The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Durum Yeast Water Rustic Style Baguettes

isand66's picture

Durum Yeast Water Rustic Style Baguettes

Over the last few weeks I have been experimenting with making different styles and recipes for baguettes.  A couple of weeks ago I tried TxFarmer's 36 hour sourdough version but I had some issues transferring the rested baguettes to my oven and the results were less than stellar.  This time I decided to concentrate on a recipe from Dave Snyder for his "Rustic Sourdough Baguettes after Phillipe Gosselin".  This recipe is also similar to Peter Reinhart's formula for Pain a l' Ancienne from The Bread Bakers Apprentice where he uses yeast and no starter.

I wanted to give Dave's recipe a try using Yeast Water instead of a sourdough starter and I also wanted to incorporate some Durum flour into the mix.  I created a Durum Yeast Water starter over 3 builds and also used some KAF French Style flour in the final dough which is medium protein, high ash flour which is supposed to mimic the flour used in France for their world-famous baguettes.

The only mistake I made on this recipe was the forming of the baguettes.  I knew I should have re-read the directions from TBBA but I was too lazy and paid the price.  I didn't use nearly enough flour to control the extremely wet 75% dough and had a difficult time forming them into baguettes without man-handling them.  The final result turned out pretty good with a nice open crumb and sweet nutty flavor.  Keep in mind this dough is very wet and is not meant to form the baguettes in the normal fashion.  You basically just pat the dough out into a rough rectangle and cut 3-4 strip and carefully stretch them out to form a baguette.


Yeast Water Starter Build 1

60 grams Durum  Flour (KAF)

60 grams Yeast Water Starter

Mix the flour and Yeast Water in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 4 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed to build 2.

Build 2

Add ingredients below to starter from above and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

100 grams Durum Flour

100 grams Yeast Water

Build 3

Add flour to starter from above and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or until bubbly and either use immediately or put in the refrigerator for the next day.

60 grams Durum Flour

60 grams Yeast Water

(Note: I made extra starter since I wanted to use this for another bake.  You can cut the amounts down to make the 200 grams needed in the recipe)

Main Dough Ingredients

100 grams Durum Flour

300 grams French Style Flour (You can use AP flour to substitute)

200 grams  Yeast Water Durum Levain from above

275  grams Ice Water

8.75 grams Sea Salt or Table Salt


Build your Yeast Water levain the day before you are ready to bake or start in the morning the day before you want to bake the actual baguettes.

The evening before you want to bake, mix the mature levain with the flours and 225 grams of the ice water.  (I measured the water and added a few ice cubes for a minute and then removed the cubes and measured again).  Immediately put the flour mixture in the refrigerator in a covered greased bowl.  (Note: you can follow Dave's original recipe and substitute your 100% hydration sourdough starter for the Yeast Water starter).

The next morning, (Due to my schedule as we took a ride out east to buy some pumpkins and taste some wine I didn't prepare the dough until about 8 PM),  add the salt and 50 grams of ice water to the dough and mix using your hands until all the water is absorbed into the flour.  You will have to squish the dough and the water together for a few minutes until all the water is absorbed.  I did this in the same bowl the dough was resting in the refrigerator in, but you can transfer to a clean oiled bowl if desired.

Cover the bowl with the dough and ferment at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume which should take around 3 hours.  Every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours do a stretch and fold in the bowl.

About one hour before ready to bake, set your oven for 500 degrees F.and make sure you prepare it for steam.  I have a baking stone on the top shelf and the bottom and use a heavy-duty rimmed baking pan that I pour 1 cup of boiling water into right as I put the loaves into the oven.

After 3 hours or when the dough has doubled, transfer the dough to your well floured work surface (use about 1/2 cup of flour).  Sprinkle more flour onto the top of the  dough if necessary and using a wet dough scraper and wet hands pat the dough out into an oblong .  Be careful not to degas the dough or you will lose all of the nice big open holes you are looking for.  Cut the dough using your metal dough scraper into 4 strips and transfer them with floured hands to a piece of parchment paper on the back of a baking sheet.  Gently coax the dough until it is about 12-14 inches long.  You may need to let it rest for 5 minutes to relax before doing this step.  Score the dough as best as you can.  You may have to dip the blade in ice water between each cut.

