The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Problems with Baguette Rolling and Oven Spring

Penhaligon's picture

Problems with Baguette Rolling and Oven Spring

Hi all, long-time lurker and first-time poster here. I've been having a few problems with my baguettes (Anis Bouabsa's recipe) and I wonder if someone here would be kind enough to help me figure out what I'm doing wrong. I've made them 3 or 4 times so far, but I consistently have the same 2 problems.

First, I cannot for the life of me roll the shaped dough out! It's not just me being overly gentle with it, either; the divided logs are very, very resistant to elongation, and snap back to short blobs following even the most heavy-handed attempts to roll them out and lengthen them. It kills me to do it, but I eventually have to resort to pulling on them from each end if I want them to be long and skinny! I'm not sure why they're like that, as I'm letting the dough rest, proof, etc. at all the right times.

Second, I always get a pretty dense, hardly holey/waxy crumb, a crust too light in color, and essentially zero oven spring -- they come out the same size as when I put them in! I think I'm not turning up my oven to a high enough temperature (~425F); should I really set it to 500F? I heard somewhere that that's the key to getting these baguettes to explode during baking.

I am using KAF Bread Flour and SAF Red Instant Yeast (along with a bit of diastatic malt powder, too.) For what it's worth, I am not using a couche, either. Maybe that has something to do with the first issue. Anyway, if anyone could help me out, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

jcking's picture

Try KA AP, the bread flour is too strong.

Let the dough rest 10 to 15 mins after scaling and before shaoing.

Others will give more tips.


totels's picture

Going to agree with Jim, AP should help. If you are worried about changing the recipe too much maybe try a blend.

Also the rest/relax time between your pre-shape and shaping may just need more time. I mostly just sorta winged-it before seeing the following video: which covers pretty much everything you bring up in your post and has immensely improved my baguette shaping.

LindyD's picture

Courtesy of Chef Ciril Hitz.

I think you'll find all of his videos quite helpful.

Jonathankane's picture

I've been using the recipe in the comments from Dsnyder in the posting by Janedo and have had great success with my baguettes

Dsnyder's comments:

I'm eager to try Anis' baguette formula. I've pieced together the recipe from your entries. It's in telegraphic form, but I would like you to correct any misunderstandings. I want to try this while I'm on vacation with my kids and grandchildren on the Oregon coast next weekend. Anis Bouabsa's Baguettes

-Flour 500 gms (about 3.85 cups of AP flour)

-Water 375 gms (about 13.25 oz or about 1-2/3 cups)

-Yeast 1/4 tsp (for instant yeast) Salt 10 gms (about 2 tsp)

-Mix ingredients and knead.

-Ferment for 1 hour, folding every 20 minutes.

-Refrigerate for 21 hours. Divide right out of refrigerator. (I divide and shape from refrigerator)

Rest for one hour. Shape. Proof for 45 minutes. Score and Bake at 250C (480F) for 20-25 (?) min. David

-I use KA AP Artisan Select Organic - This comes in 50lb bags from Hillcrest foods and NYB Sel Gris de Guerande sea salt and SAF yeast

-Preheat oven for 1 hr at 500F

-For Steam: Preheat oven with cast iron pan on bottom rack and baking stone on the rack above...

-Proofing: in fluted linen cloth

-Preshaping & shaping: There are a number of good videos on Youtube.

Before placing Baguettes in oven, pour 1 cup boiling water into cast iron pan. Bake with pan for 10min remove pan, remove pan and bake for approx. 10 more min.



Here are the results.


Janknitz's picture

As already pointed out, KA bread flour is very high in protien and gluten, so it makes for a very resistant dough.  Some breads need a lot of structure and a high protien flour is great, but I'm finding more and more that I want a softer and more tender crumb so I'm using flours that don't have as much protien. 

Remember that KA AP flour is the equivalent to some fo the "bread flours" on the market.  Regular storebought unbleached AP flour (i.e Gold Meadow) will have even less protien and be easier to shape.  It may not have enough structure for some breads, but for lean white baguettes it should be fine. 

I've even taken to adding some Tipo 00 flour (very low protein content) to soften some of my doughs (great for breads like pita that you don't want to be too chewy). 

jcking's picture

KA has a french blend of flour that is nice. golden yellow color and a mild sweet smell. I've been playing around subbing it in different doughs. No definitive results to post.


rjerden's picture


As you have stated, your dough is too elastic. There are several ways to make it more extensible.

  • Use a weaker flour. KA AP is great, also any other high quality AP flour. I use Caputo Pizzeria flour or Hodgens Mill AP ( I add a little diastatic malt in the final mix)
  • Use a very long pre-fermentation. This will make the dough more extensible and will also improve the flavor. Retarding the final dough also helps.
  • Don't over-knead
  • Don't overproof