The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Beauty and the Beast (A true beast, if not the truest beauty!)

Chausiubao's picture

Beauty and the Beast (A true beast, if not the truest beauty!)


I had the good fortune of being placed on the bench this morning, which translates to many, many baguettes. Here for your viewing pleasure were the best (probably) and the worst (probably) of the bake. My beastie caught underneath the loading board as it was being slid into the  oven, so its back end got tucked underneath itself on the loading.

In addition, because it caught underneath itself, it glued itself to the baking stone, and didn't slide in on ball bearings of flour as it should have, so it was a bit warped. Add imperfect shaping and scoring and what we've got is quite the beastie looking baguette.  But despite all my heavy handed-ness, the crumb wasn't too badly torn up inside.

I blame elderly dough! The older a dough is, the harder it is to work with, whether dividing, shaping, or scoring. A more relaxed dough with much acids built up in it will be elastic and have little extensibility, sticky and difficult to handle, sticking to hands and blades alike. On the one hand acids toughen up the dough increasing elasticity and on the other hand the dough is starting to break down (if this hypothesis is true, the dough has probably reached its limit of fermentation products, which work to break down the gluten, maybe)

I do hope I'm finally getting the hang of scoring, particularly with a lame. I'm getting less "breaks" between the openings of the scores, and I was actually able to notice the grigne opening up properly, due to the angle of the blade. All in all, not a bad bench day. Now I just have to master bench-work with a miche, heavy shaping, and a busy store.



longhorn's picture

Hi Chausiubao!

Can I get in line for your bad baguettes! Looks wonderful! And the story brings grins. 

More seriously, very nice work! Lovely bread. Outstanding!


Chausiubao's picture

I'll keep the stories coming then, haha

jlewis30's picture

I must be missing something, I do not see an ugly loaf...-

Chausiubao's picture

The bottom loaf is the beastie. When I was shaping, one end must've gotten really thin, probably because i didn't have enough flour on the bench, or because acids had built up in it like I described. Loading was a problem too, as one tip of the baguette got tucked under the rest of it. And lastly, scoring was pretty wonky, so the baguette bulged in the vicinity of the scores.

But the top one I was really proud of!

erlinda100's picture

Chausiubao,   I am working on getting a great looking (crust and crumb)  and tasting baguette.  I'm trying recipes from BBA, Crust, Artesian baking...  Can you pass on the recipe you are using?  I love the crumb you are getting.  Also do you know the difference between baking a baguette from a Poolish,  Preferment or Pain a I' Ancienne for instance. Maybe I have to try them all.

Thanks Erlinda

SylviaH's picture

Beautiful baguettes and what a delicious looking crumb.


Chausiubao's picture


Noor13's picture

Those Baguettes look wonderful!

Well done:)