The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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

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?

 

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