The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

III - When you are DESPERATE….Baguettes with Pasta Flour

lumos's picture
lumos

III - When you are DESPERATE….Baguettes with Pasta Flour

 

As I’ve mentioned in a few posts , until I can find a magic and perfect solution for preventing a large stock of flours infested with flour bugs, I’ve got to make do with whatever flour I can find in local shops/supermarkets to make baguettes and other French breads instead of using proper Type 55 or Type 65 flour. So I’ve been experimenting on combinations of various flours for a while now since I experienced  the invasion and empire building by flour bugs some years ago and stopped ordering lovely flour from Shipton Mill which I still miss.  For larger loaves, like pain de campagne-type breads, I think I’ve more or less found out a reasonably good, reliable combinations of flours to achieve what I want to achieve, but for baguettes I’m still in the thick of experiments; eternal state of purgatory, between many illusions of possible heaven in sight and crashing down to hell. (Yes, I know...it's only just flours, but my handling skill as well.....)

A couple of weeks ago, my regular Typo 00 flour for pasta making (Organic. Imported from Italy. Can’t remember the name…) was out of stock at my local Waitrose, so in desperation I bought Dove’s Farm  Organic Pasta Flour from another supermarket. The pasta I made with it wasn’t very successful. It produced much softer dough with not much ‘bite’ to speak of, compared to my regular one.  So I was left with a half-empty bag of pasta flour with which I don’t want to use for making my pasta again….. I used a part of remaining flour for focaccia one day and it turned out quite alright, got a feel of how it’d behave as ‘bread flour.’ Still really soft, but it had a nice flavour and quite appealing delicate shade of creamy colour to the crumb.  So a few days later, I mixed it with strong flour to make my regular Petit Pain Rustique with Poolish (based on Hamelman’s formula with a bit of twist…or two), replacing my usual plain flour. It worked alright; more airy and lighter than plain+strong combination, though the crumb structure was a bit too uniform to my liking; more even small holes than random large holes. But it was acceptable enough, and more importantly, it tasted good.

So yesterday I decided I’d try this on my regular baguettes recipe and see how it’d work. And this is how I made it...

 

Poolish Baguettes - Spiked with Pasta Flour

(makes 2 x 40cm mini-baguettes)

 Poolish

117g  Waitrose Organic Strong flour

8g  Becheldre Stoneground Rye flour

125g  water

0.1g  Instant yeast 

- Mix all the ingredients, cover and leave at room temperature overnight (12-16 hrs, or maybe shorter or longer, depending upon your room temperature)

 

Final Dough

All of above poolish. at its peak

75g  Waitrose Organic Strong flour

60g  Dove’s Farm Pasta flour

Scant 1 tbls  wheat germ

Instant yeast  0.7g

5g  good quality sea salt (Sal de Gris, if I have. If not Maldon’s)

60g  water 

  1. Mix both flours with wheat germ, yeast and salt (ground fine if coarse) in a large bowl and add water and active poolish.
  2. Mix into a shaggy mess and rest for 30 minutes.
  3. 3 sets of S & F every 20 minutes.
  4. Cover and cold retard in a fridge for 6-7 hours.
  5. Take it out from the fridge and leave for 30 minutes –1 hr until the dough almost returns to room temperature. (It’s easier to work with if it’s slightly colder and less risk of over-fermentation this way)
  6. Pre-shape and shape into baguette shape, as you’d normally do to make baguettes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven at the highest setting, with a tray of pebbles for steam and a baking stone in it.
  8. When the baguettes are properly proofed (It usually takes around 40-50 minutes or so at this time of year….inEngland. Finger-poke test is essential!), spray inside the oven very generously to make it moist before it receives the dough. (or you can place a dish of water when you start pre-heating, but I always forget to do so….)
  9. (Now, you’ve got to do these very smoothly and quickly!) Score the baguettes, spray the surface with water, load the bagettes into the oven (I usually place the dough on re-usable oven sheet and slide it onto the baking stone), pour half a cup of boiling water (yes, you’ve got to put the kettle on when your bagettes are ready to be baked) onto the pebbles, shut the door immediately, turn the oven temperature down to 240 C….and relax for 10 minutes.
  10.  After 10 minutes, remove the tray of pebble stones and, if you think the baguettes are getting too dark too quickly, turn the temperature down to 220 C and bake for another 12-15 minutes or so.

