The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Saturday Baguettes -

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Saturday Baguettes -

Well, dear readers, despite my recent silence on the subject I have not given up on my baguette quest!  For the last few weeks, however, I'd gotten a little sick of blogging about it.  This week was fairly successful, however, and so I want to share, and request some feedback.

The main change from previous bakes is that a little over a week ago I got a shipment of baking toys, I mean, equipment from TMB/San Francisco Baking Institute.  I got 2 yards of 18-inch linen couche, a lame/blade holder with razor blades, a proofing board (which I've been using as an all-purpose bench board), and a flipping board.  With these, I was certain, many of my problems would be resolved (specifically, excess degassing when shaping and transfering, and ragged scoring).  The first bake with the new equipment (last week) was a little rough, but this week I had things sorted out.


Crumb - First Half

Crumb - Second Half

I'm getting there!  The slashing wasn't perfect, but it went much smoother with the new blade, resulting in at least two ears per baguette big enough to lift the loaf with.  Crust was decent if not exceptional, flavor was good.  Profile was nice and round, a nice change from some recent flatter bakes.  Crumb varied within the baguette I sliced (the one in the middle, up top) from good to great.

Here's where I'm looking for feedback: I'm still having problems with the crust bursting between cuts -- is this the result of under-proofing?  Or something else?  I could swear this batch was fully proofed, but I'm not necessarily a good judget of these things.

Happy baking, everyone,



davidg618's picture


Trust your judgement; it will only get better. Flavor counts first, eye-appeal will always run a distant second.

David G.

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Ryan.

I can think of two factors that might contribute to this: One is there may not be enough dough between your cuts where they overlap. However, from looking at your loaves, this doesn't appear to be your problem. The other is that, if the crust forms too soon and gets rigid before oven spring is nearly complete, this would result in the bridges fracturing.

Under-proofing could contribute, but so could under-steaming the oven. My best guess is that under-steaming is the source of your problem. (But it's still a guess.)


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Could be steam, could be.  If so, it'd be a matter of timing, rather than quantity.  I've been getting plenty of steam from the towel-steaming method (enough to scald my face a bit when I checked the baguettes 13 minutes in), but it's entirely possible that the towels aren't producing steam quite fast enough.  Perhaps I'll try pre-steaming by loading the towels a minute or two before the baguettes, or try adding an extra blast of steam along with the towels (though I'm reluctant to do the latter--using the towels is so much more pleasant than fumbling around with a pan and a cup of water...)

Syd's picture

Congratulations, Ryan.  I been following your progress all along and what a tremendous improvement from when you first started blogging.  It goes to show that sticking to one recipe until you have mastered it pays dividends. 



Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

You're certainly right about sticking to one formula.  Although I'm still fumbling with the finishing touches (slashing and shaping), a lot of the other little (but important!) stuff I can do without thinking about it, most of the time.

teketeke's picture

Hello, Ryan

They look great! Nice ears and blooms!  The baguette on the left  is perfect!   My baguette baking goes up and down like a roller coaster.  Recently I had a baguette got sick.




wally's picture

Boy, your baguette mixing, shaping and scoring skills have really improved with time, and the proof is in the beautiful crumb shots.  Nice, uneven, open crumb.  And your slashing is getting better with each post.

David's diagnosis of the broken slashes seems right to me.  If you can find a way to increase your 'steamage' during the first 3 minutes of baking you'll be producing truly outstanding looking baguettes.

Nice bake,