The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguettes

fminparis's picture
fminparis

Baguettes

Take this for what it’s worth.

Although I've been successful turning out very good baguettes (my friends would say great) I’ve made a few changes to my baguette baking method you might want to try. They've made my baguettes even better.

Briefly my original method - I mix 15 oz bread flour and 2 heaping tsp yeast in a cuisinart, then run it as I pour in the 100-110’ water (9 3/8 oz - 62.5 % hydration) through the feed tube and process for several seconds until it starts to clump, then shut it off to sit and autolyse for 20 minutes, add the salt, process to knead for 1 minute. After dividing the dough in half, I stretch and fold each piece, form into balls, let them rise separately in 2 greased bowls, then shape, rise again on a cookie sheet, slash, cover with an upside down aluminum roasting pan, and bake at 450’ for 25 minutes, then uncover and finish baking for about 20 minutes.

 Change # 1 – Instead of using 15 oz bread flour, I use 11 oz bread flour and 4 ounces cake flour.  I have found it makes a thinner, crispier crust and an even better inside.

 Change #2 – Instead of using the various methods of shaping, I simply turn bowls upside down dumping dough onto lightly floured board, flatten a bit and form square with hands, and roll up jellyroll style stretching and pinching the final seam to seal. Then roll out to correct length. Makes for even sized slices from end to end.

 Change #3 - Instead of baking them under an aluminum baking pan, I bake them on the cookie sheet and cover each with a curved thin piece of sheet metal I shaped like an upside-down “U” and folded aluminum foil over the open ends to seal so that each loaf is in its own little oven (think of each loaf in a closed tunnel) removing the sheet metal after 25 minutes and allowing them to finish for about 20 minutes. Great, even baking and the moisture from the loaves in the confined space makes spraying unnecessary.