The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguette Tradition after Phillip Gosselin

dmsnyder's picture

Baguette Tradition after Phillip Gosselin

I don't know how many different formula's for baguettes I've tried, but the one with the best flavor was that for the Pain à l'Anciènne of Phillip Gosselin. (See:à-l039ancienne-according-peter-reinhart-interpretted-dmsnyder-m).

During our recent visit to Paris, one of the breads we had was Gosselin's Baguette Tradition, and it was very similar to the Pain à l'Anciènne I had made. The differences were that the crumb was more open, chewier and had a mild sourdough tang. I don't know whether Gosselin makes his Baguette Tradition using the same long cold retardation as employed in his Pain à l'Anciènne, but I suspect he does.

Gosselin's Baguette Tradition from the bakery on Rue Caumartin

Gosselin's Baguette Tradition crumb

Today, I made baguettes using the Gosselin technique, but I substituted a liquid levain for the yeast … well, I did also spike the dough with a little instant yeast to better control the fermentation time.



Baker's %

WFM Organic AP Flour

400 g


Ice Water

275 g



8.75 g


Liquid Levain

200 g


Instant yeast

¼ tsp



883.75 g


Note: Accounting for the flour and water in the levain, the total flour is 500 g and the total water is 375 g, making the actual dough hydration 75%. The actual salt percentage is 1.75%.


  1. The night before baking, mix the flour and levain with 225 g of ice water and immediately refrigerate.

  2. The next morning, add the salt, yeast and 50 g of ice water to the dough and mix thoroughly. (I did this by hand by squishing the dough between my fingers until the water was fully incorporated.)

  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl with a tight cover.

  4. Ferment at room temperature until the dough has about doubled in volume. (3 hours for me) Do stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first two hours.

  5. An hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF, with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  6. Divide the dough into 4 more or less equal pieces and stretch each into a 12-14 inch long “baguette.”

  7. Score and bake immediately at 460ºF, with steam for 10 minutes, and for about 20 minutes total.

  8. Cool on a rack before eating.

Baguettes Tradition

Baguette Tradition crumb

The crust was crunchy and the crumb was nicely open and chewy. It was moderately sour but with nice sweet flavors as well. All in all, it was quite similar to the baguette tradition we had from Gosselin's bakery. The loaves are smaller with proportionately more crust than crumb. The crust was a bit thinner, and the crumb a bit chewier. My totally unbiased, super taster spouse declared it “much better” than what we had in Paris. I don't know about that, but it is quite good – close to my notion of a perfect sourdough baguette - and I expect to make it again and again.


Submitted to YeastSpotting


GregS's picture

I'm still getting used to this bread lingo. Does your call for "liquid levain" imply 200g of 100% hydration sourdough starter? And when does the yeast go in?

Thank you sir!

dmsnyder's picture

Yes. The liquid levain is 100% hydration.

The yeast, which is really optional, is added In Method step 2. Thanks for pointing out that omission. 


GSnyde's picture

Those are beautiful.  I should try that formula next time I bake baguettes.  I may have to swing by Paris first just to make sure I get the right flavor and texture.


MadAboutB8's picture

I'll have yours over Gosselin's anytime, David. 

Very nice and inspiring bake!


arlo's picture

Mmm, delicious David. Your baguettes look great sitting in that bowl.

We make a variation of the Pain à l'Anciènne at work, it has such a nice almost sweet fragrance when it comes out of the oven each morning. It's a smell I can really enjoy at 3 a.m. One thing I often considered is using pate fermentee in the next days batch. Do you think by chance Gosselin might do this to evoke that semi-sour you are tasting?

dmsnyder's picture

My understanding was that "baguette tradition" in boulangerie parlance implies levain-raised bread. However, I find that there is, in fact, a French government definition which defines these as simply baguettes without additives, that are made on the premises and have never been frozen.

So, I suppose, Gosselin may make his with some other pre-ferment than levain. In any case, I do like those I made au levain.


ananda's picture

Hi David,
I'm in the line behind Sue.

I realise there is only photographic evidence to go on, but the crumb in the Gosselin baguette is not what I would be looking to re-produce.
The dough is too old and the protease activity clearly detrimental.
My personal opinion, I know. But your effort is in a whole different class!

Great work as ever
Best wishes

dmsnyder's picture

You are too kind, but I would never argue with your authoritative assessment. ;-)


breadsong's picture

Hello David,
Those baguettes look so delicious. The flavor you describe sounds fantastic.
from breadsong

SylviaH's picture

Your baguettes look and sound very delicious.  I agree with Andy about the GBT crumb photo!


michaelc's picture

They look superb David. I wish I could create baguettes that sexy! 

David, do I understand that you allow a final rise of an hour before baking? Sorry for the obvious question.




dmsnyder's picture

No. See step 7 of method.


michaelc's picture

They look superb David. I wish I could create baguettes that sexy! 

David, do I understand that you allow a final rise of an hour before baking? Sorry for the obvious question.




Mebake's picture

Great Baguette, much better than the Paris version, Chef. David!

Syd's picture

Lovely open crumb, David.  And I am sure they tasted delicious.  Nice work.


codruta's picture

Your baguettes looks absolutely perfect, I don't think that anyone can do better than that! And I tend to believe your wife, about the taste of these and Gosselin's. (I bought one baguette from Gosselin two years ago, and my boyfriend was very dissapointed when he tasted it after a few hours- he said that mine are much much better, and I'm not a master of baguettes, quite the contrary)

thanx for sharing this recipe, david, maybe I'll give it a try, but I suspect is over my aptitude at the moment...

codruta, from Apa.Faina.Sare.

GregS's picture


I realize this is a high hydration dough, but even after five S&F, my efforts have been nearly "pourable",  akin to ciabatta. I notice that in your photos the baguettes are slashed, but even with the most delicate hand, I couldn't slash mine. I have high humidity conditions and temperatures (Hawaii). Where in the process should I add some more flour? Were you able to tighten the shapes with your outstanding-looking loaves, or are these destined to be free-form?

Thanks for your example and your help.

Greg Schultz

dmsnyder's picture

Aloha, Greg!

The dough should be slack and sticky, but not pourable. You may need to use less water (not more flour) and more S&F's in your climate.

These baguettes are not "shaped" in any real sense. You pat or stretch the dough, well-floured, into a rectangle on the floured board. You then divide it with a bench knife into 4 equal pieces. Each piece is then stretched to 12-14 inches in length and immediately placed on your peel or a sheet of parchment to load into the oven.

With a dough this slack, scoring is optional and never perfect as the usual 65-70% hydration baguette.

I hope this helps.


dakkar's picture

Looks delicious!  Would like to try it!  Please excuse my ignorance, what exactly is Ice Water?  Just really cold water or is there something more to it?


Thanks for your help!


dmsnyder's picture

Put 8 ice cubes in a 1 qt. bowl. Fill the bowl with water. Let the bowl stand for 5 minutes. Pour off the water and measure the amount you need for the dough.


sitkabaker's picture

I am going to try my luck at this lovely formula. I do have a question about your "shaping". When you say stretching, do you do any fold at all or just a loose stretch like I've seen in Ciabatta? Your breads are beautiful! Sitka Baker

dmsnyder's picture

Pat and stretch the fermented dough into a rectangle. Dust with flour. Using a bench knife, divide the dough into 4 equal-sized pieces. Grasp each piece and stretch them to the desired length. No folding.


sitkabaker's picture

Great....think I am getting the hang of this. Thanks for your tips...Sitka Baker. Did you by chance see the photos I posted of my Stirato...still unable to get the open crumb you get in your breads. Sitka Baker