The Fresh Loaf

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Improving Food Processor Baguettes

tordoc's picture

Improving Food Processor Baguettes

Currently I am on a baguette kick. My wife bought a food processor for me this Christmas.  I often cook for a crowd and this machine is great.  It's the big WS Cuisinart model and it stays on the counter and I'm trying to use it for everything I possibly can.  I happened across the Van Over recipe in an old Cuisinart manual.  I looked at the recipe and thought the hydration seemed kind of low at 63% but made it anyway.  It was the easiest dough to handle - very tasty, but needed more crackle and more holes.   I added an ounce of water bringing the hydration to about 69%.  I then saw van Over's published recipe online  and noticed that he had made the same change.   I guess I learned from you all…  The bread was good but could be better.  

I just finished a batch of baguettes with this formula adjusted to 72% hydration and have a batch of dough in the fridge at 75%.  



I'm attempting to adapt other baguette techniques to the food processor . My goal is to get a food processor dough with higher hydration and minimal active time and minimal kitchen mess.  And of course improve technique along the way.


Here is the 75% hydration Van Over recipe result:



Scoring and shaping are getting better I think...


I then tried the Baguettes a la Bouabsa as described on Breadcetera by SteveB.  Did the autolyse first.  For the 200 slap and folds I processed for 45 seconds.  I left the dough in the processor and turned the machine on every 20 minutes until the ball reformed and spun for 5 seconds where the original recipe called for more folding.  


All went ok.  These were very tasty.  Minimal yeast aroma.  Crust was snappy.  Crumb not as open as I'd have liked.  Dough overworked?  Maybe too much pressure during shaping?  Under proofed?  Not sure...


One of them became these Baguette Crisps.  Perfect for Hummus!!!





The next batch was a blend of the Mark Bittman recipe from How to Cook Everything, and the Charles Van Over food processor recipes.


KABF             500g

wheat germ   10g

SAF yeast 1/2 tsp

Salt 1 1/2 tsp

Warm Water 364g


Mixed in food processor with metal dough blade for 30 sec.   Dough temp was 95F after the mix and was sticky to the touch.

4 hours Bulk fermentation then divide and preshape to small torpedoes.

Rest 15min then shape 

Proof en couche (parchment paper) 90 min

Bake at  480F for 22 min with steam for the first 10 min





These are my best yet.  All done in one night.  Very tasty and light.  Loaves went from 210g before baking to 170 after...



Next 2 batches are both in the fridge:


-The same as above (Bittman Van-Over) except with 24 hour plus cold retardation after the bulk for baking first thing in the morning.

-DonD's Baguettes a l'Ancienne except I am using  the food processor for the mixing...  Tomorrow this gets yeast, the rest of the water, stretching / folding etc...


Any comments or tips?



tordoc's picture

Here's how this went:


APF             500g

wheat germ   10g

SAF yeast 1/2 tsp

Salt 1 1/2 tsp

Warm Water 364g


Mixed in food processor with metal dough blade for 30 sec.   Dough temp was 95F after the mix and was sticky to the touch.

4 hours Bulk fermentation 

Cold Fermentation about 30 hours 

Divide and preshape into torpedoes

Rest 15 minute


Proof en couche (parchment paper) 90 min

Bake at  500F for 20 min with steam for the first 10 min

I left the convection fan on.  The vey brown loaf was right in the path of it's flow.  No singing or cracking of the crust in this batch (any ideas why not?) Nice shine in the crumb.

According to the wife and kids, this is the best batch yet.  Moist, creamy,tasty crumb.  No yeasty off notes or aftertaste.  Crust thin and crackly with some chew (not the type that shatters though).  


I held a piece of dough for the next batch... Let's see what that does for flavor.

Don D's formula is in the fridge - day 2.  Will follow up.



highmtnpam's picture

I am very interested in making baguettes this way and am following your experiences with interest.  


gpaparo's picture

I am very interested as well.  Last batch looked on point.

Frrogg1son's picture

I really appreciate Tordoc's posts. I greatly enjoy the wide range of experiences, ideas, methods and philosophies reflected in the various forum entries. I figure that I can learn something from almost everyone. And, of course, there are a few of the regular contributors from whom I've learned a ton.

