The Fresh Loaf

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Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation

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DonD's picture
DonD

Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation

My first post in April of last year was about a side by side comparison of two of my favorite baguette formulations by Philippe Gosselin and Anis Bouabsa that David Snyder had previously published here on TFL. It was a tough choice to decide which one was better. The Gosselin baguette had an unequaled sweetness due to the overnight cold autolyse and the Bouabsa baguette had an incredibly complex taste due to the cold retardation. I was thinking why not have the best of both world so I started to experiment with combining the two formulations. After a couple of tries, I have succeeded in making a baguette that has the best attributes of both.


Yesterday, at the request of my wife, I made a batch of Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation for her monthly Book Club Party. The formulation follows David's transcription of Gosselin's Pain a l'Ancienne with a few slight variations. I have to clarify that this is not the formulation that Peter Reinhart and Daniel Leader had adapted from the original Gosselin technique but the true ice cold overnight autolyse method that David had published. After the overnight autolyse and the incorporation of the reserved water, yeast and salt the next morning, instead of bulk fermenting, shaping and baking the same day, I partially bulk ferment the dough at room temperature for 3 hours then retard it in the refrigerator for 18 hours before shaping and baking. I use a mix of 94% King Arthur Organic Select Artisan Flour (11.3% protein) and 6% Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour with 70% hydration. I also reduce the yeast amount by 2/3 because of the extended fermentation. Here are the results:




The crust has nice caramelization from the extra sugar produced by the long cold autolyse.




The crumb is open and soft with a slight chewiness. The taste is sweet and nutty with a complex aftertaste.




The crumb is medium thin with nice crunchiness and the crumb shows good translucent gelatinilization.


P.S. Following a number of requests, here is the entire formulation.


Formulation:


 Flour Mixture:



  • - 470 gms Unbleached AP Flour

  • - 30 gms Dark Rye Flour

  • - 300 gms Ice Cold Water


 Dough



  • - 10 gms Sea Salt

  • - 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast

  • - 50 gms Cold Water


 1- Mix flour blend and ice water w/ flat beater for 1 min. and refrigerate overnight.


 2- Add yeast and water and mix w/ flat beater for 3 mins or until all water has been incorporated. Add salt and beat for 3 mins or until dough slaps side of bowl.


 3- Let rest 15 mins and do S&F 4 times at 30 mins intervals (1 1/2 hrs total) and 2 more times at 45 mins  intervals (1 1/2 hrs total).


 4- Refrigerate for 24 hours.


 5- Divide dough in 3 and gently pre-shape in torpedo shape. Let rest 1 hr.


 6-Gently shape baguettes and proof on linen couche for 45 mins.


 7- One hour before baking, preheat oven to 490 degrees f w/ baking stone and cast iron skillet filled w/ lava rocks.


 8- Mist sides of oven then slash baguettes 4 times and transfer baguettes to baking stone in oven. Immediately pour 2/3 cup boiling water on lava rocks.


 9- Reduce oven temperature to 460 degrees f and bake 10 mins.Remove cast iron skillet, reduce temperature to 430 degrees F and bake for another 10 mins on convection mode.


 10- Remove baguettes from oven and let cool on wire rack.


Happy Baking!


Don

Comments

hanseata's picture
hanseata

for getting back to me so quickly. I will bake the baguettes next weekend, soon as we get back from our daughter's graduation in Montreal.


 

bnom's picture
bnom

A very nice baguette indeed.  There really is a nutty sweetness to the flavor.  I slipped up and added too much water...I tried adding extra flour to compensate but that hydration was still too high and the crust was thin...grigne but no ears.  I'll definitely keep trying until I achieve the sort of beautiful loaves you've shown us.


Thanks for the recipe!


 

DonD's picture
DonD

There is really nothing wrong with a thin crust as long as it is crackly and not soft. Personally, I find it desirable and the use of convection bake at the end really helps in achieving that.


