The Fresh Loaf

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Baguette ears and varying results (straight dough & poolish)

KHamATL's picture

Baguette ears and varying results (straight dough & poolish)

I'm curious if anyone has any input on this.  I have been trying for over a year now to perfect the classic French baguette.  My results always taste great, but the appearance is not consistent at all.  I've used all of the following formulas:

  • Hamelman's Baguette with Poolish (66% hydration)
  • Hamelman's Un-Kneaded Six-Fold Baguette (73% hydration)
  • Hamelman's Straight Dough Baguette (70% hydration)
  • Suas' Baguette with Poolish (68% hydration)
  • Suas' Straight Dough Baguette (70% hydration)

Of these formulas, I've had the best and most consistent results with Hamelman's Six-Fold Baguette and Suas' Straight Dough Baguette.  I had great results 2 out of my last three tries. Here is the 1st (using Suas' Straight Dough):

Here is the 2nd (using Suas' straight dough with hydration reduced to 65%. I think this is my best yet):

With the 3rd batch, I tried to use Hamelman's Baguette with Poolish but got very different results.  I would like to use a poolish for the extra flavor and reduced bulk fermentation time, but I can't seem to get the great results with his formula.  Does anyone have any suggestions or any ideas as to why these results were so different.  In terms of technique, I tried to follo the exact same as for the two straight doughs.  The hydration is not much different than the 2nd attempt above (66% instead of 65%).  Here are some photos:

I really appreciate any input.  Thanks in advance!


dmsnyder's picture

Without being able to feel the dough at various stages, it's hard to say exactly why you got a less aerated crumb with Hamelman's baguettes sur poolish. If I had to guess, I'd go for under-fermentation. However, it's also possible you de-gassed the dough excessively during shaping. I don't think you under-proofeded the loaves, but that's another possibility.

The difference in how your cuts opened up could also be due to a number of factors, including differences in scoring, how well your stone was pre-heated (assuming you used one) and how well the oven was steamed.

I'm sorry I can't be more definite, but I don't see anything that points at one clear cause.


Fernando's picture

Hi Kyle and David,

I'm Fernando from Brazil.

I'm interested as well to know why my baguettes doesn't has the ears as yours. What method of Steam are you using?

I usually make Hamelman's Baguette with Poolish (66% hydration) and the best result that I had was theses breads below!

These breads I did SylviaH's Steaming method.

I've been searching and I found your (david) method of steam. Last weekend I tried it and wasn't worked. My bottom pan with rock was full of water from the melted ice. I also don't have the dough structure that I've seen in your's video david. It feels like weak (soft) dough (mine). I don't know if my mixing time is right, Because as I've seen, everybody mix the dough to develop the gluten to (window pane), and as I read in Bread from Hamelman's, He said that if this happen, probably you overmix the dough and lose flavor, color change and etc..

The only difference from the Hamelman's recipe is that I autolyse for 30 min and mix the final dough just 1 min and a half on second speed on a KitchenAid. After that I fold the dough two or maybe three time.

Any suggetions?

The baguettes looks Fantastic Kyle, I mean the first one.

And David, all of your breads are beautifull. Hope I can learn more with you.