I am a purist in many ways. I weigh all my ingredients. I dream in baker's percentages. I much prefer stretch and fold rather than kneading for my lean doughs. For rich doughs I always prefer to knead in sugar and then butter by hand. I was shocked when a recent post suggested the same thing. I thought I was the only wingnut out there!!!!!

I never use my KitchenAid anymore after the second time the gears were stripped trying to do something like 85% hydrated pizza bianca dough from Daniel Leader's Local Breads.

However, my work and family commitments often constrain me to abandon many of the more complicated, involved and time-consuming approaches. My extended family expect (and hope for and beg for) excellent bread, rolls, pizza and desserts from my kitchen and I love producing baked goods for family, friends and visitors. But often I simply need to produce good bakes with limited time, focus and commitment. Right now I simply don't have the time that many of the fellows and gals have.

I first tried my old Cuisinart for the recipe for Kugelhopf in Amy Glezer's fantastic book. The food processor worked wonders on Glenn Mitchell's dough. More recently I used the food processor for bagels from Charles Van Over's book while using barley malt in the dough and in the boiling mixture as suggested by Peter Reinhart in ABED. The bagels are consistently fantastic. And they take only a tiny bit of time to prepare.

I'm presently experimenting with the processor for Japanese custard type breads.

I don't think the processor is for everything or everyone. I still make Tortano from Amy Glezer's book with the following alterations:  I use a day-one refrigerated yeastless preferment of flour and potato water, along with a poolish as described in the Royal Crown recipe. The preferment is extremely extensible after 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. On day-two I spread out the preferment on my gigantic Silpat from Fante's, smear the poolish over the dough and then do a triple fold and cross fold. After a rest I add the potato/honey/salt mixture and continue to do triple/cross folds throughout the day until the dough just simply tells me that it has had enough. Then I retard the dough until the next morning. Never any kneading. Just folds. On day-three I shape, proof and bake. My results are a thousand times better than however minutes in the KitchenAid or twenty minutes or more of hand kneading. I do get holes in my finished dough the size of radishes, all without a minute of kneading (thank you, Dan Lepard, for convincing me of this). I don't see the food processor helping me with this formula. But who knows....

I am very game for processor use WHEREVER feasible.

My only beefs with the food processor are one that dough size is pretty much limited to 500g of flour and two that hydrations beyond the high 60s tend to be a mess to get out of the processing bowl.   After processing a dough at 65% hydration or even at 60% in the food processor, I am trying to work in additional water by hand to bring percentages up into the seventies or higher. I've had some success with that. But as I wrote above, with my lean doughs I prefer to simply stretch and fold and therefore can go up towards 80% hydration using a large Silpat and a bowl of water nearby for skimming over the Silpat and keeping my hands lubricated.

So please please please keep going and keep reporting, Tordoc. I and I hope many others really appreciate it.

Best, Bruce

tordoc's picture



Thanks for the interesting and detailed reply.  Sounds like yo are working with some interesting recipes.

Part of what I'm trying to do is to get this process to fit in with all the other things that I need to do all the time.  I can get home from work and with zero mess get a batch of dough ready to either bake before bed time or go in the fridge to use down the road.  With this method I can do paperwork, play guitar, cook dinner, read to the kids etc,. without having to wash, get sticky / floury, wash again etc. every half hour or so.  Shaping and proofing is a bit more messy, but as I gain more experience I use less flour.  Also I work on a large roulpat which is easy to rinse off.  

Bruce, I agree about the batch size though I can go a bit bigger than 500gm.  I've actually done AB5 recipes with 2lb of flour.  Also the breads I have been doing have been between 68 and 75% hydration and i have not had an issue.  I may try a batch at 80%  and I will post if I do. I use my largest bowl, a metal dough blade, and the dough setting on the machine.  I drizzle all the liquids in with the machine running and start timing the process as soon as the dough becomes a ball.

This    is a very interesting post that theorizes that the FP works so fast that flavor destroying oxygenation is minimized.  I don't know for sure, but it makes as much sense as anything else..


