The Fresh Loaf

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X – T55 Trial II : Experiment with 65% Hydration….with an extra, unplanned tweak

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lumos's picture
lumos

X – T55 Trial II : Experiment with 65% Hydration….with an extra, unplanned tweak

As I blogged a few days ago, the first trial with T55 didn’t turn out as I had planned.

So this time, to make sure the end-product was really going to be ‘baguette,’ definitely not another weird new hybrid like a ciabaguetta, I decided I’d try with lower hydration of 65%.  I could’ve employed double-hydration method as David (dmsnyder) kindly suggested to bring up the overall hydration to 70% in the end, but at this early stage of experiments, I just wanted to find out this flour's natural characteristic using my usual method (more or less) that I was familiar with. So, I decided to go with simple  65% hydration  to see how this flour behave with lower hydration. Besides, by the time I posted about the first trial, I’d already done this second trial the day before and, since I don’t’ have an easy access to a time-machine at the moment to go back and re-do it, that is what you’re going to see today. So there! :p

Apart from lowering of hydration, all the formula/procedure were exactly the same as the previous trial;  ie. 1) Replacing strong flour to T55 in poolish, 2) Replacing all the flours in main dough to T55…….

Well, that was my intention when I started making this batch.  Probably many of you have already noticed how careless and forgetful I could be, and this time it happened again…. I miscalculated the time I needed for cold retardation, and it was only when I put the mixed dough in the fridge, I realized I’d only have 16 hrs, instead of my usual 21 hrs, to retard to get my (hopefully-)baguette ready for the dinner next day.  Oh well…… So I comforted myself (with some difficulty) by convincing myself (with more difficulty) that a part of the reason why my first trial went so badly could be because low protein level of the flour couldn’t stand the long fermentation combined by 7-hr poolish, and decided I’d wait for the fate, with my fingers and everything else I could cross crossed.

 After 16 hrs (Grrrrrrrrr!!), the dough looked very much like my regular poolish baguette dough with improvised UK flour mix usually look like; sufficient growth in volume with a few large bubbles on top, wobbling very promisingly. ::GRIN::    So I proceeded with the rest of the procedure, as usual. Both shaping and scoring was just a piece of cake bread (the same old pun recycled) thanks to lower hydration = the moment I really understood the importance of an advice in many baguette books in Japan; Stick to 65% hydration until you get a hang of shaping and scoring. Must admit I’ve never followed that advice myself, though..….

Anyway….everything went blissfully without any hitch to entertain you push me into another trouble, the dough loaded into the oven safely, steamed and baked as planned…..or that’s what I thought……..

 This is the result.

 

Closer looks

 

Must admit I was rather chuffed with the result……….………..until………………………………………

……………....................................................Gaaaaaaagh!!!

The crumb is not even as open as my usual UK flour baguettes!!!!!

The crumb shot for the other one

(Excuse for the weird colour. It was taken under a recently-repaired conservatory glass roof which has a tint of…..blue)

 ::big sigh::

 

To be perfectly honest, I’d had a bit of trepidation even before I cut it open that I might find this kind of crumb inside, because the baguettes came out slimmer than my usual ones.  But I think I know why….  Excuse Reason 1)  Lower hydration than usual,  2) Additional strokes for each S&F to ensure sufficient gluten build....which was obviously too much,  3) Shorter cold retard,  4) Under-proofed due to other cooking schedule I had to fit in (= another dish was waiting to go in after the baguettes for dinner),  5) In the excitement of shaping+scoring went so well, I didn’t do the ALL IMPORTANT finger-poke test, only judging the ripeness by a quick look, WRONGLY-assuming nothing’s gonna go wrong with the perfect (Not!) dough like that! ….. How silly can I be, please somebody tell me…..

And the flavour and aroma?......I think they also suffered from the shorter retardation. It was good, but not as good or strong as the first trial. The paler crumb colour was more than likely caused by that, too, as well as the extra-strokes of S&Fs.  But that interesting phenomena of saltiness standing out was still there, though it wasn’t as strong or predominant as the last one.  It was never excessively salty, though. Just that the saltiness is the first taste you noticed when you bit into the crust and chewed the crumb, before other flavours joined in and make the lovely harmony. Very nice.  In that sense at least, it was still properly French...-ish.

The NEVER-accident-free journey of T55 trials still continues.....

lumos

Comments

varda's picture
varda

is awesome shaping and scoring (and the crumb looks good to me too but what do I know from baguettes.)   For the rest, of course you'll keep trying until you get exactly what you want.  -Varda

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks, Varda.  I know baguettes don't really excite you very much, but for that reason especially, I'm reallly grateful for your kindness, always. Thank you.

