The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to prepare a Couche for proofing baguette?

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Leon's picture
Leon

How to prepare a Couche for proofing baguette?

I've bought some 100% flax linen. So far I've been using old tea towels sprayed with oil and dusted liberally with  flour.  Should I prepare the crouche for use? I'm not sure.

Thank you

Leon

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

If I were you, I would NOT put any oil on the linen. Give it a good "rub-in" with rice flour before the first use. After that, a light dusting with regular flour should be sufficient. Most importantly, let the fabric dry well after use and don't ever wash it.

Stephan

Leon's picture
Leon

Thank you Stephan,

I think this appears to be good advice. 

BTW, I snooped around and noted your German background. I grew up in Namibia and got used to their Brotchen. Any ideas how to bake those? They were not the standard round ones I saw on you tube but a slightly larger oval shape with a beautiful score over the top. Maybe you know these?

Appreciated your reply

Leon

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Leon,

I made probably thousands of Brotchen during my apprenticeship back in Germany (and later as a Journeyman). In fact, that's how I got into baking at all - delivering those delicious breakfast rolls in the morning to people's houses, much like a paper route.

Anyway, they're somewhat tricky to make at home. I've tried, but it's hard to achieve the perfect balance of crumb and crust. The right ingredients are just as important as the right equipment, mainly steam - a lot of it early during baking, and then a dry heat for the last 5 minutes of baking.

I have customers ask me about Brotchen occasionally, and I always tell them I want to be able to do them right, and since I don't have the equipment for it, I rather pass:)

 

Stephan

Leon's picture
Leon

Hi Stephan

Thanks again for your reply. I replied to your earlier post, but not below your postline, which may imply that you may not get a notice of the reply. So just follow the tread generally and you will see my reply to you. Basically, being interested in Brotchen, I would still appreciate your reply as I am considering investing in some smaller industrial equipment in the future pending where life takes me. Is the oven the essential piece of equipment or is there more to it? Thank you for offering me your insights.

Kind regards

Leon

Leon's picture
Leon

Thanks David,

Just for interest sake, you mind telling me about them? Equipment, procedures etc. etc. 

BTW having a German backgroup you should really try and visit Namibia, sure you'll love it. However, its more for a relaxing holiday without the glitz and glamor. Food is good and the hard semi desert scenery is very picturesque. The evening light is fantastic. 

O yes, I'm in Australia now, so contact me if you ever visit these shores

I've tried this recipe (Brotchen) to the T and I think they are not half bad. The guy appears to be a bit of a character as well. I think he posts on TFL also, as his web page has some references to TFL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWHuhdgJEP0

est regards

Leon

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

As suggested many times by others on this forum - use a blend of 50% rice flour and 50% AP flour when dusting.  This blend is superior to AP alone. 

Another option: 

I have used flax linen for years, but switched to using microfiber dinner napkins that cost about $2 each at a discount store.  They are 18-20" square, thus a good size and the edges are bound/sewn and have a very fine weave.  They are cheap, not perhaps perfectly square, of the quality that I would not want on my formal dining table, but perfect for bread!  Over several years they have held up just fine.  They are more forgiving than linen- with linen it seems that a lot of flour has to be used for success, with microfiber you still need to coat well, but they are less prone to stick at the same comparable dusting.  After the dough is released, they air dry very fast, at which point it is easy to shake to residual flour off and simply fold until the next time.    And they work well with just AP flour vs. the 50/50 rice flour blend above.  No need to keep a jar of rice flour around given I have limited space...

Regards

Leon's picture
Leon

Thank you for your rely. This my show my ignorance of  microfiber, but is it important to know the fabric used for the manufacture of the  microfiber? I'll still use the flax cloth now that I've got it, but it may interspersed with your method, as I sometimes use the whizz bang oven at work (used mainly for warming up pies and other foods)  which is much more superior than the one I have at home. I may in the future move to a smaller place now that my children are about to move out, so I can see the wisdom of your method.

Happy baking