The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I need help with my crumb

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

I need help with my crumb

I have been using the following recipe to make my baguettes.  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/baking/documents/baguette-ciabatta.pdf

The bread always comes out looking ok and tasting ok, but I can not seem to get the wide open big crumb that is normally associated with baguettes.

As a follow up question, in the recipe the water is in ounces....... stupid question: I can just weigh the water like the flour on my scale?

Here are two pics.. sorry, color and focus are a little off.

vtsteve's picture
vtsteve

Bread flour is too strong for baguettes. You said the color is off, so I'll assume it's not whole wheat...

Yes, where they give the formula both ways - volume (weight) - it's more precise to use the weights all the way. Metric weight is the gold standard; the ratios are *so* much easier to percieve.

Your scores opened well, with no blow-outs, so I'd say it's not underproofed. I would guess that it was shaped too roughly. I can see some white lines of raw flour in the crumb, so I'd use less flour on the bench. You want just enough to keep it from sticking. When you're shaping the loaves, brush the loose flour off the top before you seal the seam. You want to pull the dough over the thumb of your weak hand to create tension, and seal the seam with your strong hand, but you only press down on the actual seam. This loaf looks like it was squashed over the entire fold, so cup your strong hand and only press the seam with the heel of your hand. The scores should run more parallel to the long axis of the loaf, not so much across the loaf.

Check out these videos on the King Arthur web site:  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/videos.html

And keep baking - baguettes are hard! I'm mostly doing batards/ovals these days; if I need to make baguettes, first I do a couple of test batches to tune up my skills.

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

when I stated tha the color was off, I meant the color tone of the picture... white balance. Picture was taken under flourencent lights, so it cast a orange tint.

thanks.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Looks like the total hydration is only 62% which is rather low for an open crumb.  I'd suggest raising the hydration to at least 70% ( roughly 6.5 oz in the finished dough of the recipe you linked) and continue increasing until you get the crumb you desire.  I am working on baguettes with 77% hydration.  

 

Happy baking

 

Josh

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I'm getting 66.7% hydration which is still pretty low in my book.  I'm with you to increase the hydration to say 70% or so and see it that helps. That may be all it takes to open up the crumb.

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

How are the both of you calculating hydration? I calculate it at less then 50 percent. Here is how ...

Poolish is 5 1/4 oz. flour to 5 1/4 oz. water with would be a 1 to 1 ratio which equals 50% so far. (50 % flour and 50% water) The extra 1 tsp water for the yeast is negligible weight.

Baguette Dough is 10.5 oz. flour to 5 ¼ oz water (+1 tbsp) which in my mind is a 2 to 1 ratio which in my mind is 33% hydration (2 parts flour to 1 part water equals 33.333 or 100% divided by 3)

 When averaging 50% and 33% it would come out around 40 (ish)

So what is the correct way to calculate hydration?

 

thanks

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Total of all of the formula's water divided by all of the flour.

Total water in recipe: 5.25 oz(water in poolish) + 5.25 oz.(water in "dough") = 10.5 oz water

Total flour: 5.25 oz(flour in poolish) + 10.5 oz(flour in "dough") = 15.75 oz flour

10.5 / 15.75 = .667 x 100 = 66.7 % hydration.

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

thanks

 

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Yep I added flour to 16.75 by accident.  Still I believe the problem is hydration.  Increase until its at your liking.

 

Josh

vtsteve's picture
vtsteve

You may want to consider how much gluten development you've got when you've finished mixing. Too much kneading will give you that tight, even crumb; they're pretty explicit in the KA recipe that you want to almost under-knead it. You could try a batch where you stop kneading when the dough just comes together, and then fold the dough at the 45 minute mark. If it feels underdeveloped a half hour later, you can sneak in an extra fold.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Jeffrey Hamelman has four pictures in his book "Bread" where he compares the bagette crumbs of four baguettes baked under different conditions - did you have a chance to look at these?

Just an additional idea...

Juergen

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

Well... everyone that commented states that the recipe is a low hydration percentage problem. Odd, considering it is a KA recipe and the pictures of the bread made from this recipe (on KA's site ) show a nice open crumb...

Well, if this KA recipe is a bad one, then for baguettes, what recipe is everyone here using?

vtsteve's picture
vtsteve

I still think it's handling, and maybe overdeveloped gluten. The formula is the same as "Baguettes with Poolish" from Bread - it's not the hydration. Well... what's the humidity in AZ in October? How does the dough feel? Per Bread, "If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. ...The dough should feel supple and moderately loose." Does it?