Yep, I'll keep on trying. After all, I'm bread-obsessed. :p

lumos

varda's picture
varda

Lumos,   I love baguettes.   I just decided this isn't the time for me to learn to make them.    Someday I'll be as obsessed as you on the subject.   I really admire your stick-to-it-ness.   And think you are having fabulous results.  -Varda

Crider's picture
Crider

Looks fine to me, but I've never had an actual Parisian baguette. 

lumos's picture
lumos

P...p..,please take it! Anytime! It's all yours!!

I'm far from an expert on  Parisian baguettes, of course,  but I can at least tell you not all the baguettes are born equal, even in Paris, which is really sad....  And I can also tell you if I get a baguette with crumb like that over there, I'd be seriously depressed......:p

Thank you for the kind word, Crider. Very nice to meet you, too! :)

lumos

sam's picture
sam

Looks like perfection to me.  Very nice.

Cheers!

 

lumos's picture
lumos

Your definition of 'perfection' is very accommodating.   Thank you for your mercy. :p

lumos

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Lumos,

I have to agree with everyone else.  Those loaves look awesome!

Janet

lumos's picture
lumos

You're too kind. Thank you.  But no, the memory of the crumb when it cut open is still traumatizing me. :p  I'll keep on going....

lumos

Syd's picture
Syd

Excellent, Lumos! Home made baguettes don't get much better than that.  Very good shaping and scoring.  And I like that crumb, too even though you feel it could be more open. 

Syd

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks, Syd.

Must admit I am quite pleased with who they look like....outside. It just felt like I was conned when I cut open and found what the inside was like.... Yeah, I like my baguette crumb very open. But not only that, this batch definitely lacked the depth and complexity of flavour the first batch had, which was the more of disappointement, really.

My next batch is in the fridge already, so please keep your fingers crossed for me.

lumos

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

Our fingers are crossed for the sucess of your next attempt. I think you will get the results you want eventually.

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Truth Serum! (Love your username!:D)

Yes, I definitely need  as many fingers as possible to cross! :p

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Quite a few members would give a lot to produce baguettes that look like yours!

The crumb issue is a matter of fine tuning. Certainly under-fermenting, under-proofing and excessive degassing during shaping can all produce this. I really don't think over-developed gluten can, at least with hand mixing.

Keep at it. Build on what you've learned.

David

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, David. You're very kind, too. Don't spoil me.....:p

Yes, you're absolutely right, it's more refined and careful fine tuning I need. That's why making baguette can be so enticing, I guess.....

From the feels I got from the dough of this batch, I don't really think (says she....) there was any problem in under-fermentation or degassing. Not this time, anyway....  The more likely culprit was, perhaps, under-proofing.  I forgot to take into account that dough with lower hydration takes a bit longer to proof.  I really regret I neglected a finger-poke test. Lesson learned.....

I didn't write this above because it'd sound too geeky, but  I think you'd probably understand....The grignes were too thick.  They didn't look like grignes of baguette.  The moment I saw its thickness, I knew the inside wasn't quite right. And I was right.......

Will keep on trying. You can be sure of that, at least!

lumos

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Truly Wonderful baguettes, Lumos! A testimony to your baguette shaping skills!!

I'am worried, that by the time you adapt to your new flour, and start making the baguettes you like, you'd run out of T55. My advice is, Lumos, don't get too hooked to this new non-replenishable flour, nor obsessed by it. Just live with the results, and accept imperfect baguettes. Sad, i know, but you'd have to polish your skills with an affordable, replenishable flour you can count on.

As a side note, i have tested some creamy looking flour here in Dubai, it was called: Patent Flour. Patent flour is one that is milled from the inner core of the white endosperm of wheat. It has delectable creamy flavor to it, and a low protein level , similar to french flours. Do Search for such flours, if you could.

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Khalid. Thank you for the kind word and advice.

hehehe don't worry. My ultimate purpose of these experiments has been and always will be to figure out what the best possible combination of UK flours I can get easily from my local source.  It just that those trials were so eye-opening in the way it made me really realize how much I'd forgotten about how the truly good authentic baguettes tasted.  The first bite in to that weird ciabaguetta really brought back the memories.

So now that those memories are refreshed, I can set my goal more clearly, I hope, with my regular flours. ....and I still haven't experimented with T65, yet, which is actually the one I  really, really wanted to try because I've only read about it.  One more thing to look forward to after this.

The way Patent Flour sounds very similar to Italian Typo 00, using only the inner part of the grain.  Because it's quite low in protein, I once used it to make baguettes and other French style breads, like pain de campagne, but no, it was totally useless, both flavour and texture.  The way French mill their flour is completely opposite. Their flour contains more of outer part of the grain because of the way they milled, hence higher ash, hence better, deeper flavour with more complexity.  It's completely opposite to Typo 00 or, probably,  Patent flour.