Don

bnom's picture
bnom

my crust was ciabatta thin not crackly thin.  Another incentive to get a convection oven!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Hi, Don,


I wonder whether your ears rang today at lunchtime, when the Andersons were praising your baguette as "Best I've ever eaten so far!". The loaves vanished so quickly that I couldn't even take a photo!


Though they didn't have quite as big holes as yours (my kitchen must be cooler, I should have proofed them a little longer) the crust was great, and the taste just wonderful!


 


 


 

DonD's picture
DonD

Hi Hanseata,


My ears were indeed ringing although it was from some clients talking my ears off in a meeting at lunchtime today. However, I cannot take any credit because you made those baguettes. BTW, who are those delightful Andersons with such impeccable taste?


Don

Crusty Baker's picture
Crusty Baker

Hi Don,


I've made these baguettes but always have a difficult time with mixing the autolyse dough right out of the fridge with the 50g cold water, salt and yeast as the dough is extremely stiff and mixing with a paddle as you suggest is almost impossible. (Dough gets slapped around like a ball)!!  Do you let the dough come to room temp first?  Thanks, Crusty Baker

DonD's picture
DonD

Hi Crusty Baker,


I mix the autolyse dough right out of the refrigerator with the paddle attachment on my KA. I have  a 30 year old K5-A model made by Hobart and a 10 year old newer model and they both do the job although the old KA has a more powerful motor and even on slow speed will splatter the water if I do not use the splatter shield. It will slosh around for a minute or so but eventually will incorporate the water fine.


Don

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

 


I love your recipe.  Thank you for sharing I've made them twice ( my first times baking baguettes).  They taste great,  but I'm working on my shaping. 


Can I leave the flour & water mix in the fridge an extra day or two before adding the salt, yeast & water without effecting the baguette?


Thank you!


Margie


 

DonD's picture
DonD

Hi Margie,


I have never tried to cold autolyse the dough more than 12 hours (usually overnight) so I do not know what effect a 24 or 48 hour rest will bring. The theory is that you are delaying the yeast fermentation by hydrating the flour with cold water and giving the amylase enzymes extra time to break down the starch into sugar. This extra sugar is what gives the bread the additional sweetness and caramelization. I am afraid that too long of an autolyse may be too much of a good thing and you will weaken the structure of the dough and reduce its capability to trap and retain the gas produced during fermantation.


Don

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

Thanks for your reply Don!  I love your posts they are vey helpful to me.  I  have 2 more of your recipes printed up to try soon.  Thanks again!


Margie

bnom's picture
bnom

I accidentally left my autolyzing bread at home on Christmas Eve, when I was staying elsewhere.  So it autolyzed for about 24 hours....then I had to bake it for a Christmas day party. It was excellent. No diminishment to quality that I could discern. 

bnom's picture
bnom

I made this formula last weekend and it was definitely the best baguette I've ever made.  I autolyzed during the day. Finished the dough in the evening (using Bertinet's slap and fold method and then a couple stretch and folds) and retarded until about 3pm the next day.  They were cooked and cooled for dinner. 


Wonderful color, the crumb was very open, crust and flavor--just what you want.  I can't wait to make again this weekend --- will try for pictures. 


Thank you DON!

tordoc's picture
tordoc

Thanks so much for this post.  It seems like a great combination of all the techniques to wrench flavor out of a straight lean dough...


I'm trying this as written.  The only exception is that I am using a food processor for the mixing.  I'm doing a doubled recipe as I'm expecting guests tomorrow.  I did the original mix in the processor with 30 seconds of spinning once a ball formed.  I also cut in the extra water, yeast and salt with 30 seconds in the FP.  Worked like a charm.  Normally i'd leave the dough in the FP and for each S&F I'd turn on the machine until a ball forms again (couple of seconds) let it spin for 3-5 seconds, and turn it off.  The double batch is too big for this so S&F will be by hand.

bnom's picture
bnom

As I've noted previously, I love this baguette, Great flavor, crumb, and the ruddy crust color is so lovely.  It's often a Saturday night dinner party bread.  It works best for me to start the cold hydration Friday morning, finish the dough Friday evening.  Retard overnight and pull it out around 3 pm for a 5pm bake on Saturday.


