The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why are my baguette's turning out so knobby?

MattLoaf's picture
MattLoaf

Why are my baguette's turning out so knobby?

Hello everyone. I am an amateur baker who in the last month been baking rustic ciabattas and baguettes.

The ciabattas have turned out great but, while the baguettes generally have a good crust and crumb, they always seem to have big, knobby air bubbles on the outside.

I've baked baguettes approximately ten times and each time have slightly altered my process to try to prevent this problem.

I've used both very wet and dry doughs. I shape by folding the dough in half twice like a letter, then once more all the way to the bench.

Is this process supposed to incorporate air or should I be punching it out? When rolling I always hear little air bubbles being popped on the ends.

Is this problem caused by dough that is underproofed?  They usually proof for an hour to an hour and a half near the oven.

I transfer the baguettes to a baguette pan, score, and transfer to a 500 degree oven. I use the oven's built in steamer every 45 seconds for about 5 minutes. In that time the baguettes form large, lumpy air bubbles.  Do you think my problem is caused by poor scoring? I score them 4 times lengthwise and have tested out different depths.

Thanks for any help. It will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, MattLoaf.

Welcome to TFL!

I'm sure we can solve your problem, but it would help if you post the recipe you are using and show us photos of your knobby baguettes - preferably the whole baguette and a crumb shot. From your description, I can't tell what your problem is.

David

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

The videos on baguette shaping from breadhitz on youtube helped. Look up "baguette shaping" on youtube.

Creating a tight surface tension helps. Also make sure that the surface of the dough has a dry skin after it proofs. The dry skin makes for easier scoring. 

MattLoaf's picture
MattLoaf

Here's the % I have been using for my baguettes. Each batch has been a little different since I have been experimenting with hydration, bread to AP flour ratio, and the amount of preferment, but this is the % I have been trying to stick to.  The dough is formed into  16-20 oz. ball and stored in the fridge overnight before shaping.

All purpose flour          50%

Bread flour                    50%

Preferment                  150-175%

salt                                     2%

Instant yeast                    .5%

water                               60-70%

Here are also some pictures of half a baguette I baked two days ago.  This one was the more attractive of the batch, but you can still see some of the lumpyness I'm concerned about. Usually the lumps are about 25% larger and seem to pop up on random spots of the bread. Thanks for any advice!

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lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

The breads look fine to me.  I don't see anything wrong with them. The bulges around the area of the slashes are supposed to be like that since they're a sign of oven spring which is good. If there's no oven spring, it's a sign that the bread was overproofed.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, MattLoaf.

The baguette photos you posted really don't look so bad. The crumb looks nice. But, here are a few thoughts:

1. Traditional baguettes are better with lower gluten flour. I'd stick to 100% AP. You will get a thinner, crisper crust.

2. Your slashes should be nearly parallel to the long axis of the loaf (this looks good) and should overlap 1/4 to 1/3 of their length. This may be the single biggest reason for your problem.

3. Try proofing just a bit fuller. (When you poke a finger into the baguette, the hole should fill in very slowly.)

4. Your crust looks a bit dull. This usually means you need more steam in your oven for the first part of the bake.

I hope this helps, and happy baking!

David

MANNA's picture
MANNA

You look like your on the right track. You just need to make a couple of changes. Definitly need more steam after you load loafs, you can try spritzing the loafs with water after you load them and use your steam as before. You should score the loafs with 5 slashes and each slash should overlap the previous by 25-33%. Please watch the video link from KAF.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaLnzomvEF8

 

longhorn's picture
longhorn

The snake that swalled a set of tennis balls is a typical result of improper slashing. Your slashes are too far apart (the bands between the slashes) and don't overlap enough. If you slice the loaf lengthwise at half height you will (almost certainly) see that the crumb is compressed where the "bands" constrict the loaf and more open where the slashes (and tennis balls) are!

You are close! Longer, more parallel slashing with more overlap should solve your dilemma (and narrower spacing between slashes). (And yes that does mean more along the length of the bread and less across it.)

Good Luck!

Jay

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Ciril Hitz demonstrates the technique for baguette slashing, by sacrificing a baguette using marking pen!

And here's how Mitch Stam does it.

The other BreadHitz videos are worth checking out while you are there.

MattLoaf's picture
MattLoaf

I corrected my slashing technique and baked 5 baguettes today that looked great. Thanks everyone for all the help. I really appreciate it.