The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Pain d'Epi -- critique welcomed

neoncoyote's picture
neoncoyote

First Pain d'Epi -- critique welcomed

Good morning -


This is my first attempt at Pain d'Epi, using the recipe from AB5MD. As with other types of bread, I started the oven at 475 and turned it down to 425 after 10 minutes; I used steam; and I allowed the dough to relax for about 20 minutes before I did the final baguette shaping. I see two issues: lack of definition and blow-outs.


The definition issue is one I think I could improve by sifting a small amount of flour over the top of the baguette prior to cutting; and I'm almost certain I did not cut deeply enough.


The blow-outs I'm not as sure how to fix: I'm thinking that could be the result of overproofing (considering the 20-minute relaxation period before final shaping), or a too-hot oven.


Next time I'll also take a cut at each end and remove the underlying dough to create a nice end point.


Any and all critique welcomed and appreciated :)


dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, neocoyote.


Those look nice, for your first epi.


Re. Blowouts: Assuming you formed the baguettes well, with a good gluten sheath, the blowouts are generally an indication of under-proofing. You got more oven spring than desirable. Try proofing a little bit further, to about 1.75 x the original volume. Do you know about "the finger poke test" for proofing? When you poke a wetted finger about 1/2 inch into the dough, the depression should fill in very slowly. If it springs right back, you are under-proofed. If it doesn't spring back at all, you are over-proofed.


Re. lack of definition: This may be partly due to under-proofing too, but the other thing that may help is to make your cuts deeper and at a very shallow angle to the surface of the baguette. You just need a very thin layer of dough to form "the backbone" of the epi," and, with deeper cuts, you can turn the pieces further out without tearing the dough.


I hope this helps.


David

neoncoyote's picture
neoncoyote

I appreciate your clearing up my over/underproofing question. I do know about the poke test...and I didn't do it this time. That'll teach me. Also helpful to know the underproofing may have been the largest contributor to both issues. I will definitely change the angle of my scissor cuts, as well. Thank you again!

benjamin's picture
benjamin

In addition to the extremely relevant points david highlighted, I would also advise you to re-assess your steaming situation. Good steaming really does have such a huge effect on the way a loaf springs in the oven, how it expands etc. If you dont have enough steam a thin crust will form too early, before the dough has finished expanding... the additional expansion will then cause a blow-out through the prematurely formed crust.


Nice job though for a first run!!


ben

neoncoyote's picture
neoncoyote

Ben, not enough steam is a great point, and one that may explain blow-outs on other loaves. I use a broiler pan underneath my stone, and pour in one cup of water. Would you suggest using a different pan with a different placement and/or more water? Thank you :)

benjamin's picture
benjamin

i used to do the same thing, with a pan in the base of the oven. Recently I had a revelation, I used the 'covered bake technique' for a sourdough boule and have never gone back. Essentially you just place a bowl over the bread (stainless steel works well) for the first 10min of the bake. This traps the moisture released from the bread and creates an intensely steamy microenvironment around the loaf. I couldn't believe the difference in results! The cuts on my loaves bloomed beautifully and I no longer had unsightly blow-outs.


Obviously the shape of a bowl is no good for baguettes or epis, however I went out and bought a disposable foil lasagne tray (the biggest I could get) for like $1.60. I use this now to cover my baguettes for about 10 min at the begining of the bake and then remove for the remainder. It works like a charm, the baguettes really maintain a uniform shape, expand in an even manner... and most importantly, dont blow-out.


I promise, if you try this you will not be disappointed.


ben

neoncoyote's picture
neoncoyote

I've read about the great results FL'ers have had with this method, and I've just spaced out picking up a pan. I will do so this weekend. Thanks for reminding me of this solution!

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I'm from Hong Kong and my bacon epi comes from the baking class that I attend during the weekends.   Your tip about the finger poke test  and the angle of the cut is really useful and I shall try to make this again using your advice.  It didn't rise as much as I had hoped but that could be bacause my yeast which may have gone flat.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

Hi, I'm from HK and my recipe for my epi whch is made with bacon bits comes from the baking class that I attend during the weekends.  The tip about the finger poke test and the angle of the cut is extremely useful and I shall follow your advice the next time I do this again. Mine didn't rise enough which could have been my yeast which may have been a little old.Not very good looking epi

qahtan's picture
qahtan

As you can see I didn't have much luck with cutting epi, it looks easy enough to do but is really quite difficult, or maybe it's me......;-(((( qahtan


Zeb's picture
Zeb

One of my favourite short videos is the 'la coupe en epi' in the video section of this french website.  http://lepetitboulanger.com/index.htm  You have to click on the section called videos and then scroll half way down the page - the first section is called 'faconnages' also very good! -  to the section called 'scarification' then click on the image of the epi to the right,  not the title and you get a lovely .wmv file.  I used to watch these over and over trying to fathom the mysteries of slashing and shaping.  My slashes are still hit and miss, sometimes not bad,  other times pathetic!  I can't really advise as I have only made them the one time but just remembered this site in case you wanted to have a visual reference for the angle to hold the scissors! best wishes Zeb

rhomp2002's picture
rhomp2002

Check Julia Child Lessons with Master Chefs.  She does a couple of sessions with Steve Sullivan from ACME Bread Company in the SF Bay Area where he makes an epi loaf and shows how to form the twisted off parts.  Might be of interest.  The sessions are called Decorative Loaves, Part 1 and Decorative Loaves, Part 2.  Well worth viewing.

kdwnnc's picture
kdwnnc

I tried to do epi once (using the pain de campange from Reinhart's BBA), and the mistake I made was cutting the loaf before and not after the final rise.  I also burned mine, but that was completely my fault since I used old thin metal sheet pans :-)

rsherr's picture
rsherr

Thanks very much for the petitboulanger site, Zeb, but I believe the correct URL is now lepetitboulanger.com


If you put index.html on the end it doesn't work. Great videos.


Richard


 


 

Zeb's picture
Zeb

I'm glad you found your way to the site anyway. I seem to have problems posting links on this site, they work in the preview mode and then not when I save the post. I have no idea why that should be as I am not very technical. If there is a post somewhere about posting links then maybe I should read it, if some kind person would point me in the right direction .. :)