The nearest alternative with the flours milled in British/North American style seems to be mixing the white flour with a small amount of ww or wheatgerm/bran, according to many sources.  It's just the matter of how much, I guess.....  I've been adding wheatgerm for many of my bread because of this purpose and also it's healthier (a tiny bit....), but I'm thinking of using bran instead, because that's what raises the ash level.

Have I told you how much I'm obsessed? :p

lumos

 

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Ash level is 0.55 for T55, which is the same as most plain flours with similar ash levels.

I believe, that the french flour you used above is unique in being non-oxidized factory wise. If you skip intentional commercial oxidation that adds ascorbic acid, and/o other chemicals (serves the purpose of artificially aging the flour, thus, strengthening the gluten) , the resultant flour will remain high in Carotenoids (yellow color and flavor). They may have added some aging agents, only far less than other mills. The way your flour behaved upon mixing with water, as you described, meets with the qualities of green flour (freshly home milled, non aged).

Try to shoot for flours that have attractive yellow cast to them, for best approximation of french flours.

high extraction flours are quite something else, as your said, are milled from the outer layers of the endosperm, towards the bran. But, ash-wise, T55 flour will always be similar to other plain flours with 0.55 ash.

Just wanted to clarify any misconception.

lumos's picture
lumos

Try to shoot for flours that have attractive yellow cast to them,

Yeah, that's exactly why I've been using Waitrose Organic flour or their Leckford Estate flour. They have much creamier, yellowy colour than other flours I've used, especially the latter is the second recommendation by Richard Bertinet after Shipton's. 

I know it's not only ash level that determines the flavour of flour, but  a kind of wheat and how it's milled, too.  The slower milling process employed by French millers causes less oxidation, hence better flavour... I know that, too.  Wish I can sneak into the millers in UK to slow down their milling machines, but probably all of them got burley security guards to stop intruders.....

I don't know what the ash level of UK flours sold for retails because they never state it on the bag. How did you find out those with your flours?

 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Those are some seriously golden and crusty looking baguettes! Great even scoring too, but you are saying in the message to David that you thought the grigne excessive? Sounds like the French flour imparted good flavour.

Here are some thoughts from a different perspective - take, leave debate as you care to...;-)

Your stated goals and dough development and flavour: Pretty clear. In the UK mix the lovely Waitrose/Marriages flours add the flavour. However even if you use them low in the mix they also add a lot of strength, which obviously aids development of the gluten 'honeycomb'. Maybe you read this, but on Dan Lepard's site a trial at their Welsh baking camp showed that UK (I think), flours would produce a gluten framework with and without any intensive mixing.

What if you have dropped down the gluten strength so much that this is not happening to the degree you need and even less intense mixing would leave the gluten 'honeycomb' too weak to support the development you are seeking? What if S&F with no period of really intensive hand mixing is sufficient with American and strong UK flours, allowing gas bubbles to form in a strong sheath, but not with French flour? 

Declaring my position here -  I do like a short period of intensive hand mixing but also use longer fermentation and S&F. However I have seen videos of both French and Japanese bakers giving doughs an initial very intense mix: not only the slapping method practised by some French bakers, but also by Japanese home bakers who sometimes seem to get the non plus ultra baguette crumb by sticking the dough to the tabletop and yo-yoing it intensively (imagine you will have seen this - Akiko was my guide here). That's not to mention the baker kneading in a trough with hands and arms going like pistons, which is the claimed traditional method for pain a l'ancienne in the ASSOCS video Les Blés d'Or...

Or to put it more succinctly, what happens if you give the French mix more rather than less initial 'welly'? Interesting to see - am trying to get some French flour also. 

Anyway, just wondering; be happy to be advised differently, hear the debate from different standpoints, otherwise...*runs*

Daisy

 

lumos's picture
lumos

Yeah, I've been thinking a similar thing as you said after this second trial, about building up a sufficient gluten development in very weak French flour.  When I use UK flours, I usually mix 25% plain + 75% strong to lower the overall protein level, but this T55 I used is even lower in protein than those mix.    When I  S&Fed the main dough, I thought I felt enough strength in the dough before I put in the fridge (I did more S&Fs than my usual formula), but after the long cold retard, it looked and felt weak again.  My initail thought was if the long fermentaion was too much for the low gluten content of the flour to bear, especially the 50% of flour which had to come through 6-7hr poolish-ripening and 16 hrs bulk fermentation after that, rather than insufficient gluten development in earlier stage. 

So in the next experiment, I upped the overall hydration level to my regular 70%, but  tried the combination of Waitrose Strong and T55 for the poolish.   Everything else stayed the same as my regular formula, except for using entirely T55 for the main dough.

The loaves came out of the oven a few hours ago (yes, I've already done it. You knew I was obsessed, didn't you? :p), and they look promising, though I put them in the freezer as soon as cooled, so I don't know how the inside is like.  But I'm guessing it's better than those batch above. They look  alright outside but the inside is  pathetic......