 

 (Hope you're all kind enough not to notice the ragged scoring on the baguette in the back ...)

 

A vertical shot….

 

From slightly different angle....

Ear….

 

.....and lastly and more importantly....this is how the crumb looked like. 

 Hmmmmm……well, it’s not as randomly-holey-airy as I would like, and the crumb was a bit too fluffy and soft to my liking (I like my baguette moderately chewy with a slight bite), but the crust was very crisp and lovely and the taste of both crumb and crust were quite agreeable.  This is the crumb shot for the uglier looking one (wanted it to disappear from the surface of Earth quicker). I froze the other one, so I'm hoping I'll find slightly more open crumb when I slice into it in a few days time,  because it gained more in volume during baking. But there's no guarantee..... 

 I think I can explore more possibilities in using this pasta flour for bread making, but I’m pretty sure my desperate journey of the quest for a baguette with improvised flours will still continue for some time….

Best

lumos

Comments

varda's picture
varda

Lumos,   So do you suppose that Dove flour is durum?   Your scoring looks terrific.   And maybe your tender crumb is coming from the mystery flour.   Waiting to see what you come up with next!  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

They have lovely shaping and cutting to them.   The crumb is lovely, but it's not quite so authentic, as you obviously want it to be.   Great result though!

Hi Varda,

It is a mix of organic wheat and durum flours; see here: http://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/flour-and-ingredients/organic-flour/organic-pasta-flour-x-1kg/

Best wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Andy. Yes, not quite a sort of crumb I was hoping to get. But, interestingly, the texure was rather similar to some of those typical  supermarket-type baguettes; soft, fluffy crumb with a bit of sweetness, only mine was slightly more holey than those. (Ha! :p)

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Yes, and of course your's would be additive-free...unlike the supermarket monsters!

nice one lumos

BW

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Waitrose used to sell quite acceptable baguette with near-authentic crumb & texture, made with French organic flour which I used to buy sometimes, especially when I didn't have time to go into London to get better ones.  But a couple of years ago they changed their bread ranges almost completely and they stopped making it. They say their current baguette is made by longer fermentation,  and it tastes better than other supermarket's junks ones I must say, but I prefer the previous one. It had better texture. More French-y.  They only use  French flour for all their French-style breads, so probably the new way they make it that's causing the change of texture.  Since they started expanding their territory outside South East a few years ago, I think their breads are more industrialised,  though their ranges of breads have widened, more varietes in levain based breads than before, for example. Sad.....Didn't want to share our little South East treasure with you Northerners.....Only joking!!! :p

 

Anyway.....Now I learned this pasta flour make the crumb softer and fluffier, I'm contemplating mixing it into my cocoa bread formula.  It might offset tightening effect of cocoa powder....maybe.....?

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

How ironic that I spent nearly 10 years from 1994 onwards, working in a Northern bakery making various types of breads which were sent by the several hundred, daily, by road freight, down to the Brinklow and Bracknell depots for distribution throughout all Waitrose then Southern-based Empire!

Very best wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Really?  That's really interesting. I've been shopping at Waitrose since mid-'80s and the period you were at the Northern bakery almost coincides with the time I wasn't doing much breadmaking because my daughter was small(-ish), so I might've eaten some bread you made, then.  My regular breads were the organic baguettes, Grand Mange, Landbrot and mini ciabatta (they had normal sized ciabatta, too, but for some reason mini ones tasted much better with more authentic texture) plus sometimes crusty white loaves from the counter. (Did you make some of these?)  Except for the Grand Mange and the crusty loaves are the only remaining ones they still sell or if they still do, they're not as nice as they used to be. They also used to sell quite good bagels, but maybe that's before your time, and possibly they had a contract with some Jewish bakery down here because there're a couple of very large Jewish community down this way.

How would you say the standard of Waitrose breadmaking requirement compared to other supermarket? (Don't have to be polite. I survive on Waitrose, but I'm not their partner! ;))

best

lumos

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

I worked for Village Bakery, Melmerby.

All the breads carried a Village Bakery logo, we did not make any own label.

Ever-present lines were Pain de Campagne, or, French Country Bread, and Rossisky both as 400g and 800g loaves.

Borodinsky came along later but was also then ever-present, and remains, I suspect.

When I first started we made Greek Olive Bread and Italian Tomato Bread.   Along the way Pane Toscano was on the list too.

