated flour lurking at the bowl's bottom. Leaving the mixture in the mixer bowl, I cover it with a damp towel, and put it in the refrigerator for 1 hour to autolyse. I continue to check DDT with an instant read digital thermometer. If the mixture is at DDT, I put it in the wine cooler between manipulations. However, I usually have to put it in the refrigerator to continue to chill it.

Following autolyse, using the dough hook, I machine-knead the dough for three minutes, transfer the dough to an oiled plastic, straight sided,  clear plastic container. If the dough is at DDT I put it in the wine cooler, or return it to the refrigerator if it needs further chilling. Subsequently, at one-hour intervals I do a S&F. for a total of 3 or 4 depending on the strength the dough develops.

I continue to monitor the DDT. Usually, after the first S&F the dough is at DDT, so the wine cooler becomes its permanent home. Once the dough has, subjectively, developed the desired strength and flexibility I retard it, in the wine cooler, for fifteen hours.

My preferred schedule is:

Noon: weigh flour, place in bowl and chill.

4 PM: Mix flour, water (at adjusted temperature), salt and yeast (I use IDY). Continue chilling to target DDT

5 PM: Machine-knead dough; 3 minutes on speed 2. Transfer to oiled fermenting container. Continue chilling to target DDT

6 PM through 9PM or 10 PM: S&F hourly until desired dough strength and flexibility achieved; DDT will be reached at some time during this sequence.

At this juncture your total time spent in labor will only be approximately 1/2 hour.

Following day:

7 AM: remove from chiller, divide dough into desired final baguette weight and pre-shape. Rest at room temperature (or proofing box temperature. I built a proofing box, and proof at 82°F) for 1 hour.

8 AM: Shape baguettes, proof on floured couche (I have to do this at room temperature; my proofing box isn't wide enough to proof couched baguettes.) Proofing time varies; in the summer months it takes about 90 minutes (76°F), In the cool winter days it takes 2-1/4 hours (68°F).

9:30 AM: Bake, 450°F, on preheated stone, w/steam for 10 minutes; remove steam, finish baking at 450°F.

Using this schedule I'm always finished, including clean-up, by 11 AM. I think it would work well for a Friday evening-Saturday morning discipline for a working person.

Note: I routinely make a 67% hydrated dough, but I've experimented with wetness from 65% to 72%. At the same time I was developing the discipline I've described above. From experience, I've concluded that an open crumb is achieved as much through retarded fermentation, and careful dough handling. I've achieved the open crumb my wife and I like at 65% hydration. The lesson I've learned is one doesn't have to work with excessively high hydration doughs to get the desired open crumb.

I know, I know, this is a lot more than you asked for. I've often been accused of telling one how a clock works, when they've simply asked, "What time is it?"

Happy baking,

David G

3piglets's picture
3piglets

Dear David,

This is very good. I need those details and I will try this weekend.

Once again, thank you so much for the help!

Have a great day!

Jun