The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mini baguette attempt

sam's picture

Mini baguette attempt


Here is my most recent attempt/experiment of baguettes.   Even after reading articles, watching youtube videos, I am still pretty horrible at shaping a baguette properly.  :-)  I haven't given up, but after the last 3-4 attempts, I may go back to simpler shapes for a while.

This one is a 33% poolish, 33% sourdough levain, no flour soaker or mash, overall hydration 66%, everything at ambient room temp.   All flour was organic KA AP flour.   The crumb is decently open, and the flavor is good.

I took two pictures of the same thing, in different lighting conditions in my kitchen at the time..




Happy baking!



GermanFoodie's picture

I think you have the texture down. How are you rolling your baguettes? There are a couple of different options I know of.

The one that is easiest is to first make a boule, let that rest for a little, then turn it into a torpedo. Let that rest again, then grab one side of it and basically fold the dough into itself. Pinch the seal shut, then let it rest again to relax the gluten.

From the middle, with two flat hands, roll the dough back and fourth while at the same time moving your hands outward. I have seen people do this on one side first, then the other, switching back and fourth. Just make sure it is a smooth motion and that you take the time relaxing the dough before you roll it out to its final length.

Reinhart explains it (different technique, tho) in the "Apprentice", the Cheese Board Collective does it kind of like I have described.

And if all else fails, just call them "batards" and tell everybody they are meant to look this way. Apparently they taste great, and as (I believe) Reinhart said (somewhere), "Flavor first!"

eliabel's picture

Very good crumb. Congratulations!

holds99's picture

Nothing wrong with those baguettes, they look right-on to me.  Interesting mix---one third poolish and one third levain.  Been fiddling with baguettes for 20 years.  For me it's been akin to the search for the holy grail.  FWIW I'm not a fan of huge holes in the crumb of any bread.  From my perspective you got it right in terms of the openness of the crumb.  I'll give your ratios a try.  Some questions: Did you retard?  Did you use steam?  How was the crust?



Edit: I believe that shaping baguettes is one of the most difficult tasks in baking.  It takes rests between dividing and preshaping and shaping---and a gentle but firm touch, and practice---lots of practice.

sam's picture

Thanks GermanFoodie, eliabel and holds99, especially for the advice on the shaping.   This last batch had no preshape or resting, and there was definitely not enough strength.   In previous attempts I ended up building too much strength when I preshaped + shaped, and the dough would not stretch anymore when trying to elongate them.   However, I did not give them ample rest periods to relax.   I will try that.

The above bread wasn't cold-retarded.   Yes I did use steam (hand-held steam injector thingie with a metal hood).   Crust is nice!  Thin, crispy, crackly!   :-)