The Fresh Loaf

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Calling on all Master Baguette Bakers

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nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

Calling on all Master Baguette Bakers

Hello Bakers...2 years ago I gave baguettes a try and I was so intimidated that I retired them from my baking list right there after lol.  Last week I got the urge to finally give it another try and I went with the Bouabsa version, pretty simple and straight forward but the outcome was eh... pretty lame . 

Crust color was dark but yet pale-ish and thick. crumb was very tight for a 75% Hydration formula, one thing I was proud of was my shaping, these were small ficelles so they are difficult to shape.  I used KA AP flour and maybe that's part of the issue with the thick crust.   I"ll list the formula below  for those not familiar with it and I would appreciate some feedback as to how I can correct this.  

Some things that might've gone wrong -  Underproofed?  they looked fully proofed to me after 1 hour on couche on a warm August morning in NYC.

500 Gr. flour

375 Gr. water

10 Gr. salt

1/4 tspn instant yeast, 

Mix and hand knead for a few min. Richard Bertinet style followed by S & F in bowl at 20 min. intervals for 1 hr.  Left the dough for 48 hrs, instead of the recipe's called 24 ( I don't see anything terrible here but the masters can chime in).

Out of the fridge directly to scaling and preshaping with a 45 min rest, to shaping and 1 hr. proof en couche and baking at 480 deg. with steam for 20-25 min.   I thank you all in advance.

 

Ray

davidg618's picture
davidg618

That said, I do home-bake baguettes every week or so, so here's my comments.

Picture(s) would help--both the finished loaves, and the crust and crumb.

I think your problem may be simply overbaked loaves. I'm guessing your loaves were approximately 200g each, and thin.

I bake 350g (dough weight) baguettes at 450°F for twenty minutes (ten minutes with steam in "Bake" mode, followed by ten minutes no steam in "Convection Bake" mode) and consistently reach an internal temperature of 208°F. I mix the dough at 67% hydration, and retard it for 15 hours at 54°F (in a wine cellar). The crumb is consistently very open. However, the loave's crust, while thin and crispy, is only reddish brown in color.

I'm assuming you prefer dark crusts--I'm making my assumption on your logo thumbnail.  Perhaps some oven temperature, baking time, and crust color compromise is needed.

A second or contributing factor is the longer than common retarding time, but that's only a hunch.

Incidently, it took me about two years of frequent baguette baking before I was satisfied with my results--not overly elated--but comfortably satisfied.

Good luck

David G

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

Knowing that I now know how to handle wet doughs so my confidence levels were pretty high and with the outcome of these baguettes I was really dissapointed.  My wife's request was to make mini baguettes so the kids can have 1 each, and out of approx. 875 gram dough I made 7 mini baguettes at around 125 gr. each...yes...tiny small.  I'm pretty bad at navigating and dropping links on this site, if you don't mind, can you please search up "Anis Bouabsa ficelle" and you'll see David Snyder's pictures on the color and that's what  I was after, note:  he used same recipe, just different flour.  I belive KA AP is way too high of a protein content to be baking baguettes with.  I will give this recipe another try using FRENCH STYLE flour from KA as I have a few lbs. of in the panty.  These baguettes just didn't have the oven spring, even the slashes were flat, no lift...my scoring needs some work but it wasnt' awful.  I'll try to get some pics up in this thread tonight but the thought of dealing with the process of putting pics on this site gets my blood flowing...lol...  it's just a PITA!  Thank you for the comments/advice and perhaps I can search up your formula and give it a try next time.  I believe a search for "K.I.S.S" should bring it up :)

Ray

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I've experimented with four or five alternate AP flour brands. Flavor-wise I won't use any other flour (so far) other than KA for baguettes.

I'm sure there are equivalent or better flours available, but not to me where I live--North Central Florida--unless I pay exorbitant shipping fees.

David G

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

Can you tell the issues on these baguettes by looking at those terrible pics? :)

 

Ray

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Ray.

From your description of your procedures and outcome, I see 4 possible problems.

1. It is possible that retardation for 48 hours resulted in some gluten degradation (proteolysis). This would result in poor oven spring and a dense crumb.

2. I doubt you under-proofed. I would be more concerned that you may have over-proofed with those times and a very warm kitchen. This would be one reason for poor oven spring and bloom.

3. You may have deflated the dough excessively during shaping. This would result in a denser crumb.

4. Assuming your oven temperature is accurate, I would think 125 g ficelles would bake in less than 20 minutes at 480 dF. 

