The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguettes with Poolish from Hamelman's "Bread"-third try

Sedlmaierin's picture

Baguettes with Poolish from Hamelman's "Bread"-third try

Quick recap of the baguette baking:

-followed the recipe apart from the fact that I did not have enough AP flour on hand and sifted some stone ground white whole wheat flour to make up the difference.I think the ratio was about 3/4 AP to 1/4 WWW

-read and re-read about pre-shaping and shaping three times........even though it might not look it, that part seemed to go a lot better

-final proof was for about 1 hour 15 minutes

-the crumb is very light  and has a beautiful fragrant flavor;deeper taste probably due to the inclusion of the whole wheat

overall I feel this is an improvement from the last two tries......if I keep on working on baguette baking I  guess I will have to buy a peel.That was the most frustrating part-transferring my nearly perfect looking risen loaves to the oven-and scoring................let's not even talk about it! I don't know which way to adjust-am I scoring too deeply,does it need to go deeper?

Anyways, am happily munching on these guys!


wally's picture

be patient.  Baguettes are hard!  If you haven't watched it, you should avail yourself of a shaping video featuring Ciril Hitz that a TFL member posted here .

The scoring comes with lots of practice.  Your cuts need not be very deep - about 1/4" is sufficient.  Make sure that you're not cutting straight down, but at about a 30° angle to the top surface of the baguette.  The cuts should be nearly parallel with the length of the loaf, and overlapping each other by about a quarter to a third.  Your bottom baguette shows the beginnings of good gringes.  Practice, practice.

As for transferring your baguettes, you can cut out a rectangular piece of heavy cardboard, cover it with a nylon stocking that you can flour so that the baguette does not stick to it, and use that.  It's called a flipper board.  See below for a pic of my homemade one. 

Somewhere on this site is a KAF video showing them working in King Arthur's production area and transferring baguettes to a loader using a flipper board, but I'll be darned if I can find it now.

Anyhow, keep at it!


Sedlmaierin's picture

Thanks, Larry! It is interesting, even though I thought the taste of the previous ones was great-these taste even better and I don't think it is necessarily the difference in flour. They seem looser-less dense. And I will keep practicing, just maybe with a sourdough one....I can only handle so many yeast french baguettes!

Thanks for that tip with the flipper-I love it! Nylon stockings here I come.

Regarding scoring, I think I have been holding my knife too shallow.......yes, more practice as you said.

Wishing you a great evening and again I really appreciate your input.


pdiff's picture

I'll second the flipping board comment.  That was suggested to me a while back and it helped considerably.  Mine is just a piece of 1/4" plywood about 5" wide and 30" long.  I don't usually need to flour it and use it on all the longer shaped loaves now.  You could make a peel in a similar manner (mine is pine) and I sprinkle semolina on that for lubrication.  (Note: they are longer to accomodate a wood fired oven).

Flipping board and peel

LindyD's picture

and looking good, Christina.  

I'll second Larry's suggestion about the piece of cardboard covered with a nylon stocking.  It's lightweight and easily stored in any kitchen drawer and works great.  The price is right, too.

By the way, if you don't have a peel, just cut out a bigger piece of cardboard to accomodate the size of the baguettes, plop a piece of parchment on it and you'll have an instant peel.  

The challenge of baguette shaping - the pros make it look oh so easy.  Maybe after you've done a few hundred...

Sedlmaierin's picture

Thanks for your replies! Pdiff, great to see your peels-I guess I never really thought I (or let's say my husband) would have stuff lying aroudn at hoem that we could use to make a peel out of! Thanks for putting that thought in my mind.

I know, Lindy, it does look so easy...geez! Yeah, if the issues surrounding shaping and scoring indeed can be practiced on sourdough baguettes, then I might make a few hundred.This yeast dough-even with poolish- will have to rest for as bit now!

Next up, pretzels again and then one of the potato bread variations!


LindyD's picture

If  you haven't tried the Bouabasa sourdough baguettes posted by David Snyder, give them a try.  They're quite awesome - and pretty easy.  I might just skip the poolish baguettes for a while as I know there's no way they can compare (after all, I have to eat what I bake).  

I keep getting distracted from the Hamelman challenge and need to get back on that path.  Maybe a rye sourdough this weekend.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Sedimaierin,

I recently purchased a baguette baking tray. This is what I place my shaped baguette dough in for their final proof. Tray and dough are all placed in the oven in one easy movement. I can't say it improvrd the flavour but hey the shape is now perfect.

Hope this idea helps.............Cheers.............Pete

wally's picture


This is worth the watch:  You'll see the whole process of making a baguette, but especially at the end you'll see the use of a flipper board as well as scoring.  Mr. Hamelman even makes a cameo appearance!

Enjoy - and keep at it!