Ok. Some food processor updates:


I tried DonD's formula for guests.  The full 3 day process.  The only difference was that the initial mix was with 30 seconds in the FP (once a ball is formed).  The FP did a great job blending in remainder of the ingredients after the overnight autolyse - yeast, salt, 50gm water - in about another 30 seconds.  All S&F were substituted with 4 second pulses in the FP.


The results were quite good.  The dragon tail was a hit with the guests.  The flavor was fantastic.  I would like to have seen a more open crumb though.  Perhaps a longer proof -the house was very cold.  I think I really need to learn to read the dough better (poke test).


Here's the goods:




The next batch was my standard FP recipe as explained above, but with the hydration kicked up to 75%.  The crust was singing and little cracks developed as th beads cooled down.  Nice.  These baguettes were pretty and tasty:








To achieve the goal of learning to read the dough better I plan to poke test my dough  more frequently and check for window paning at various points in the process.



Yesterday I put up a batch of Reinhart's NY pizza dough as I work through the American Pie recipes (already did the neopolitan, the neo-napolitan, and the roman).  After 30 seconds in the FP and a 15 minute rest the dough felt beautiful and passed the window pane test.  We'll see how it comes out at halftime…


Today I put up a batch of baguette dough.   I tried a flour mixture (using up some random leftovers)

KAB 200gm

Tipo 00 200gm

KA white whole wheat 100gm

Wheat germ 10 gm

Water 360gm

SAF yeast 3/4 tsp

Salt 1 1/2 tsp


After 30 sec in the FP the window pane test failed.  I let it rest for a minute and did another 10 seconds in the FP.  And what a difference!  Nice window pane.    It doubled in volume at 4 hours.  I did a quick fold and put it in the fridge.  We'll see how it bakes up tomorrow...





Frrogg1son's picture


Getting the bread baking process to fit in with all the other demands of life is very important to me also.

I started using the FP because I kept stripping gears on my large KitchenAid.

I truly enjoy hand kneading and fold but sometimes just don't have the time.

 My old Cuisinart DLC-7E (a large and powerful machine for its era) just kept sitting on the counter, whispering "What's wrong with me?". I had had success with the FP with a few recipes from Amy Glezers "Baking Across America" so I started a Google hunt for more FP bread recipes. Came across Charles Van Over's name, ordered his book and have been experimenting since then. By the way, if you haven't seen his book, I'd be happy to FedEx it to you for as long as you'd like to work through it. It is the foundational work on the subject.

My problem with the more highly hydrated doughs and the larger batches is that the dough tends to climb up the shaft of the DLC-7E. Sometimes the blade becomes completely encased in dough and worse yet becomes cemented to the machine. Sometimes I would find myself spending 15 minutes clean the machine and metal blade - exactly the kind of mess time I am trying to avoid. Keeping flour weight below 600g and keeping hydration below 67% seem to be appropriate limits for the DLC-7E. I'm wondering if your machine has a broader window of options.....

What make and model are you using? What are your experiences, if any, with troubles relating to the dough fouling the blade or power shaft? Maybe I just need a newer generation machine.

Have you tried the FP with rich doughs?

When I respect my FP's limits, the results are outstanding. I agree that the FP minimizes the bleaching caused by the exposure of dough to oxygen. THE FP also thoroughly mixes ingredients. Thoroughly barely describes it. And the FP method is incredibly fast. If the dough stays together, clean up is a breeze.

I am considering a brief ferment for my baguette dough, forming loaves and then proofing in the fridge overnight.

I'll let you know.

Best, Bruce

tordoc's picture

Well, here's the result of last night's 72% baguette dough, baked after a 24 hour rest in the fridge.  

Very tasty, great crust, though the crumb is a bit more uniform than I'd like to see it. As I look back through the pictures above I see that the most open and shiny crumb was all done in one night and baked very hot - 500 degrees for the whole bake.