While I agree that KAF AP has a higher protein content than French T55, that should not be a big problem.

I hope this helps.

David

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

I knew I can count on you for troubleshooting :)

Thank you for pointing 4 possible issues to my poor baguettes.  I feel I handled the dough very softly and the plus about these tiny ficelles were the shaping if I may say :).

I will repeat this formula next week EXCEPT follow proper instructions and only refrigerate for 21-24 hours and compare results and get back on TFL and report my results. I'll attempt to post a picture of this weeks bake as well.   

 

Thanks again

Ray

 

 

 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I would add to the exisiting comments that the baguette demands near perfection in every step on the way to the finished loaf.  Anything short of this is revealed in the final loaf.  Go slowly down the baguette path, pay very close attention to each and every detail and never lose focus until the loaves leave the oven. 

Practice, practice, practice.

Jeff

malibustacey's picture
malibustacey

For quite a while I was enamored with the bouabsa recipe, I watched the videos and read countless threads on the glories of such a formulae. I tried and I tried and I tried this basic method method, and it always failed: virtually no rise, pale and dense. I couldn't figure it out and then I tried the same formulae without the cold retardation. Voila! It worked like a charm, albeit a very sticky and difficut to manage dough, but the baguettes came out , ochre-coloured(reddish), puffy with a beautiful grigne and lovely ears. What I discovered was that my fridge temp. was set too low. The yeast would simply go dormant, I tried a 24, 36, and 48 hour retardation, all witht the same result- crappy, inedible batons! Now, I use the same basic formulae( I do a 72-73% hydration, 50% bread flour/40% cake flour 10% whole wheat, 1/4 tsp SAF) but let it sit in a warm kitchen( summer temp-32 D. ) for 2-3 hours and then refrigerate. It works like a charm, though I often have to open the fridge after several hours to punch down the bread so it wo't blow the top off the container.Most fridges are set at around 3 degrees( mine is, anyways) and that, in my experience, is too low a temp. to allow the yeast to bloom with only 1 hour bench time. Try my suggestion, I would love some feedback from you and the TFL bread-guru patrol.  Cheers

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

I have my fridge set at 38 deg. F so 3.33 C .  My kitchen is not that hot but definitely will try this next week.  Mix, knead , leave outside for a few hours and than refrigerate.  I will report back to you with the results.   Thank you!!

Ray 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your photos are pretty dark, so it may not be accurate, but your crust looks rather dull (not shiney). This would be an indication of not enough steam in the oven during the first part of the bake. That, along with the long, hot bake, would contribute to thick crust and disappointing oven spring. However, you got good bloom, so I am not sure. Just another possibility.

David

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

My steaming method is that of Sylivias and I use it on other bakes and works just fine... I think the suggestion above with the fridge temp being too cold might be a major factor with this terrible baguette outcome.  Thanks again for your help and suggestions David!

Ray

petercook's picture
petercook

I agree that the higher protein bread flour creates too much internal tension which results in a tighter (less open) crumb. Since K.A. flour is not availible in my area I use Gold medal A.P. flour and I get excellent results. Two big eye-openers for me was when I realized that I was over-proofing. My thought was that if I get max proof then I must get the lightest loaf. Boy, was I wrong. One day, quite by accident I was in a hurry and I baked loaves that I thought were not " Fully risen" . To my delight those loaves had the greatest oven --spring and the lightest baguette.  The 2nd eye-opener was getting the correct slash. Previously, since I proofed to the max I had to be very gentle with my slashing and only 1/4 inch deep (so as not to collapse the loaf). This time, however, I slashed much more deeply, perhaps 1/2 inch AND at an angle to get that gringe. Also, I made sure that the slashes over lapped. What I did was to draw an imaginary line down the center of the loaf and starting at only 1/2 inch to the right of the "center line". I made my 1st slash ending up only 1/2 inch to the left of center line. The 2nd slash, starts again to the right of the center line but about 2 inches above the bottom of the 1st slash. Then just continue on down with slashing. In this way the loaf can expand to the max during oven spring and NOT get constricted. Hope this helps.

csnider's picture
csnider

I was reading through the posts trying to troubleshoot my own baguettes. I'm not getting the big, glorious open crumb that I want and lately, the loaves have been flattening. I'll bet I'm overproofing too. Thanks for your comment, gives me a place to start. And I agree with Gold Medal brand flour, but I use the bread flour - I'm not sure I'd want to try the AP. It really turns out ok?