The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Saturday Baguettes - Closing in

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Saturday Baguettes - Closing in

I do believe I am closing in on my goal of a tasty, presentable and above all reliable baguette, folks.  At the very least, the results have been reliably tasty of late, which will do for a start!

Anyway, here was last week's bake.  Still a lot of bursting between cuts despite loading the steam pans a couple minutes before loading the loaves.  Great ears though.


Crumb (For the loaf on top, I believe)

Moments Later, as BLT



For this week's bake I switched over to the King Arthur Bread Flour (instead of AP), primarily because my wife did the shopping last week and that's what she picked up.  Worth a try, anyway.  I also threw a cup of water onto the floor of the oven after loading the baguettes, to get some extra steam.  Also, by accident I forgot to take the steam out of the oven, so I had steam for the full 26 minutes of the bake.  Oops!




Not bad, eh?  Not as much ear as past weeks--probably at least in part because of the flour.  But only a little bit of bursting.  The baguette on the bottom is just about perfect (this one is pictured in the crumb shot).  Though I'm also quite proud of the one in the middle.  It won't win any beauty contests, but the plastic wrap stuck to the top of that one during the proof, leaving a sticky, slack surface.  The fact that I got any kind of regular looking score on it is a victory I wouldn't have had a few months ago (this victory brought to you by TMB baking ).

Crust was good although a little...leathery, for lack of a better word (this sounds worse than it was).  Probably because of the excess steam during the second half of the bake.  Crumb was fantastic: open, creamy, flavorful.  If I could bake baguettes just like this every time, I'd be happy.  I could bake them like this but with the ears from last week, I'd be in home bakers' heaven.

Happy baking, everyone.


GSnyde's picture


Those look nice.  I found out the hard (literally) way that bread flour makes tough baguettes.  The leatheriness you mention is probably the higher gluten flour.  That crispiness we all love in baguettes is easier to obtain with a lower gluten flour.

I suggest using the rest of your bread flour for enriched sandwich bread of some kind or for San Francisco Sourdough Batards.

Keep up the good work.


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Thanks for the comment, Glenn.  I've gotten decent crust out of the KA Bread flour before, so I'm not sure if the flour was the culprit necessarily (nor was the crust that bad. I was just oddly...elastic).  I'm still more inclined to blame the excess steam, barring further evidence.  This calls for more (tasty!) experimentation...

yy's picture

NICE! I've been following your saturday baguette posts for a while. Those are definitely your best yet. Part of the bursting from last week's loaves might have been helped by proofing a little longer.

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

Definitely could have been the proofing last week--hard to say though.  Could have also been not enough early steam, and I definitely put a couple of scores too close together as well.

Bread Breaddington's picture
Bread Breaddington

Those look a lot like mine, but your scoring is better! On the second photo at least.

LeeYong's picture

Hi Ryan,

I love the crumb your baguettes are producing... Great job indeed! May I ask what recipe are you following?

Happy baking!


CoveredInFlour's picture

Your loaves are beautiful! Your crumb is so lovely with it's nice large holes, mine has smaller holes like sandwich bread.


What recipe do you use for your baguettes?

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

I've been making the Baguettes with Poolish formula from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman.  I last wrote up the details here: .   Since that post I haven't changed my method very much, although I've started microwaving the towels for my steam pans and loading them after transfering the baguettes to a sheet of parchment but before scoring.


CoveredInFlour's picture

I happen to have a copy of that I got from the library.

In fact, I made baguettes for dinner this evening - in no way shape (literally) or form anywhere as nice as yours - and I looked at that recipe but discarded it as I didn't have time to make the poolish required.

I wound up using Bernard Clayton's "Daily Loaf" by hand recipe, but due to family time constraints I had to short all the risings. Again my loaves came out unholey and more like Italian bread. I added an extra 3 tbs to the 6 cups flour to keep it from sticking, I don't know if that has anything to do with it.

Ah well, tasted good. :)


Thanks for shring the recipe and *lovely* pictures!