This past weekend I doubled the recipe with the thought of holding back some dough  pizza on Sunday.  Alas, while the flavor was pretty good, it was rather tough and heavy.  I think because of the lack of olive oil and a rather tired dough (it'd been up since Friday morning after all). 


 

mage789's picture
mage789

What are these lava rocks that you are referring to?  Is there a substitution for this? 

bnom's picture
bnom

Lava rocks are the ones that are sold for some gas grills. They're a red pumice stone.  You can purchase them at hardware stores during bbq season.  They hold heat well and increase thermal mass.  I like them because they're also light and can be used forever.



If you've got a old jaw of bolts, screws and other hardware, I've heard that works well.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

The stuff that comes out of a volcano is "lava". It's quite foamy and full of air, so when that magma cools the "rock" it makes is very light. The rock easily stands up to high temperatures, as the volcano already boiled away any low-temperature ingredients.


These things are sold in any store that sells barbeque grills; their intended use is to "refresh" a grill that uses them to distribute the heat of a gas flame. I picked up a bag of them at Home Depot for a couple dollars. (In a few areas of the country -like parts of Hawaii- these things are so ubiquitous you can't escape them; mostly though you'll only see them in stores.)


There's not really any substitute (there are completely different ways to produce "steam" though:-).


It's been argued (convincingly to my mind) that the principle that makes lava rocks work for generating steam is not really "thermal mass" - the rocks are much too light and frothy to hold a whole lot of heat. I suspect what's really going on is first the rocks "cover" much of the surface of the water and keep too much surface evaporation from dropping the overall oven temperature too far, and second the frothy nature and very large surface area of the rocks makes them "wick" bits of water up where it can be evaporated much more easily.

hart404's picture
hart404

Don

Have you thought about trying this recipe with a sourdough starer? I'm going to try it today.

Phil

P.S. I love your lava rock tip.  I'm going to try that too!

bnom's picture
bnom

If you're playing with lava rocks, you might consider what I do:  I have lava rocks in two large aluminum loaf pans I preheat on the top rack of the oven.  When ready to load the bread, I dunk two old teatowels into a pot of boiing water and, with tongs, pull them out and place on the lava rocks.  You get an instant steam burst from the water hitting the rocks, and a delayed but steady steam from the towels.   I've used both lava and towels seperately but what I desribe above has been best for me.

Let us know how the sd version comes out.  I trust you'll be adding the SD after the autolyze?

Barbara

hart404's picture
hart404

Barbara

Yes, I've got the autolyse going right now.  I used Don's exact measurements but it seemed a little low in hydration.  Anyway, later tonight I'll add the sourdough and let it go overnight.  I'll post the results tomorrow.

Phil

hart404's picture
hart404

Barbara

Great success!  Really delicious flavor.  Never quite tasted bread like this before.  Check out my blog. I haven't tried your lava rocks trick but I will this weekend.

Phil

phalanxausage's picture
phalanxausage

This is the best home-baked baguette formula I have had. After my last trip to France I was determined to make bread as close as possible to what I had over there. In order to refine my technique, I chose one bread (Reinhart's Pain de Campagne) to make every few days until I had it down solid. I saved half the dough to use as a pate fermentee for the next batch (as a brewer & yeast fanatic, I was also interested in seeing how the culture & the bread it made would change after a few weeks) & made one loaf with the other half. We ate a lot of bread at the house while I was doing that but I didn't feel we were being excessive. After a few weeks, I felt ready to branch out. This bread was the winner of best bread ever! In fact, it's too good. My wife made me stop baking regularly because we devoured the entire batch within a day or two every time & she thought she was getting fat. So, I make this on special occcasions or when we have company. *sigh* I just started the dough for Thanksgiving & wanted to let you know how thankful I am for your research, experiments & kindness in sharing the results. I am more excited about the bread I'm going to eat on Thursday than anything else!

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