There are probably others, but these were the loaves we made in large quantities over a reasonable period of time.

You may note on my home page that I only ever eat my own bread, really.   I know who makes Waitrose breads, and the arrangements in place, but I'm not interested in what is put on the shelves.   I guess that is because the shop in central Newcastle does not have an ISB.   I occasionally get to Hexham, but haven't been to that store for some years now, nor any other Waitrose store with an ISB. 

Best wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Right, OK. Yes, I know you used to work for Village Bakery but thought you meant you've also worked for another bakery who was supplying Waitrose. 

BW

lumos

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks, Varda! 

As Andy says, it's a mix of wheat flour (whatever that is) and durum flour, but they don't say how they're mixed, so who know..... I might send an email to their customer desk to ask what kind of wheat they use and what the ratio of the mix. 

Until I read your blog about durum flour, I'd been wrongly assuming I might get chewier crumb with bite than regular wheat flour by mixing durum flour in. But you said you experienced durum producing fine crumb, so I started wondering if thaat might well be the reason for soft, tender crumb in these baguette and focaccia I made earlier, I don't know...... Or was it only in comparison with WW that you said so?

Now that I know this flour is not really suitable for baguette making, but it does make a quite nice focaccia (the soft, fluffier type with fine crumb, not big- holey, chewy type. I like both types), that was one good find. Maybe I should tell Dove's marketing people they should start selling this as 'focaccia flour'....:p

Looking forward to see how you'll enlighten us again next, too! :)

lumos

holds99's picture
holds99

Very nice job on the baguettes.  As for critters, I had a problem a couple of years ago.  I think they came in with a bag of flour I bought at a health food store.  Anyway after throwing out the infested flour I began checking my flour carefully and started keeping all my flour in the refrigerator or freezer in air tight containers.  We have an extra refrigerator in the garage that we've had for a dozen or so years.  So, I mostly dedicate it to frozen bread and flour storage.  One thing I did was clean the inside of my unlined bannetons and brotforms thoroughly with a dry brush, knocked out the dislodged flour into the sink and put them in the oven on low heat (175 deg. F + or -) for about 10-15 minutes.  It turned out that the critters had found their way in between the willow on one of the bannetons.  At the end of the oven cycle there were a couple of them expired on the bottom of the banneton.  Now I keep all my bannetons and brotforms in sealed large zip lock bags.

Critters aside, your baguettes look terrific.  I'll bet the rye and wheat germ gave them a nice flavor.

Howard

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Howard.

Adding small amount of rye is the idea I got from Richard Bertinet's poolish baguette formula in  'Dough.'  It gives a very slight hint of subtle sourness to the dough, giving it a bit of complexity in the flavour. I may be wrong, but my guess is that RB was trying to emulate baguette l'ancienne in a general-public-friendly version, without a need for sourdough or long fermentation.  Also it seems to activate poolish better than using regular wheat flour. So whatever the reason behind it, it works and that's how I often make my poolish.

And wheatgerm does enhance the flavour, too, but not that much. In my regular baguette formula, I add small amount of WW flour (maybe 5% or so) to add the depth in the flavour, in the attempt to emulate French flour (especially Type65 flour) with higher ash content than our flour in UK, but in this experiment, I wanted to find out how this pasta flour would behave, so I ommit the inclusion of WW, so that I can see the effect of the pasta flour more clearly.

And the bugs....it's horrible, isn't it..... I think mine came with the bag, too.  I didn't have any problem for a couple of years, but it happened on the third year, so maybe I was very unlucky....or lucky for not having this problem for two years previously....?

Yes,  keeping them in the freezer would most likely be the best way to avoid the bugs at home environment, and I already keep all the wholegrain flours (WW, rye, spelt) in the freezer to prevent them going stale quickly and I haven't got much room left in there for another flour bag.   English freezers are usually much more modestly sized than American ones, you know, so are our houses.  So,  neither do I have a space in the house for an extra freezer for exclusively for flour, unfortunately.

I don't store my banetton with flours. I just leave them on a part of the counter-top where I reserved for other other baking kits that I use regularly (I bake about 3 times a week), where they can breath and get some sunshine, so that they won't get mouldy, so they won't be the reason for bugs............hopefully......Please don't be.....!

lumos

Syd's picture
Syd

Nice shaping and scoring. :)

Syd

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Syd! Yes, only the crumb were as nice as shaping and scoring......:p

Best,

lumos

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Lumos. Even though the crumb doesn't have irregular holes (but after all, do baguettes have irregular holes? I didn't eat many, but the ones I ate in Provence had a close and cottony crumb, not at all irregular).