I wonder if the cold dough takes longer to wake up than I think.  I could proof in a warmer spot.  Tonight I threw together 500gm of flour and 300gm of water.  Tomorrow I will add the rest of the ingredients with the water hot enough to get the temp of the mixture up into the high 80's and I'll take it from there.

Bruce, I have the Cuisinart Elite 16 Cup model from Williams Sonoma.  Very versatile.  i'm trying to use it as much as possible.  I'm good with a knife, have a mandoline, a stand mixer etc, but this bad boy is sitting right on my work island, is fast to use, is easy to clean etc.  I don't have any problems with dough climbing the shaft although I did once when I tried to mix some water into some autolysed flour.  I then took out the mess, broke it into 4 pieces, added the remaining water,  and then no problem - all in about 30 seconds.

I like the idea of preforming loaves.  Let me know how that goes.  You need to tell me about this Japanese custard bread...


Frrogg1son's picture


Your enthusiasm is contagious.  Thanks for the reports and information.

I must confess that my best baguettes haven’t involved any equipment at all.  I use 800g AP flour for my formula because four loaves, with about 200g of flour in each, are best for my oven and my family.  I start by mixing 600g of the flour with enough iced water to hydrate the flour to between 70-72%.  As soon as this preferment comes together, I retard the cold, non-yeasted, non-salted dough in the fridge at least overnight. I’m sure I’ve let it retard for as many as 24 hours.

The remaining 200g flour is hydrated to the same 70-72%  with room to warm temperature water and 1/16 to 1/8th of a teaspoon of instant yeast. I try to time the sponge to be ripe (about 12-15 hours) when I’m ready to combine the dough. 

When I’m ready to work, I roll out my large Roul.pat (you are correct, it is a large Roul.pat, not a Silpat),  moisten the mat with a bit of water and then spread and stretch the 600g dough into a large rectangle.  A night in the fridge with all the enzyme activity makes the dough EXTREMELY extensible and easy to work with.  I then take the sponge and spread it over 2/3 of the stretched out dough.  Sloppy but effective.  I then do a triple fold and then a cross fold to encase the sponge within the larger piece of dough.  I then let the dough sit on the mat, covered by a large bowl.   

After 15 minutes I press and stretch out the dough as before.  This time I add 16g of kosher salt as part of the second folding process.  You don’t have to knead in the salt.  Just fold it in. Later repeated folds fully incorporate the salt.

I repeat the folding process beginning every 30 minutes or so until the dough seems to need more time to relax.  I bump the intervals to 45 minutes or an hour and then at some point the dough seems just gorgeous and needs no more. It just becomes obvious to me that it is ready.  I’ll then let the dough ferment until ripe.  Sometimes it seems ripe already.  Sometimes it seems to just need another hour or two.  Sometimes time pressures force me to put the dough back in the fridge overnight again.  It will continue to ferment and grow in the fridge. A second retarding doesn’t seem to hurt the dough at all.  If I do have the time,  I pre-shape and then shape the baguettes, proof and bake as usual, without any second retarding.  

I’ve never kneaded this dough.  Just repeated triple and cross folds.  I’ve never had better dough development.  It is so billowy and soft.

I highly recommend the cold pre-ferment.  I believe that the flour continues to hydrate for many hours (but can’t prove it).  A 20 minute or even one hour autolyse is really just a beginning. With no salt and no yeast competing for moisture and no fermenting going on, you can really let the dough hydrate, develop gluten and relax, not to mention allowing time all the enzyme action.  The cold preferment makes the final crumb more sweet and gives the finished loaves a more bronzed crust.  It also seems to hasten the browning process, I guess from all the sugars released during the cold autolyse. 

Frankly, I really think that I should preferment/autolyse far more of my doughs. The benefits seem so significant.  It's one of those things that a commercial baker just couldn't do.  Occasionally we home bakers have an advantage or two.

You could play with the amount of yeast.  I like minimal amounts of yeast.  And I don’t add any more yeast to the final dough.  But you could sprinkle more instant yeast over the dough during the first triple fold.   I find that a tiny bit of yeast nurtured over several days gives loaves a more rustic crumb and a more “mature” flavor.  This would probably be accentuated even more at hydration levels at 75% or above.  I’ve been able to stretch and fold doughs at very high hydrations using a wet roul.pat, wet hands and a wet plastic scraper.

