The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Saturday Baguettes - Week 5

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Saturday Baguettes - Week 5

I didn't get around to posting yesterday, but I made my 5th weekly batch of Hamelman's baguette's with Poolish.

I had a whole story about what I changed from last week and why, but accidentally hit reload and lost it all.  So I'll be brief.  The changes this week:

I forgot to turn the oven on when I meant to and did a final proof of 75 minutes instead of 60, while raised the preheat temperature to 550 for only 30 minutes to compensate for the stone being cold.

The Results: Exterior


Results: Crumb


I had a lot less luck with scoring this week--the lame kept dragging rather than cutting cleanly.  I'm not sure if this was from proofing longer--I also didn't cover the baguettes as thoroughly with the folds of my make-shift couche as I have been doing.  Crumb is clearly pretty tight, which is probably my fault; I still need more practice at being sufficiently gentle with these baguettes (or could that be over-proofing too?).  That said, the crumb had a nicer texture to it than I've been getting, and better flavor as well.  The crust was great--crisp all around, and just a little chewy.  A little over-dark on the bottom on account of overheating the stone, but even that wasn't too bad.  If I never get my crust any better, I think I could live with that.

I'm really not sure if this week's batch  was overproofed, or if other problems led to my scoring and crumb issues.  I'm going to stick with the 75 minute proof and see what happens if I do everything else right.  So my plan for next week is to change nothing except a) Be even more gentle when shaping, and b) be more careful about covering the baguettes while proofing.  I'll see how it goes.

Happy baking, everyone.




SylviaH's picture

I see your at those baguettes again!  Well, you know what they say about baking it until your happy and consistant!  Your crust does look delicious and a nice shine on the crumb.  'lol' your the second one to call the towel treatment 'magic'!


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Well, I read Glenn's post and thought the descriptor seemed apt.  It seems to have done good things for my crust though, so I think "magic" is about right. :)

wally's picture

Hi Ryan - I'm glad to see you persevering with the poolish baguettes.  I don't see overproofing in your bake - you've got some partial grignes which wouldn't have occured had that been the case.

I'm guessing (and that's really true) that you might still be treating the dough a little too roughly in shaping it, which would account for the tight crumb.

You want to partially degas it when shaping (otherwise you won't get the surface tension required for a nice shape), but you don't want to degas it too much.  It's really almost impossible to describe in words.

However, it sounds like you've got good flavor and a crisp crust, so keep at it - the experiments sound pretty tasty!


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler


That's good to know, re: overproofing.  I was about 95% sure that wasn't the problem, but I don't have quite enough knowledge about such things.

Degassing just the right amount has been a trial--more practice clearly needed.

But yes, even the worst of these baguette have certainly been work eating.  As an additional plus, they freeze well and thaw quicker than full-size batards :)

MichaelH's picture

I applaud your continued periodic bakes of the same recipe, making carfully controlled and documented minor changes each week until you get the desired result. I have used this technique and it serves me well.

However, if your planned bake doesn't go smoothly, as appears to be the case this week, your experiment has lost its control. Perhaps you should write this bake off and do it again as you had originally planned at your next opportunity. Too many variations might have been made from which to draw meaningful conclusions.

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

A fair point; except for trying not to repeat this week's mistakes, I wasn't planning on changing anything for next week.