If this works, I might try using all T55 again wih 70% hydration, and applying Bertinet-style slap&fold kneading.  I actually love doing that.  It was my regular kneading technique before I discovered S & F in a bowl.  Though I don't quite enjoy cleaning the worktop after that.....

lumos

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Sounds a good approach. Have you seen the japanese technique where they stick one end to the bench and 'yo-yo' it? A bit like Bertinet but tidier? Akiko showed me it from either the Japanese cookpad or Coupe Junkies. There were also pictures on cookpad of Japanese bakers washing flour to take out starch, leaving a strong gluten sheath.

I found it hard to work neatly when using the Bertinet technique. so went on to air kneading - circling or bouncing it back between my hands. I found this builds up gluten strength quickly in stronger flours but have yet to try it with softer doughs.

I'd be interested to know how it goes.

Best wishes, Daisy

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Daisy,

I have a feeling we have had a similar conversation a long time ago, but if not.......;)

I won't tell you how much I spend on internet searching for  info on breads everyday because I'm sure you'll be appalled, but I can tell you I think I have seen all the baguettes technique you can see on Japanese internet, all of the things Akiko has posted on the forum and  told you,  and probably many others.  And I'm afraid I'm not a big fan of Cookpad, sorry,  because it's basically same as Recipezar, where most of the recipes there are just copy&paste of other recipes, just tweaked here and there so that it looked like her original. And many of them are not very reliable, because it's tweaked in a wrong way by someone who doesn't really understand the basic principle of how to treat a particular ingredients. I'd rather have a look at the original formula those posters there got the ideas from, and that's what I do, as much as possible. That's why I have so many Japanese bread books as well, including the one written by the authoer of Coupe Feti blog, which I check every day.   Also there're lots or articles/recipes/blogs by pro-artisan bakers with tips and info and recipes for home bakers on internet, if you search thoroughly, which I think, is more reliable than those amateur bakers.  So yes, I've seen them all, been there, done that. ;)

As for Bertinet's kneading method (actually that's not his, but quite common French technique), I quite like it actually. I find it rather therapeutic.....until when the keading is done and I have to clean the work top. :p That's my regular way of kneading, especially soft dough (works brilliantly with very wet dough, too), before I discovered S & F in a bowl.   Most of Japanese bloggers and some recipes written by pro-bakers for homebakers there do employ  S & F method for baguette dough with soft T55 flour, so at the moment, that's the method I'd prefer to use for the time being.

lumos

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,

That's what I was thinking - I was sure you would have seen them. Not advocating you do anything differently either - I'm wiser than that!

I didn't think cookpad would be one of your main sources. I just wondered about the viability of these techniques I'd encountered as fleeting images. Just wondering about adding to my own repertoire but hard to work the full extent of things via pictures only.

I follow Akiko's detailed postings on cookpad out of mutual support, as I follow them here in English. As for the rest all I understand is the pictures! Coupe Junkies intrigues me though, as does the absolute precision of some of the Japanese baguettes. Wish I could follow the text a bit better! Any guidance welcome as I negotiate the baguette-making maze...

I've also come across the slapping technique as used by other French bakers and realised Bertinet was introducing a technique employed by others. I'm just a bit ham fisted with it myself. I do like S&F also for interim development. Thanks for confirming the fact that this is part of the Japanese approach.  

Best wishes, Daisy

lumos's picture
lumos

G'Morning, Daisy!

The author of Coupe Feti is definitely the best homebaker for baguettes. Everybody else in Japan have bas trying to be like her, but the problem had been that she never wrote about much details of her techniques or recipes, except for her earliest days as a blogger, so when she had her first book published a few years ago, it was the instant bestseller among bread-geeks over there.....and a lot of them got a bit disappointed the instruction on shaping a baguette wasn't too detailed, which everyone knew was the key.  So the second book ('Coupe Junkies' is the title of her second book, a colaboration with her best friend/fellow blogger) was published earlier this year and it has very detailed instructions and photos for every stage of baguette making, and since then  lot of people there started pumping out baguettes as awesome as hers from their tiny ovens. It happened so quickly, it was really amazing to witness.  

There're a couple of blogging 'communities' over there and most of bloggers are competing each other for the higher places on the ranking, and I think that's one of the reasons they're so involved in their breadmaking. Sometimes their eagerness for the higher ranking is a bit unnerving, every blog post includes one or two line in the entry urging readers to 'click the button' vote for them......Japanese can get too desparately competitive for even such a thing, which I personally feel a bit uncomfortable about.  That's why I never blog there and never join their community. For me, breadmaking is an enjoyment, not a competition.

