The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Saturday Baguettes - Week 6: A belated report

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Saturday Baguettes - Week 6: A belated report

Last Saturday I made my sixth consecutive attempt at baking Hamelman's Baguettes With Poolish.  My report on it is very late, and my procedure had a couple of forced errors (for a very good reason I'll get to in a moment), but I got some very good results nonetheless.

The key factor affecting both the late report and the minor errors in production is that when I measured my poolish at 10:30pm on Friday night, my wife at that time was exactly 40 weeks pregnant.  Her water broke a little before 7am on Saturday.  We were off to the hospital and I was more than ready to write the poolish off as a loss, but the midwife sent us home to wait for labor to begin in earnest, and so when we got home at 10am, I set about making my baguettes to pass the time.

So I had a poolish that was slightly overfermented (if you haven't been following this series of  blog posts, I've found that I need to start the final dough after 10-ish hours for best results).  I went ahead anyway, prepared to toss the whole thing if we had to run to the hospital.  As it happened, I got the baguettes made and out of the oven while my wife was still having sporadic contractions.  As with last week, I tried extending the final proof to 75 minutes (up from 60 in previous bakes), although I may have been off by a few minutes, since my wife and I went for a long walk during the proof in order to get contractions going, and I didn't pay close enough attention to the time (I'd set the timer for 60 minutes, and it had gone off when we got back, but that was all I knew).

We headed out to the hospital for real just before dinner time, but I ended up cutting into one of the baguettes and scarfing it down while my wife was on the phone with the midwife.

The Results: Exterior

The Results: Crumb

The baguettes were a little pale, and the crust a little chewier than last week--both results of the poolish over-fermenting, I'm pretty sure.  The cuts are much improved, though I still need to put a little more angle on them so they don't merge so much.  The crumb on the baguette I cut was great in some places, but a little tight in others.  However, the texture of the crumb was just lovely--finally creamy rather than at all fluffy.  The flavor was up a couple notches from previous weeks as well.   I think if I do everything the same, but get the poolish right next week, I should be well on my way (though it will take much more practice to get the cuts and crumb reliable, I'm sure).

So I'm fairly proud of these baguettes.  That said, I am infinitely prouder of the other "bun" pulled out of the oven last weekend, my beautiful daughter Miriam Bell Sandler, born at 12:18 pm on November 7th.


GSnyde's picture

Your baguettes will be perfect for Miriam to teeth on.



Floydm's picture

Congratulations!  You have much to be proud of.  

Paternity leave is a great time to get some baking in.  I hope you're getting some!

wally's picture

but an absolutely stunning daughter!  Congratulations.


dmsnyder's picture


LindyD's picture

Such a pretty name...

Congratulations on your new daughter....and on your baguettes.

I imagine the next round of baguettes will be easier since you'll have fewer interruptions.


SylviaH's picture

Miriam Bell...that is a very pretty name.  She's gotta love your baking and that's a house warming aroma she'll always remember.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


arlo's picture

Congratulations good sir!

ehanner's picture

A new bread critic in your home will change everything. Congratulations to all!


zawacki's picture

Bread looks delicious and your daughter is beautiful...and born on my mother's birthday no less ;)  She's gonna be a sweet kid!


Best of luck!

paulm's picture

Lovely daughter and the bread ain't too bad either.  Congrats on both.  You can pass out baguettes instaed of cigars.