The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguettes - an attempt

breadsong's picture

Baguettes - an attempt


I tried a half-batch of Hamelman's Baguettes with Poolish, to make four half-size baguettes. I'm fairly certain these don't qualify as baguettes, due to appearance! as well as size...!
I tried Richard Bertinet's mixing technique and found this made a good strong dough.
I don't have a couche cloth, so proofed on a floursack (tea-type) towel. I didn't flour it enough and the dough stuck a little bit when trying to move the loaves to the peel.
I also wasn't careful enough when transferring one of the loaves to the peel so two of the loaves ended up sticking together, for their complete length! That was dicey, trying to separate them without deflating them.
I found my dough to be hard to score this time, with a lot of pulling and dragging on the dough. After shaping, the loaves proofed for one hour, loosely covered with plastic wrap, and the room may have been a bit on the warm side.
I don't think they were overproofed though but this is something I'm having a difficult time judging.

I look forward to any suggestions regarding what went wrong!  They taste good though; we tucked in for breakfast.

Regards, breadsong



GSnyde's picture

They taste good though

That's the most important thing.  They look good to me.


alabubba's picture

They look good to me as well. Somebody pass the Pesto!

Try some rice flour on your proofing towel (couche) Its like teflon for dough

breadsong's picture

Hello, Thanks Glenn and alabubba for writing! 
I've used a 50/50 blend of white rice flour and all-purpose flour for the banneton based on a recommendation I read on this site, and this has worked well.
Don't know why I didn't think of that when dusting the proofing cloth for the baguettes - I only used some all-purpose flour, and not very much at that.
Next time I will try only rice flour & hopefully I won't get myself into another bad situation with sticking dough.
Thanks! from breadsong


Mebake's picture

Quite typical crumb shot of Hamelman's Poolish Baguettes! Very well done, breadsong.

As to the drag while scoring, once you practice long enough, you'll be able to for baguettes with enough surface tention so as to creat a gluten sheath that will be easily scored.

Furthermore, preshaping is very essential as it will develop the gluten and prepare the piece of dough for another stretch.

One last thing. After Bulk fermentation, you should always remember where your dough's seam side is, this way you'll have the smooth stretched side ready when you start shaping it, so try not to tear up the smooth side, use bench knife with plenty of flour on bench to scoop the dough.

I presume you know all that, but thought of reminding you.

I'd say those baguettes are wonderful!


breadsong's picture

Hello khalid,

I'll try to improve my pre-shaping and shaping technique, keeping what you've recommended in mind. These are very useful tips - thank you so much! 
I will watch Ciril Hitz's video for shaping baguettes again too, and pay close attention to where the smooth side of the dough is during the process.

The crumb had holes in it, and this is something I've wanted to be able to create for some time. With thanks to Mr. Hamelman for another good formula.
I'm becoming a big fan of Mr. Bertinet, too, for his working technique for the dough - I enjoyed seeing and feeling the dough come to life, with air bubbles developing, during the working, S&F and shaping stages.

Regards, breadsong