The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Making baguettes is hard

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varda's picture
varda

Making baguettes is hard

Today I made Hamelman's poolish baguettes.   Which retaught me a lesson I've already learned which is that making baguettes is hard.   A month or two ago, I tried the Bouabsa formula several times, without having any idea that it wasn't reasonable to start one's baguette making career with that, so I backed off to Hamelman which I think is quite delicious in its own right.   But it is still hard for the novice bread baker.  


From this side it doesn't look so bad -



From this side, not so much ...



All I can say is thank god for bagels which are tasty and rewarding -


Comments

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

I agree with your baguette impression. I have been wrestling with those guys-my scoring never opened up as nicely as yours!


Those bagels look delicious!


Christina

varda's picture
varda

Hi Christina,  Based on a recommendation on this list, I bought a two edged razor at the drug store (I was really surprised they are still sold) duct taped it to a pencil, and made a little cardboard cover for it, so I wouldn't cut myself when I reached for it.   It has definitely improved my scoring - previously I was ripping my bread apart with kitchen knives, or trying to hack it open with an X-acto knife.   I actually made this post because I saw for your last baguette post someone told you it was easy to make Bouabsa.   No indeed.   Not easy at all.  -Varda

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

My baguette dough just won't shape itself into a french stick!  It dodges my every attempt!


Yours look pretty good, maybe a little longer rise and more cuts might help.  Make the cuts closer together so the openings can expand more.  Worth a try.  I'm showing your picture to my dough to encourage it.  Maybe I'll get baguettes yet!


Mini

varda's picture
varda

Well given your post right after mine, I'd say that dodging is working for you.   Beautiful rolls!   Thanks for the suggestions.   I have been following Hamelman's instructions for shaping very carefully, but determining when the final rise is complete still eludes me.   In this case I waited 40 minutes (he said 1 to 1.5 hours) but one of the loaves seemed almost spent and the other was very springy so I threw them both in the oven.   Given they both split down the side, I'm guessing they really weren't ready.   I will try 4 scores instead of 3 and see if that improves things.  Baguettes - feh. 

varda's picture
varda

After watching the Ciril Hitz video referred by Larry, I see that he does many cuts very close together.   I had no idea.   Live and learn.  -Varda

wally's picture
wally

Especially on the topmost baguette.  If you aren't shaping and scoring baguettes almost on a daily basis, it's hard to gain the muscle memory that allows you to work confidently.  But your scoring is coming along nicely!  Next time you shape, rolls out the ends just a little more so they end in points.


Larry


 

varda's picture
varda

Larry,  I have been trying to figure out what makes some of the baguettes I see on this site look so different than mine.   I know, let me count the ways.   But when you say make the ends pointy, I think that may be a big one.   Sometimes it seems that the dough decides what shape to be rather than me.   But I will prevail - at least I hope I will.  Thanks for your encouragement re scoring.   -Varda

wally's picture
wally

Varda-


Check out this video, it's a really nice look at proper baguette shaping: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17260/ciril-hitz-videos


Stay with it - you will prevail!


Larry

varda's picture
varda

Larry,  I watched a Hitz video for bagel shaping and I was amazed by how much easier it was to do after I saw it.   I'll definitely take a look.  Thanks for the referral.  -Varda

dcochran's picture
dcochran

i agree that the baguette is quite difficult.  i never know what mine is going to look like and have had some unfortunate looking loafs as a result.  my dough is generally too wet to get a true batard with nice slashes. to get that, the dough is too dry and the final product suffers. but, there are the times when everything works. congrats on some nice looking, and i'm certain tasting, baguettes. i am sufficiently jealous.

varda's picture
varda

One of the reasons I have been focusing on the Hamelman poolish baguette is that it is a drier dough and so much easier to work with.   Hamelman,  in "Bread" tweaks the macho (his word) bakers who will only work with very high hydration doughs.   I don't know who's right or wrong in this argument - I only know what I can and can't do at this point.  Thanks for your comments.   -Varda