Taken from your perspective, you could easily make the cold preferment in a FP and could even make the sponge in the FP.  You could also use the FP to combine the preferment and the sponge for the final dough, also using the FP to mix in the salt.  You could do a full knead in the FP to make unnecessary the repeating folding.   Or you could return the dough to the FP for repeated very brief mixings to imitate the stretch and fold process.

I’m just not sure if a FP higher-intensity kneading will be as gentle and as effective as four to six foldings.  I think this is where the real testing would have to take place.

Almost all of the methods I use for this bread come, in bits and pieces at least, from the many wonderful posts at the Fresh Loaf.  Vielen Dank, merci, grazie, Domo Arigato!

Last point: I usually don’t score the loaves if they are highly hydrated – too much drag.  If I do score them, I just do a straight line down the middle, the Italian way. I have tried covering the loaves with flour and then twisting them like the Swiss loaves but I find that somewhat impedes the oven spring.

Let me know if you try any parts of any of these ideas and then what your results are.

And if anyone reading has any ideas as to how I could improve my method, I'm all ears, or eyes, I guess.

Best, Bruce

tordoc's picture


I appreciate the suggestions and will give your method a spin at some point.   I like the way the preferment and the sponge are developing in parallel.  have done lots of nice loaves with a danish dough whisk and a big glass bowl and my hands.  I enjoy it immensely - the feel of the dough coming together is wonderful.  But here, I'm going for quality plus efficiency.  You have a good point about the number of loaves - I like using 500gm of flour as it is so clean mathematically.  But putting  out a 4th loaf in the same time frame makes sense so I'll kick up the recipe by a third.

I had the thought that some of my less "holey" loaves were do to too short a proofing and not letting the dough warm up well after the refrigerated fermentation.  So, I took a peek around this wonderful board and looked at some information on room temperature fermentation.  I happened across Tim's post on this thread:

It's sort of a room temperature version of the Bouabsa baguette.  Beutiful crumb in his photos.  I think I'll give a version of this a shot (except for using the FP bit of course!).  Seems to me that:

-amylases are actually more efficient at room temperature than in the refrigerator.  

-a tiny bit of yeast yet to awaken in a cool dough mixture is not likely to get in the way of effective autolysis.  it will probably be a few hours before any major fermentation starts if ice water is used.  Reinharts Pain a l'Ancienne gets some great flavor even though all ingredients are added together before the cold autolyse.

-smaller amounts of yeast result in better flavor

So I plan to do my usual dough as above, with only 1/8 tsp of ADY,  cold water, FP for 30-45sec.  If the gluten seems to need help I'l give a fold or 2 along the way.  If the gluten seems to be coming along I'll leave it alone.  Hopefully I'll be ready to shape and bake in 22-24 hours. This will be a nice schedule for me...  

I'll report back,


Frrogg1son's picture


When I was young I thought like most kids that life would be perfect if only there were no limits.  Now, with age and maybe a bit of wisdom, I am coming to understand that there is no life without limitations all around.  Some you break down, some you ignore, some you accept but most are there for us to adjust to.  I completely support your framing your bread baking in terms of the FP and available time.  It makes perfect common sense to me.  Everyone makes decisions.  Every decision creates limits.  My best friend built a thirty-loaf  brick oven and bought a huge Hobart and bakes only with “sourdough”.  He framed his bread baking in a way that made sense to him.  He’s a great man and I have his back but I’d prefer the FP, or even Lahey “no-knead” (no disrespect intended; I make Lahey formulas from time to time), to all the issues my friend has created by that big oven and the commercial Hobart. 

It’s what you do in response to limits that causes a person to really shine.

Your frame is “quality plus efficiency”.  It is a very admirable frame of reference. We see pretty much eye-to-eye.  I’d like to make loaves of the incredible quality I tasted during a week in Strasbourg, France last summer.  But I can’t do everything else I want and need to do in MY life and set the bar that high.  But I can get pretty high within the framework of my other life decisions.