So, if you're interested in having a look at other amazing bloggers and their breads, I can give you the links of the sites I regularly check via PM/email (some of them don't want their sites to be linked publicly), because some of them are really good. I acutally have one blog I follow more closely than Coupe Feti these days. (I think the auther of Coupe Feti is more interested in cake making than breadbaking lately)

 Bertinet/French technique started in olden days when bakers had to knead high hydration (=bulk up the loaves = makes more money) dough made from their soft wheat flour.  Trying to capture as much air as possible was also started so that it would give a good volume to the resultant bread, again to make more money.  A large batch of dough was put in a large trough which they had to pick up and knead somehow without straining their arms and backs too much.  So all these things that are now a standard method in French breadmaking that's been shaping the development of French breads were all started from those practical reasons a long time ago. Nothing new, really.....which I only learned after I bought M.Bertinet's book myself. :p

Once you get used to it, their technique is really good, especially when you don't have enough time to do a series of S & F over a few hours before you put it in a fridge for long retard.  I still use it occasionally in that circumstances.  The best thing about it, though, is that you can really feel how the gluten is developing. So in a way, it's easier way than our favourite  S & F to judge the level of gluten development.  The only setback (apart from more cleaning need after kneading) is that if the dough contains small fillings like seeds/grains, some of them tends to escape and fly awas during slapping and folding....more cleaning.....less filling in the dough.....:p

best wishes,

lumos

 

 

 

 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Mmm..that is exactly what I need - a guide to how to turn out awesome baguettes from a tiny oven LOL.

I would welcome the link to the site you recommend, if you could pm - many thanks!

Having previously not had much experience with baguettes, as I make mostly hearth loaves, I recently got 'back up on the baguette horse', encouraged by your example and Akiko's. 

I realised in trying both a new formula and a new technique at one time I was giving myself too many new things at once. Looking back at Pierre Nury's rye, a formula which yielded me open crumb from early on and which also utilized a pre-ferment, I realised I could try a familiar formula in baguette shape before moving on to use a similar process with French-style flour.

This yielded - well not a perfect honeycomb as my shaping was clumsy - but definitely a step on! Thanks for your  encouragement...

Interesting to hear about historical French kneading techniques. The ASSOCS video shows a French baker trough kneading - amazing - but you have to pay for it now, whereas it used to be a free link. He is using his arms like pistons, which was interesting to me as I read that the specialist piston style dough mixers for panettone, which do not overheat the dough, are designed to be like human hands...I can see how the slap technique would work also, in the way you describe it about. I was quite a novice when I first tried it so maybe I should try it as part of the repertoire...

Best wishes, Daisy

lumos's picture
lumos

The difference between our tiny oven and their tiny oven is that theirs are made in a country where there're lots of geeky homebakers and manufacturers who never miss every opportunity for making more money and are capable of conjuring up 'new models' to please the consumers (and their stock holders).  Many new ovens that have come to the market in last few years come with special programmes/functions for making artisan breadmaking at home easier and better; ceramic lined interior to emulate stone oven, automatic steam injection system which can work with pre-set timer or manually,  double heating elements on top and bottom so that they can control the heat source and strength as they need to, and even with special 'baguette baking' programme on some models.   Since most of their ovens are so small, they're actually table-top size, which makes it so much easier for them to chuck the old oven and buy a new one, letting the manufacturers make even more money.  So not only they have easy access to variety of  T55 flours, they also have better oven to bake it with.  ....... Are you now feeling depressing enough? :p

I sometimes find some Japanese homebakers are trying too hard to get too perfect  'honeycomb' in their baguettes only because of aesthetic reason and forgetting the honeycomb is just the 'result' or a by-product  of careful handling/fermentation process to make baguettes with  superior taste and texture,  not the 'purpose.'  'Visual' is so important in Japan, they can sometimes lose a sight like that. Pity......but they do make awesome looking baguettes, though. :p

BW

lumos

 

 

 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

I have to say, though, our oven has not had a day's failure in over 10 years. Will be a dickens of a job to change it also, as it's built into a small but solid, wood kitchen. Might have to chop it out.

It leaks a lot of heat. I work with this and use the grill box to dehydrate fruit and vegetables while baking! It's never been worked so hard as the last year though, since I took up breadmaking. Is now losing more heat because I've blown both door seals. I will have to get this fixed as I'm finding I don't get as much 'bloom' as before on my breads.

Still let it not be said that I don't put my as yet pitifully few baguettes to good purposes: Thinks of recent braised belly pork-filled baguettes with homemade pickles and homegrown coriander: *feels happier*

Best wishes, Daisy



 

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Daisy!

Your baguette sandwiches looks really yummy....especially for I know belly of pork is inside! I luuuuuve belly of pork!:p

My tiny, basic gas oven is not too bad, actually, considering how old it is (neary 15 yrs old) and how mercilessly  it's been forced to work hard over the years by his cruel slave owner (=me). 