When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 460 degrees.  It should take around 20 minutes to bake  until the baguettes  are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 - 205 degrees F.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 20 minutes or so before eating as desired.

The results were pretty good with a nice open crumb and light but crispy crust.  I will certainly try this one again and hopefully follow my own directions about shaping this time!


dabrownman's picture

The only ones we ever attempted were the ones that Akiko (teketeke) makes which we comparison baked with regular SD ones, but those have to be scored- my weak spot.  I like the idea of not having to score them very much!  You scored yours too but I'm wondering, for the scoring challenged like me, if scoring is required for a rustic look.

The process to make these rustic baggies is fairly similar to Pierre Nury's Rustic Light Rye found here

His hydration is only 73.5% but close enough for your 75%.  He cuts the dough 10"x10" dough into (2) 10" x 5" rectangles, picks them up by the ends, stretches them by 2" -  to 12" long - and then lets them plop onto the parchment which ever way they plop.  No scoring required!  Right after this shaping they go into the steamed oven.  Just an idea.

Love your use of a hurricain lamp for the baggies and the picture with the flowers - very nice.

Nice baking Ian.

isand66's picture

Thanks DA.

You can get away without scoring these.  Next time I have to shape them a little better and follow my own directions.

They did tastereal good even if they didn't look too nice.

MickiColl's picture

scuse my dumbness but what is yeast water ? and how do I make it ?

I have absolutely no luck with sourdough starter  .. will it give me the same flavor as sourdough ?)

can I use it in all bread recipes ?

isand66's picture

Don't feel dumb....many people have never heard of Yeast Water before.  It is made by mixing water with organic fruit pieces like apples, cherries, etc. added with some form of sugar.  It can be used in place of commercial yeast to build a levain but it does not create a sour flavor like sourdough levain/starter does.  There are many posts on TFL that explain how to start one yourself, just do a search in the Search field.  You still need to add the yeast water to some flour first to build a levain so it is a little more complicated than using regular yeast but I find it creates a nice open crumb and if one day you can get you SD starter going you can use both in the same bread for an interesting bake.  I wouldn't give up on your sourdough starter yet.  There are many tutorials on this site and others on how to build one.  You can also buy one on line and once you get it going nobody will know you didn't make it yourself :).

For the Yeast Water starter you can use it in place of sourdough starter but it will not give you a sour flavor at all.

Good luck.


Mebake's picture

Nice baguettes, Ian! It Seems that you like your baguettes pale.


isand66's picture

I was hoping nobody would notice that!  I am not sure why these came out so pale.  1 out of 4 were like that.  I baked them at 460 F. which is more than hot enough to get a brown crust.  Maybe next time I will have to go hotter.

Thanks for the feedback.  I do have to say while these may not look exactly the way I would like they tasted great.


dosidough's picture

That is a beautiful table presentation in the hurricane glassware. Very striking!
On a bread note, I hope to get some organic raisins soon to try out this intriguing yeast water thing. I've been following various post related to it and though I'm still a bit confused I really want to try it. As soon as I'm able to get some going you and 'dabrownman' will be hearing from me I'm sure. LOL, probably in a panic.

So there's no envelope fold, tuck the ends, roll and seal? Just cut strips and stretch out? Hmmm. Intrigued by this too. I'll follow the trail.
Thanks for this post,



isand66's picture

Thankyou Dosi for your kind words.  My wife is a consultant for Willow House and we have a houseful of their product so I try and make use of some their nice products when I can to make it interesting.

I hope you do get a chance to try the yeast water.  It really is easy and enjoyable to experiment with.  Once you get it going there are so many ways to use it.

In regards to the shaping of these, yes, it's pretty near impossible to shape these like regular baguettes.  Per my write-up above, if you try this, make sure to use enough flour and a wet dough scraper.  You don't want to handle the dough too much or you will lose all of the nice air pockets.