The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Put some shine on those ears

Nate Delage's picture
Nate Delage

Put some shine on those ears

I've been continuing practicing my baguettes and have progress to report. I've lowered my hydration yet again to 71% and the dough is even easier to shape and more importantly score. While there's still some room for improvement, I was able get some nice ears on the last few loaves.

I was a bit surprised to get such a nice shine and caramel color on these loaves. I suspect this is beacause of more aggressive steaming than I usually do. The past few bakes I've only sprayed the sides of the oven, this time I also poured a cup of water in a pan right before baking and wasn't afraid to spray the top of the loaves while they were cooking (just the first 10min). I'll continue to steam with both water in a pan and spraying the entire oven (being careful to not spray the oven light).

The taste, crumb and crust were excellent all around. I really enjoyed eating these! Again a lower hydration didn't seem to impact the crumb much at all. Granted I only reduced my hydration a few percent.

Tomorrow will be a busy baking day. I'll be making some more baguettes and a few boules and oval loaves with 15% whole wheat. I just received a beautiful couche and brotform from SFBI and a lame, which I can't wait to use.

 

Comments

lumos's picture
lumos

Beautiful!  Both outside and inside. 

With that open, holey crumb, I don't think you need to up the hydration as high as before, especially if you want good grignes (ears).   It's looking really great and the nutty, warm colour of the crust is lovely, too.

Very well done, Nate Delage! :)

Syd's picture
Syd

Those are very respectable looking baguettes, indeed.  I agree: you don't need a very high hydration to get an open crumb.  I manage quite well with a 67% hydration.  For me a small amount of yeast, a long fermentation and gentle handling are the key.  Nice baking.

Syd

Nate Delage's picture
Nate Delage

Syd & Lumos,

Thanks for the great feedback, it feels great coming from such accomplished bakers. I finally feel like I'm not rolling the dice everytime I bake these and can focus on specific things I'd like to improve. I just received a couche and lame in the mail from SFBI and I can't wait to give them both a try.

I also picked up some diastic malt the other day, though I haven't used it yet...I wonder if I need it at all since I'm happy with the color of these loaves. Do either of you use malt? Is it helpful for anything other than color?

 

lumos's picture
lumos

.....a....a.....a.....accomplished baker....?....m...me???!!   Nooo, I'm faaaarr from it!  Syd is, though. ;)

I use non-diastic malt regularly  to make bagels,  but I don't use diastic anymore, I'm afraid.

I used to,  because I've read it would release sugar very gradually to feed the yeast in the dough, so it's good for long retardation.  But after a while, I noticed the dough with added diastic malt became very sticky, sometimes a bit difficult to handle and score, even I added very small amount (like less than 1/4 tsp for 300-350g flour).  I didn't see any point in adding even less just so that the dough stayed manageable enough, so in the end I stopped using it entiresly.  Recently Andy (ananda) told us it's often already added to flour at the miller, so adding even more at home could have negative effect. 

So sorry to tell you such a thing when you just bought one.  But whether diastic malt is added already in the flour or not may depend on a country and a miller, so you may be alright.......if not, welcome to the club. I've already got 2 un-opened bags of diastic malt occupying my precious freezer space....:p

best wishes

 

Syd's picture
Syd

Lumos is just being polite.  :)  Take a look at his recent baguettes and I am sure you will agree.

I use diastatic malt with my sourdoughs all the time.  I get better results with it than without.  I don't have the same problem with stickiness that Lumos gets, but that is probably due to the difference in flours we use.  My suggestion to you would be to make a batch without and then a similar batch with and compare the results.  Start off with a small amount, say 0.6% or even 0.4% of your total flour weight (so if your total flour weight is 500g, then use 3g or 2g - 3g is approximately 1/2 a teaspoon) and see what effect it has.  I find I get a more open crumb and a better crust colour if I use diastatic malt.  But that is probably due to a deficiency in the flour I use.  Your flour might not need it.  I make my own diastatic malt and I make small quantities (about 50g at a time) so that it is always fresh and I never have to waste any. 

Best,

Syd

lumos's picture
lumos

Pssst!

Take a look at his recent baguettes

Please read the above as......"Take a look at his  her recent baguettes" ;)

But it's true I've always known to be lacking in femininity, so in a way, you've guessed it right. :p

Syd's picture
Syd

Apologies, Lumos!  Names can be deceiving.  :)

Best,

Syd

lumos's picture
lumos

No problem at all, Syd! :)

I went to a rather old fashined private girls' school in Japan where they still had  ballroom dancing lessons.  Since there were no boys, we had to take in turn to dance a male part, but for some really weird reason I was always made to do the male part.  I don't look masculine at all, mind you, so must've been  the way I behave.....

::mental note - Got to change the way I behave on the forum.::  :p

ww's picture
ww

just to say the crumb is wonderful and so is that warm 'burnished' appearance. If that is the result of bolder steaming, then way to go. These wouldn't look out of place at all in a french boulangerie :)

Re the diastatic malt, you can use it for organic flours. These are more likely to not have added diastatic malt. Personally so far i've only used it for bagels, cos Mr Hamelman says so :)