But late last year, I thought of getting a new oven as my X'mas present, this time a double-fuel with a few posh functions.  After hours and days of research and trips to showrooms, I finally decided to get this one.  It had most of functions I'd wanted to have (for some reason a very similar model made by them but sold in their own name didin't have one function of this model they made for John Lewis) and was made by SMEG and the price tag was, I thought, assuring enough to prove it's at least not a bog-standard. :p  

So I ordered at one of their branches, and went to see my favourite kitchen fitter who had been my very trustworthy, unbiased and reliable advisor for many, many years to arrange the date for him to come and fit it for me. Told him about what oven I'd be buying.......And he immediately said not to,  as soon as I told him it's SMEG...... He said theirs tended to have lots of technical problems, not very durable among other possible problems SMEG ovens often had been known to be reported to have. I said a lot of people choose SMEG thinking it's an upmarket make (which it is), but unlike other upmarket makers', SMEG's ovens didn't really justify the price.

So back to the starting point and embarked upon another research and visits to showrooms and phone calls+emails to other makers'  customer service depts, etc. etc........and during these frenzy, I discovered the only ovens  that would fit into the space between my fitted units are the ones made my Cannon, because during the 15 yrs I'd been using my old oven,  every other makers had changed the specifications and Cannon was the only one who still made the ovens with the width of 595mm, instead of new width of 600mm...... So even if my kitchen fitter hadn't warned me about SMEG,  the one I would've bought  would've fittted into my kitchen....::phew::

After a while, I did decide to get one of Cannon dual-fuel one, went back to my kitchen fitter,  his electrician and Corgi engineer came to check what sorts of jobs are needed to fit it.....and found out I'd need a really major works (including some building work) to be able to fit that oven to my kitchen, which would cost almost as much as buying another new oven!

So in the end, I called a gas oven engineer to re-condition my old oven to bring it back to a pristine condition (as humanly-possible, I mean...), and he told me to hang on to this old oven as long as possible,  because no one made ovens as sturdy as that these days......oh well........Not sure if that was a happy end or not, really.....  But the old oven is what I have and will have until I move a house.....

 

 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,

Many thanks for your kind words on the baguette sandwich. It was seriously delicious, which was a relief as it was the first time I'd done a sandwich like that. In fact I keep thinking I'd like to have another one soon! Baguette formula was based on your poolish with pasta flour version, with rice as the lighter flour.

Pork was braised with caramel and Vietnamese-style spicing. I say 'in the style of', because I'm only just starting with that cuisine - although I know braises well enough from childhood braised pork and beef and also tagine cooking. I also started lighter and smaller on the hot peppers and aim to work up! Used homegrown, though, so was fresh. I also kept some broth over for another meal. Looked like photo below the day before. Tasted delicious. Used eggs at hand but might look more balanced with smaller eggs. We can get quail eggs at one of our local farms. 

Revelation was the pickles! P. and I have done short-marinade German-style pickles with white wine vinegar and cucumber before (as opposed to pickles set down for months), but these were organic carrot marinaded in some salt, sugar, spring onion, fresh egyptian red pepper and rice wine vinegar. The rice wine vinegar was gorgeous - so aromatic! Resulting pickles had a very complex flavour but still sharp to cut through the belly pork and thin scraping of pork pâté. I'm sure this is familiar territory but it was a nice newish one for us!

Irony is we have one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the country right here in our own town (Harden, Michelin listed), and we don't go. Reason being that despite serving excellent food, friends have found the service very abrupt...That and just blew the month's food budget on an anniversary meal and new organic meat box. Oh well, maybe soon.

Still pragmatic need for a baguette stirred me into action on that front again.

Good advice about the oven, thanks. I had looked into refurbishment and there seemed not to be too great a price differential between that and a new oven. Still, the current oven has never let us down a day in over a decade. Moreover most of the things that need to be sorted (light, door seals), only fall into regular maintenance. Maybe a good gas person could do something to insulate it better?

Makes sense what you are saying in terms of other things. The old-fashioned lawnmower sales and repair place was kind enough to say the same about my mother's old lawnmower: refurbish don't buy, as despite their ergonomic shape and fancy functions the blades are nowhere near as good on the new models. And after all blades are what you cut the grass with, no?

I've heard good things about Cannon. I think a possible solution for us if this oven does go would be to have another oven elsewhere and turn the current oven space into a cupboard. Cannon also appeal as they do freestanding ovens. Still will look at refurbishment first...Thanks again for the advice. Wishing you continued good baking.

Best wishes, Daisy

lumos's picture
lumos

You know what, Daisy. I think we need to sit and discuss about the Vietnamese pork and the pickles head to head. They sounds really yummy!  I have a few recipes for those myself, so maybe we can compare the notes each other, maybe via emails? 

