The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What am I doing wrong?

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urshy's picture
urshy

What am I doing wrong?

Hi,

firstly I just want to say that I absolutely love this site and infact it was actually the breads on this site that made me want to try baking bread myself :)

And now I really really need your help because I don't have a clue what am I doing wrong...

I'm using the recipe and instructions from Peter Reinhart (The bread baker's apprentice) a recipe for french baguette and it was looking great, well shaped and scored but when I put them in the oven all of my scoring has disappeared, they puffed really well and the crust was looking very smooth and not as rustic and artisan as I was hoping. So what have I done wrong? Was the dough under proofed or was the oven not hot enough or something else entirely? I bake them as Peter described, first at 500F and after steaming them reduce heat at 450F. The taste was great and the crust was crunchy but not like the picture below from one of your's forums...

these are my baguette and one batard


I was reaching to something like this :)

I would be really thankful for any suggestions and help.

Urshy

 

dwfender's picture
dwfender

Hi Urshy,

Just so you know, the photos you posted are not showing up because of a server error. Try reposting.

 

To try and answer your question though, I had the same problem when I first started making baguettes. It's definitely tough business getting it right. The two elements for me that I needed to perfect to get a good ear consistently was gluten development and hydration. 

I noticed that when I was kneading the dough by hand, it never seemed to develop far enough to get a good ear. I would get flat breads that expanded well but seemed to close back up. It looked like there should have been an ear but never was. The third time I baked the baguettes I was at my fathers house. He has a commercial kitchenaid with the spiral hook instead of the crap pirates hook with the model I have. I followed the same instructions kneading it with the machine instead of by hand and the results were spectacular. The gluten was clearly better developed with the spiral hook an the ears popped nicely. This was the first time I realized how important gluten was. 

Now at home I use long autolyses and several stretch and folds to get my dough to develop properly. It's much more time consuming but the results are consistent now and I can rely on getting a good ear just about every time. Every so often one of the several loaves I'll bake won't pop just right but I chalk that up to poor circulation of heat and steam in my oven than anything else. 

The other element I've found that's important, although not as important, is the dough hydration. Peter reinhart's recipe is pretty solid though. I would try developing the gluten as the first step and see what it gets you. Try and post more pictures so we get a better idea of what you are looking for. 

This is a picture before I was developing my gluten

You can see the oven spring worked but there is clearly no ear.

This is after I had the go round with my father's kitchen aid and changed my hand method to add more gluten to the dough.

 

Good luck!

D
www.allthingswheat.com 

urshy's picture
urshy

Hi,

I reposted my picture of baguettes, hope you can see it now.

After reading your answer I think you might be right about the gluten development. I was kneading it by heand because I couldn't find my dough hook :) and even though I was kneading it at least 15 minutes it's seems the gluten just wasn't there, I tried the windowpane test and it didn't work as well as it should.

Thanks so much, I will deffinetly try mixing it with my machine next time.

Urshy

 

 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Hi Urshy,

I am wondering if this is the first bread that you have attempted.  If it is, you have begun at a very difficult place, the baguette.  I know that the baguette looks simple enough but nothing could be further from the truth.  If you are just beginning I would suggest that you find a simple recipe for a simple bread and begin there.  Leave the baguette until you have become well practice in bread making.

Jeff

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

If those baguettes are your first, you're positively amazing!  However, there's so much to learn about bread baking that I recommend that you start with a text book rather than BBA or any other cook book.  If you work with a text book from beginning to end, your questions will be answered gradually as your knowledge base grows.  Don't be in a hurry with the learning process.  Like a good lacquer wood finish, is develops slowly.  A year with a text will give you such a wonderful foundation!

Here are two text books:  DiMuzio's Bread Baking and Hamelman's Bread.  I suggest that you look at both before you choose.  For my money, I'd start with the DiMuzio.  It's inexpensive, nowhere near as long as the Hamelman, yet it is thorough.  Hamelman's is quite detailed.  Had I been given it at the beginning I would have quit bread baking, thinking it was too hard.  Now, with lots of experience under my belt I treasure both.  Look for both used at Alibris on the web.

Also, have you watched all the videos on the link provided at the top of this page?  Go through all of them them once to give you some ideas, but be prepared to go back to the ones that become relevant along the way.

Practice, practice and practice some more.  Practice so much that you have to give your loaves away you have so many of them.  Practice until all of your friends and neighbors start complaining they feel so guilty.  No one will complain about your bread really.  But always demand of those to whom you give your loaves that they return the favor with honest constructive criticism about appearance, flavor, crust and crumb.

 

 

urshy's picture
urshy

Hi

Thank you :) well this was my first attempt to baguette although I'm making bread from time to time. But these kind of mistake or problem with the crust and scores happened to me a few times before and I just don't know why.

My first thought was that I didn't proof the baugettes enough and that's why the oven spring was to great and ''erase'' the scores but honestly I have no idea :)

and yes I agree with that I need some more practise and practise :)

Thank you

Urshy

 

plevee's picture
plevee

But  where did your ideal baguette pictures come from? They are spectacular!

urshy's picture
urshy

 Hi

actually I found them on TFL :)  and yes they are gorgeous!!

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/31914/xxxii-baguete-traditional-la-samuel-fromartzish

 

dwfender's picture
dwfender

So now that I've seen the pictures I see 2 problems. The color of the crust is very light and your cuts are not in the right direction for a baguette. The cut you used is actually called the Saucisson cut. That is, a very steep angle from top to bottom instead of low angles from left to right. This is definitely a big reason for not having the ear in this particular shaped loaf. I recommend watching this video to see how to properly score a baguette. 

I think this, plus gluten, wil definitely help you. There are ways to develop the gluten by hand, no need for a machine, but that's your preference.

The color on your crust is the other problem. Your dough doesn't look gray and pale, it just looks under cooked. Gray and pale would lead me to believe it was over fermented and the sugars in the starch were eaten by the yeast. Instead it looks like your bread either didn't cook long enough or you didn't use a high enough temperature letting the outside cook faster than the inside. A true baguette should be a light chestnut color...maybe the color of a stained oak piece of wood. It should be rich. Traditionally they almost have a reddish hue to them, really beautiful. But that takes a lot of practice and getting your fermentation and flours down. I hope all this stuff helps though. You should be on your way. Check out that video first and then try developing the gluten on the next batch. 

D
www.allthingswheat.com 

urshy's picture
urshy

I definitely agree I need more practise with my scoring.

The oven temperature was my second guess, my oven is a bit old and it's probably not providing enough heat anymore, so next time I will leve it on 500F and se what happens.

Thank you soo much for all your answers they helped me a lot and with this new informations I'm eager to give these baugettes a nother try.

Urshy

 

dwfender's picture
dwfender

Do you have an oven thermometer? They are only a couple of dollars at target or wal-mart. Worth getting till you know your oven is calibrated. 

D
www.allthingswheat.com