The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Poolish baguettes for Bread challenge

Truffles's picture

Poolish baguettes for Bread challenge

This the second try on this bread and it went better than last time. It still is not brown enough, is too flat and the texture is not open enough. I tried proping the door open with a hot pad at the top of the oven door for the last approx 12 minutes. Turned the oven off and left the bread in with door closed. I baked it quite a bit longer than called for so I guess I should just leave it in until it's brown enough.

I'm not vwery well organized so don't take enough pictures, although it's a challenge with hands covered with dough. I have been going this way and that trying to get the pictures uploaded for entry with many false tries but think I may have it now if I can get the pictures in the right place.bread donebotom of loavescut baguetteAs you can see it worked, alittle ugly but they are there. The bottoms show thepoor shapping. And the rest is evident to see. Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Herb


drdobg's picture

What temperature are you baking at?  Are you using a stone?  If so, how long are you preheating your oven?   You likely should get an oven thermometer to confirm that your oven temp is as desired (set).  How do you get steam into your oven?  My first thought is the loaves are underbaked, so you are not getting the caramelization from the residual sugars in the dough.  Overproofing can also lead to pale loaves, as there aren't enough residual sugars left to caramelize.  This can also reduce your oven spring, causing the crumb to be tighter than desired.  These may be some thoughts to consider.  Good luck and keep baking!

Truffles's picture

Thanks drdobg, I appreciate your help. I baked at 460 as listed and used a fibremat which just about fills the oven rack completely. Pre heat was 1 1/2 hours. Some months ago I was having trouble with browning and not being able to tell oven temp when I went from one bread to one of a lower one. The readout didn't give me any info as to what is happening. I have tried using an oven thermometer but hve difficulty (read impossible) to see what it is. Anyway I called Wolf  and gave me names of applioance people. The man tested the oven with an infared and said it was fine but adjusted the oven to bake art 25 deg F higher. This has thrown off the minimum temp for the oven. I baked for 12 minutes withsteam for 8min turned them 180 deg with great difficulty, loaves falling offonto the door etc. thenbaked another 12. When they were not brown I baked another 10 then 5 more with the door proped slightly open with a hot pad. Then two mmore 5 min shots and finally 5 min with the oven off and the door closed.

Overproofing is a problem, I'm not sure how to test. What I remember is to push my finger in to the first joint and when removed the dough should come back slowly. So what if it comes back slowly partway, not at all, comes back the whole way etc.? I would apopreciate any further thoughts you have.  Herb

LindyD's picture

Hi Truffles, Taste is the most important aspect.  If they taste good, you've succeeded.

While mixing baguette dough isn't difficult, shaping baguettes is one of the biggest challenges for any baker.  The pros make it look easy.  It's not.  I've studied the Ciril Hitz video for hours and still have problems.

Proper or improper fermentation play a big part in the result. The bottoms look like that because of shaping problems.  I've made more than my share of loaves whose bottoms look like that!  Only way to get around that is to keep on making them over and over again.  

In addition to the above questions about preheating and using a stone, did you steam your oven after you loaded the baguettes?

On the bright side, you've got one down on the Bread challenge.  I cheated on JH's poolish baguettes because when I made the recipe, I turned them into rolls. Will have to revisit that recipe and actually make the baguettes.

Truffles's picture

Thanks LindyD, your comment was really helpful. The shaping link was the best I've seen. My dough didn't look any thing like Ciril's. I think that tells me a lot bout my problem and so does the shaping part. I plan to watch it many times.

 The bread tasted pretty good but don't have a good frame of reference for how a baguette should taste. It sure didn't have any crust crunch and not a lot of flavor.

Although the recipe doesn't call for steaming I steamed for 8 min at 2 min intervals. I am a little confiused about the steaming as the text often says "the usual amount of steaming" or comments like 4 to 6 seconds of steamiong is enough.. I steam my cast iron containers filled with lava rocks for 3 to 4 seconds each time at the 2 min intervals trying not to open the door very much. I use a garden tank sprayer with a wand that is used exclusively for steaming. I steam it once just before loading the bread in. Shut the door, score the bread then load the bread.


ananda's picture

Hi Herb,

Obviously it is a difficult concept to explain and be absolute about; everybody's oven is different.

Just thinking, though.   It is very easy to oversteam too.   This will cool your oven right down, and make it difficult for your bread to bake properly.

Have you looked at the work of DonD on TFL [see: ]   He has some precise and sensible steaming instructions which might help you.   Worth visiting to admire his lovely bread really!

Some very good advice above of course; Lindy's "on the money", as always

Hope this may help you

Best wishes


Truffles's picture

Than ks Andy for your help. I printed DonD's recipe and will try his steaming technique and also his variation of the recipe. They look great to me. I have three cast iron containers in the oven bottom with lava rocks but I will spread the water around. Thanks again    Herb