How did my pasta-flour baguette work for you? Never used rice flour for breadmaking, so will be very interested to hear what you thought of it.  Any significant change in the texture?

My present oven is Cannon and actually that's my second one. I've been quite happy with it, and I was very happy with the first Cannon. The only reason I bought new one (I mean, it was new,  once....) was at that time I had my kitchen re-made completely and wanted all new machines to go with it.  Nothing had ever gone wrong with the first one during its over 10 years service. Also theirs always come with self-cleaning liners which really makes your life easy. 

Yeah, our lawn mower is almost 25 yrs old. I've been telling my husband I'll get him a new and lighter one for birthday or X'mas, but he's adamant that he wants to keep the old one.  The stubbornness runs through the family......HIS family, I mean. :p

best

lumos

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi lumos,

Thanks for your kind message. Will certainly email, but less head to head than me sitting at your feet to learn methinks, given your much greater experience in this area!

Did also score some Wessex Mill French at second farm shop so will report when get to use it. Got that along with some of our beloved Saul's black pudding and a special offer dry gin. Mmmm...good job I've got some organic mince in the freezer to do ragu bolognese, some organic green beans and courgettes as accompaniments and some cream for flan, or it would have been sausage baguette for the holiday meal preceded by a dry martini! (Actually Daisy quite likes the sound of that...)

The  baguette formula worked very well.  Thanks for posting. Flavour was very good and crust crunchy. I used rye, as indicated. I used used rice flour because I had read on a blogpost on Vietnamese food (White Rice Couple, I think - will look it up for email), that Vietnamese baguettes do use some rice flour to give a softer texture inside. The formula with pasta flour was useful here as I substituted more or less the same amount. The crumb was softer than other formulae I've used but still well developed. I imagine this is the aim - a hybrid of French baguette crunch and the softness sometimes preferred in Asian breads, but I'm open to education here ;-) Worked well with the fillings, though. 

Cannon sounds good. Useful to have self clean. We have that with our current one. I would keep the old lawnmower based on what I've heard!

Be in touch again soon. Best wishes, Daisy

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Daisy,

I've read a long time ago in one of Japanese blog (the author lives in Vietnam) that some of the breads in Vietnam have rice flour in it.  Also adding rice flour to the ingredients has become quite popular in Japan lately, but I've never done it myself precisely because I'm not too keen on soft crumb for baguettes.  Nevertheless, I'm so glad my accidental pasta flour baguette recipe could be any help for you.  A good case for "When one door shuts, another door opens"...:p 

I'm no expert on Vietnamese cuisine, though I really like it.  Any of South Eastern Asian food only became popular and more common after mid-'80s when a lot of people from those countries came to Japan as immigrants.  So, even now, there's a lot of Japanese people who are not very keen on the smells of fresh coriander and fish sauce, etc., because they are so exotic for us, too.  In mid-'80x, I was already here, so I had my first taste of SE Asian food in UK.

Great you managed to get hold of the French flour. Look forward to your report! :)

lumos

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I contacted the mill, and asked them about the flour specifications of the flour in question, pretending to buy flour in bulk (the easiest and safest way to get the proper flour specs).

 

lumos's picture
lumos

I've done the same with Shipton's, but not with bigger boys. Maybe I should try one day.....

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, Lumos

French flours, hence french wheat, is different from your ordinary wheat flours (milled from local uk and blended with North American strong flours), in having proteins that display different attributes when hydrated. There are several protein fractions in a given flour , that contribute each to the characteristics to the flour , such as elasticity , extensibility , solubility, Gluten forming ability, etc.. Such attributes or characteristics, when mingled with other flours will lead to a new flour that posseses all the attributes combined, which ultimately means new unexpected variables. What you are left with here, Lumos, is a flour that is as unpredictable or reriable as the fractions that constitutes it.

My advice here, is to stick with you T55 flour for everything, learn how to manipulate it, and bid it farewell when it perishes. As such flour is non-replenishable for you, i'd live with it while it lasts, pure (relatively, as even the most flours would require blending of different wheats from same or other crops) . Should i need to emulate its qualities, i'd seek local flours exhibit similar attributes in pure form, rather than blending flours. in baking bread, I've learned that white flours are very tempermental , especially when used in white flour only recipes that relies on enhancement of a certain flour's intrinsic qualities. If you like experimenting, and enjoy variable ourcomes, then suit yourself, but if you really want reliable consistent results, then seek flours from one mill, and refrain from blending, or you'll be bleding obsessed :)

 

 

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

I think I'd be inclined to agree with Khalid that the best way to be really familiar with the T55 you have is to use it "neat".   The only tempter I might have would be used a stiff levain, or, biga and use strong flour in that.   But I'd be inclined to carry on with a "poolish" with the T55 a bit longer yet.

