The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oatmeal Maple Bread and More Baguettes: Mishaps, Mistakes and Lessons Learned

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Oatmeal Maple Bread and More Baguettes: Mishaps, Mistakes and Lessons Learned

Thanks are due at the top to Farine-MC for her charming blog and its marvelous, useful content, and also to breadsong, scoring master and exemplary baker.

In brief, I neglected to take account of the very low humidity in New York City right now. My maple oatmeal was both too stiff and underproofed. Yes, I made the same mistake two weeks ago with another loaf. Now I have two striked against me, so I hope that atleast it will be something different that I overlook next time. The effects of the underproofing are clear on the batard.

I didn't dare try to duplicate breadsong's perfect scoring on her loaf, so I opted to try chevron scoring for the first time. Not bad, although I think there should be a clearer "spine" down the center of the loaf, the scores beginning closer to the center line, in other words.

The bread itself is rich, fairly light in texture, all things considered, and, as breadsong has said, with a sweet background that isn't specifically identifiable as maple. It went very well with blue cheeses and goat cheeses.

I'm glad I made this bread for the lessons it provided.

Following that, baguettes based on Pat's 65% formula. This time, I did adjust for the humidity with some extra water. However, it seems that at some point in the bake, I brushed the touch panel of the oven and turned it off without hearing the little beep because the opera was on. So when I returned to the oven, it showed 227F, and a couple of very pale baguettes. With no choice but to carry on, I cranked up the oven and finished the bake. Again, no beauty contest winners, but quite serviceable and tasty.

I include another side by side shot of the two loaves sliced, as well as a repeat of last week's side by side, so you can see the very wet baguette from txfarmer again. These baguettes are more than 15 points apart in hydration.

and last week again:

Apologies for the ongoing green cast photos. My little cybershot can't decide if it wants to white balance for fluorescent or incandescent light.



wally's picture

I've also accidentally turned down the temp in my oven and then only discovered it too late into the bake.  Oh well - at least you know immediately what went wrong.  However, I think that's a very nice crumb you've achieved in a fairly low hydration baguette.

Well done,


louie brown's picture
louie brown

The baguette really is a journey. Personally, I prefer a sourdough baguette for taste, as well as texture of crust and crumb. I like the poolish/starter examples well enough; I even like a well made yeasted example, but for my own effort, I am likely to settle on a sourdough baguette, higher in hydration than Pat's, but lower than txfarmer's, maybe something like 75% using a relatively "young" firm starter. I also like the long cold autolyse and the overnight retardation of the shaped loaves. A little from here, a little from there...I was saying to my wife this morning that the kind of learning that is possible now with TFL and the internet is just remarkable.

breadsong's picture

Hello louie, I love Farine's blog too, and love seeing the beautiful creations made by her, and the artisan bakers she profiles.
How lovely to see your maple-oatmeal bread and baguettes (outstanding crumb!).
I hope you love the flavor of the maple-oatmeal bread, as we did. I bought some 'Canada No.3 Dark'-grade maple syrup, to try making this bread again, to see if that intensifies the maple flavor.
Thank you so much for your nice words - but I think it is you (and Larry of course) who are the exemplary bakers - just look at the baguettes you both make! They look perfect to me.
from breadsong

Floydm's picture

Beautiful crumb!

louie brown's picture
louie brown

A pleasure to hear from the proprietor.

louie brown's picture
louie brown

I am honored to be included for any reason in the same thoughts with you and Larry. We all help each other out. The idea is to keep "The Gift" moving (if you're familiar with that book and its ideas.)

The truth is, I'm not crazy for sweet and savory together. This bread looked so good, though, that I had to try it and I wasn't disappointed. It really is good with sharp cheese. I'm surprised something like it hasn't turned up alongside some of the more soigne cheese courses in restaurants.

Franko's picture

I've got a lot of admiration for anyone who attempts making baguettes in a home oven Louie, let alone achieve the kind of results you have. I think they look great! As for the minor blowout on the Oatmeal Maple bread, all it means is that your a member of a very large club, all of whom bake their own bread. I've never had a blown out loaf yet that didn't taste good, and lord knows I've made plenty of them. Flavour wins out every time for me.

Best Wishes,


louie brown's picture
louie brown

Especially when one is baking just once a week, sometimes not even that, the taste of the bread is the most important thing. There are enough variables under that heading to keep me going for years. I have to say, though, that it is fun to make things that look good too! Thanks so much for your comment and encouragement.