I want to express you all my solidatiery for you encounter with the nasty aliens. I really wish someone could kill the whole race  for good! I had the same problem years ago and I really hope I won't meet them again.

As for pasta I feel obliged to clarify one point: ordinary pasta is made exclusively with  durum wheat. The dough of special types of pasta like sfogliatelle, tortellini and all egg-based pastas is generally made with 00 soft wheat flour or with a mix of 00, 0 and durum wheat.

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, nicodvd! I had similarly very disapointing experiences with baguettes in France, too; soft, cotton-like crumb with uniform, small holes.  Actually I only had a handful of really good baguettes ewperience in recent years. It's really sad the standard of many French boulangeries are not as high as they should be these days.

You mean dried pasta by 'ordinary pasta', don't you? Yes, I know they are made entirely with durum wheat by machine, hence it's impossible to make them at home by hand.  And I always use 00 flour (imported from Italy) for my homemade pasta, but in that particular time, my regular 00 flour was out of stock so I tried this 'pasta flour' which was a mixture of some kind of wheat flour and durum wheat.  So obviously the manufacturer named it 'pasta flour' because they couldn't call it 'oo flour' and hoped the inclusion of durum wheat made it suitable to make pasta.  I must admit it may make a very delicate thin pasta dough for filled pasta like ravioli rather than tagliatelle I was trying to make, but I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know.... Ravioli making is too much of hassle for me, I rarely make it, I must confess.....

 

And let's hope we won't have anotherClose Encounter with THAT kind, any more....ever!

Best

lumos

Tadpole's picture
Tadpole

I've got to say your Baguettes look great.

I got to also say I have had those crazy bugs in my good baking flour. Solved that problem buying a wonderfull Vacuum Sealer and o2s. I've saved lots and that's not just flour. You may check out there site www.dcprocessingequipment.com  an I know you want be disappointed. I got the Pro-2300 and love it. Now I can save on near about all I buy:) Just go to site an look yourself.

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks, Tadpole!

This thread seems to be slowly turning into the bug info exhange spot!:p

Thank you for the link, but I'm based in UK, so the site is not really useful for me, unfortunately. But we can get similar vacuum sealer over here, too, though a few millers have told me that flour needs some air-circulation and shouldn't be vacuum packed. (I was so desperate I contacted them a few years ago to ask if there's any good bug-free storage solution for flour)

Best regards,

lumos

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi lumos

Those baguettes look fabulous, lovely crust, crumb and scoring and I guess that they tasted good as well.  I, too, usually add a little dark rye flour to my baguette mix because of M. Bertinet (even when I use my 100% hydration starter instead of commercial yeast) but I don't add it to the poolish because I find that it then darkens the crumb significantly when I then freeze the baguette and subsequently re-crisp it in the oven. 

Although Andy showed us the scoring techniques on the course I still have a long way to go to get my scoring as good as yours :) !

Ruralidle

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Richard!

I actually prefer the crumbs of baguettes to be slightly darker. When I go to  a French restaurant, either here in UK or France or Tokyo, and see a garçon approaching me with a basket full of baguette slices with darker crumb, my heart actually starts racing!  It's been like that for a long time ever since I experienced fabulous baguette in a small French restaurant in Tokyo we used to have a lunch at when I was a child.   A sort of Pavrov's Dog Syndrome....

 

I still have a long way to go to get my scoring as good as yours :) !

Well....you don't want to know how long I've been baking baguettes........ :p

Kind regards,

lumos

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello lumos,
What lovely baguettes and the rye and wheat germ must add great flavor to your bread.
Just beautiful!
:^) from breadsong

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, breadsong.  Fortunately, these came out quite nicely, at least how they looked outside.  But the baguettes I baked only a few days previously were the ugliest sisters since the history of humanity started, when they came out from the oven, I thought I'd give up making baguettes forever!

As I said in the reply to Howard above,  I normally add a small amount of WW to final dough to mimic French Type 65 flour for extra deep flavour, but for this formula I only wanted to use white flour and pasta flour to find out how this new flour behaved. So addition of wheatgerm was there to compensate for the absence of WW in the flavour department.

Kind regards,

lumos