I am going to carefully study Tim’s post.  Thanks for finding it.  My only “limitation” with respect to avoiding the fridge is that the weather here in southern New Jersey, east of Philadelphia, can be challenging to bakers.  January and February are often penetratingly cold.  My kitchen flirts with high 50's during the night.  July and August can bring kitchen temperatures during the night in the low 80's or worse.  I prefer to put limits on my heating and air conditioning costs.  But I think I can overcome the temperature issues by using a home made proofing/warming box during cold snaps and by using the fridge to a limited extent during heat waves in the summer.  And I can always adjust the amount of yeast.

It’s all about trade offs, isn’t it?  As you say, “a tiny bit of yeast yet to awaken in a cool dough mixture is not likely to get in the way of effective autolysis.  it will probably be a few hours before any major fermentation starts if ice water is used.” A purist would avoid the yeast and salt altogether.  Your suggestion is a more practical compromise.

I’m very interested to know how you incorporate these ideas.  I’ll try to do the same.

Best, Bruce

tordoc's picture

Well Bruce, if we keep this up we may need to start a philosophy sub-forum.  It's a great thing to be able to take any given thing and explore your limits in that pursuit - to get crazy, to try things that no one else has, to try things that others say won't work etc.  Now like you say, you cant do that with many things in life - it's all a compromise.  Sometimes that is due to time, sometimes due to safety, to physical ability, natural talent, etc.

One of the nice things with bread is that for fifty cents worth of flour and a few minutes in the kitchen you can go nuts.  Try a 30 year old recipe from a food processor cookbook, try one from a French cooking bible, try ones from the champion bread bakers in the world, or piece them together, take techniques you like and make it your own.  Turn it from a science to an art.  And as opposed to many experiments even the bad results are usually pretty good.

I happen to be in NY and share your weather issues.  I think that with my trusty IR gun I can find a sort of warm spot in the winter and a sort of cool spot in the summer to ferment some dough at about te same rate.  We'll see.  Then again Reinhart tells us that each 17 degrees temperature increase we apply doubles the rate of rise so if we halve the yeast again...

Here's what's in the kitchen now.  Last night I took some flour already autolysed for 24 hours and decided to jump into the middle of Tim's process.  So I added 1/8 tsp of yeast, salt, and enough water to kick the hydration up to 75%.  I ran it in the FP for the usual time and had a much wetter dough than the usual 75% loaf.  Maybe due to the autolyse?  I could have added more flour but thought I's see what happened.  I gave the dough a quick S&F before I went to sleep and left the dough in a big pitcher on the kitchen counter.

So, 24 hours later the dough was exactly doubled - nice!!!  But when I dumped it onto the counter it was wet.  Really wet.  Spread out into a big, flat doughpile.  Decisions right?  S&F for a few hours and throw it back in the fridge? Make ciabatta?  Make foccacia (I actually did that once with a very soupy batch of Pain l'Ancienne when i had promised to bring bread to a friend's party)?  Well, I wanted to bake it up tonight as baguettes, so I tried to pre shape as torpedos like usual.

 This sticky stuff laughed at me.  I added a little flour to the Roul Pat, tried to shape as Mark from Back Home demonstrates. and got my little torpedos. 5 minutes later they flattened completely. So I flipped them each over, turned them 90 degrees and rolled them again like Mark, being as gentle as possible to preserve air and not tear the skin.  I did this 3 more times over the next 15 minutes until the torpedoes held their shape. In 10 minutes I was able to do my usual baguette shaping.  Right now the wet dough is proofing in a very floury couche (a $2.99 pure linen napkin from a Williams Sonoma outlet).  I'll post the results later.



Late night addition...

All's well that ends well..  These are VERY flavorful.  Some lingering tang, a crisp crust that is not too thick, fairly open crumb with nice gelatinization...  I scored one lengthwise per your suggestion.  Baked at 550 with a bit of steam, turned down to 450 at 5 or so minutes.  21 minutes total bake. I don't think they look bad considering the soupy dough I made them from.  The kids are going to love these in the morning.  And that's where it all becomes worthwhile.