All good wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks, Khalid and Andy,

Yes, I have thought of all the things Khalid kindly mentioned and suggested, but I'm thinking of doing these series of experiment by checking one element with at one stage at at time.  So the last trial was to find out if the long fermentation (both poolish built stage and the bulk fermentation) was too much for the T55 I used, hence replacing a part of the poolish flour to my regular strong flour, and check how much difference it would make in the way the final dough behave. As I said before, it certainly seemed to have quite a siginificant difference. The dough was not as weak or sticky as the first trial even I upped the hydration back to 70%. more than likely thanks to the stronger flour I replaced 50% of poolish flour to, of course.   (Will blog about it in more details later)

So the next experiment is going to be returning to 100% T55 formula (save for the tiny rye for poolish), and change the way I knead, or maybe increase the number of strokes/sets of S & F in a bowl,  than my usual formula to see if this particular flour I'm using requires more gluten development before going into cold, long retard.  

From what I've read from Japanese blogs or books by professionals, I know many of French T55 flours they use can withstand very long cold, retardation some of them up to 24 hrs), almost all of them do that regularly to improve the flavour and to create honeycomb crumb, both homebakers and professionals.  So I know there's no problem in cold/long retard itself, but the question is how much gluten development my flour needs before it goes into it.....I think. And that's going to be my experiment, maybe sometime later this week or early next week, perhaps. 

Changint the pre-ferment as Andy suggested is not what I'm having in mind now, because what I'm trying to find out is how a different flour (T55) behave with the recipe I use regularly, not necessarily to create a baguette I may like with whatever method/formula I choose to use.  I may change my mind later, but that's not the option at this moment, anyway.  I really like my poolish baguette recipe a la Hamelinet, and all I'm doing now is trying to find new possibilities to  improve that, by experiencing how authentic T55 flour behaves. Nothing less, nothing more.

I've still got 2 un-opened bags of T55, so I'll have plenty of stock to do several more experiments (I only use 250g per batch), so hopefully I'll find a good way to utilize the flour before I use it up....and then I can move onto T65, which is THE ONE I really, really, really wanted to get my grubby floury hands on for donkey's ears!! :p

Thank you very much, both of you, for trying to help me with valuable points, everytime. Really appreciate your kindness and generosity. 

best wishes,

lumos

 

E.T.A. - P.S. to Khalid,

if you really want reliable consistent results, then seek flours from one mill, and refrain from blending,

No, I'm not seeking any reliable consistent result from this series of experiments.  There are experiments with this T55, purely and simply that.   But along its way, I chose to add my regular strong flour I'm familiar with in the last trial,  to clarify a difference of characteristics in this T55 flour to my regular strong flour,  not to achieve better baguettes.  As I explained a few times before, my ultimate goal is to create a formula  for  baguettes acceptable to my standard of how a baguette should be like (though it may not bet perfect) , using UK flours readily available to me.  And what I've been doing with this flour is just gathering up possibly useful information by these experiences with T55 flour to achieve that in the end. That's all.   And I can assure you I'm enjoying every step of the way, every minute of it!  I'm a born-geek, through and through, not only with breads but with many other things. :p

But if you find my 'obsession' a bit disturbing to you, look away now. Can get even worse later and may even give you  nightmares, you never know... You are warned. .:p

best wishes, again,.....and my little present for you, :p

lumos :)

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

:) Nice lyrics, Lumos! i won't stop you.. :) you have such a distinct sense of humor!

Given the way you describe your emotions, and your blog's pace , i was under the impression that you're in a distress.. and needed help. If you enjoy the process of experimentation, then by all means... do experiment :) We'll learn more this way, and share the pleasure.

lumos's picture
lumos

Thank you, Khalid, for understanding.....and sorry for over-dramatization of the event and my emotion.  Don't worry, it's known by many people that 'Formidable' is my middle-name, I don't get distressed or depressed so easily.  (Very good at distressing others, though....:p)

These experiments may seem really tedious and unnecessarily cumbersome way to take to some people, but that's often the way I enjoy doing, because, I know from my past experiences, I can sometimes pick up unexpected enlightenments and joys along the way by taking that road.  Joining the forum like this and meeting and chatting with wonderful people like yourself is, for me, one of them along my long and winding journey of breadmaking.

So, I'm so sorry if I gave you a wrong impression.....or, actually, probably you're not the only one, because yesterday I received  PMs from  three other people, basically, concerning  about my sanity. :p   I must've looked a real nuts by the write-ups like those!   Probabley I'd better tone it down a bit from the next entries.....:p

Thanks a lot, Khalid. I really appreciate you kindness, always.....and please do stop me if I start typing 'baguette'  between every sentence. Until then,  you'll know my 'marble' isn't competely lost.....yet. :p