The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First question here, baguette scoring. Please help!

maojn's picture
maojn

First question here, baguette scoring. Please help!

Hi everyone, 

First I would like to express how much I love this site. I just post my first article actually about my baguettes, customized kneading board on sink, and Pain de Campagne.  Today I am going to post my first question and I know you guys will definitely help me out!

I have read lots and lots of posts here about scoring. My scoring sometimes work and sometimes don't. When it works, it's like the picture in my post above (sorry about so many pictures). When it's not, it's like this below. Some people seem to have trouble view the picture. So I put the link here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30584765@N04/8594854343/

The crumb is very airy, like the picture in my post. But the ears are missing. Could you provide possible reasons? I used razar blade different ends each time. It's 75% so kind of dragging as you can tell from the not straight lines. Thank you very much in advance.

 

Jean

 

yy's picture
yy

Hi Jean

Your photo doesn't show up - I see a flickr box that says "This image or video is currently unavailable."

maojn's picture
maojn

Hi yy,

I tried again refreshing the page and are able to see the picture. So was my colleague. Do you mind try again and let me know? I went through stupid chinese gov blocking us accessing pictures on their sites last night. So I migrated all the pictures to flickr. And my other post last night were ok showing the pics. Thanks! :)

yy's picture
yy

I tried refreshing, and I still don't see the picture (However, I can see all the photos from your first blog post). Maybe it's just my browser. I'm using Firefox.

maojn's picture
maojn

This time to a different site. Please let me know. Thanks  a lot!

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

Using Chrome.

Anyway, the cuts aren't as bad as I expected. They seem to be "healing," which is common in high hydration doughs. Try switching from a razor blade to a serrated paring knife. You can oil the knife blade to prevent sticking. Hold the knife at a pretty sharp angle to cut a flap, not just a vertical slice.

Cheers

maojn's picture
maojn

I thought I already score with an angle. But how shar would the angle be? Say the "/" key on my keyboard has a 30 degree angle from the verticle line. Should I be scoring with 60? or even more? Thank you very much for the tip.

yy's picture
yy

Here is a great post by dmsnyder on scoring: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/31887/scoring-bread-updated-tutorial

I still can't see any photos, but it looks like it's just a problem with my browser, and other people see it just fine.

As for the dragging problem, how do you proof your baguettes? On a couche? Covered in plastic? It helps to allow some air circulation so that a light skin forms on the surface.

maojn's picture
maojn

Thank you for the video. It's very good. 
I proof my baguettes on a couche. The surface of them is not sticky at all. Like partially dried, not hard, but is dry and smooth. 

chouette22's picture
chouette22

on Chrome and IE and in neither is the picture showing up. What a pain that you are having so much trouble showing images. Can you try something else?

maojn's picture
maojn

Thank you all for the patience. I modified it again. Hopefully you can view it. Sigh..........

yy's picture
yy

I can see the photo now! These baguettes seem to have a much shinier crust than the ones in your blog post. Did you use a different steaming procedure, or is that just the lighting in the photo?

To answer your question about scoring angle, the blade should be held at a shallow angle (30% relative to horizontal). My take on the photo is that your scoring may have been too steep, based on the way the bloom looks.

maojn's picture
maojn

So happy I finally solved the photo issue! Those photo hosting site wants visitors to watch the pictures ON their site instead of other blogs, forums etc. So they don't easily give out the true URL.

I think you are right. When I score, the blade doesn't seem to tilt enough becuase I unintentionally feel that too shallow means the cut won't be 1/4" deep. I will pay attention to that tonight. I have been making baguettes like crazy in the past month. At least 4 times a week and each time 4 baguettes. My husband said he is tired of baguettes and needs other Taiwanese breads (which is totally different kind of buttery milky super soft crumb like this one) which is our asian style.  Well, he will have to wait! :)

Could you give me some detail regarding what you mentioned 'based on the way the bloom looks'?

Thank you.

Jean

yy's picture
yy

Hi Jean

I may be totally mistaken about my bloom observation. I circled an example of what I was talking about below:

The lightest colored part looks quite far away from the edge of the cut (especially in the middle of the cut), and also appears to be an inconsistent distance from the edge. My guess would be that the angle was not shallow enough and the depth of the cut was also uneven. Hopefully more skilled bakers on this forum will offer differential diagnoses.

maojn's picture
maojn

I think I know why that cut is there. Because the dough dragged when I slice, Some part of the skin will 'wrinkle up' which results in discontinue of the cut (uncut part), I will cut that part one more time XD

But I do think my cut maybe too deep.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your scoring looks good, except for the absent ears.

In addition to scoring at a shallow angle, as has been suggested, do not cut too deep. If you create a flap of dough that is too heavy, it collapses rather than rising up to form an ear.

Consider practicing with one single longitudinal cut, before trying the traditional multiple cuts. 

Happy baking!

David

maojn's picture
maojn

That's a great point, heavy flap! I can't wait to try again tonight! Thank you very much!

golgi70's picture
golgi70

David nailed it I think.  It looks like pretty good scoring but maybe you score a bit too deep, hence losing the ears.  They do open quite nicely keeping the shape of the loaf though which is what most people struggle with (not cutting acrooss but with the length of the loaf).  Don't switch from a lame to a knife.  Stick with the lame and you will get ears.  Angle and not too deep.  Good looking breads.

 

Josh

tusr18a's picture
tusr18a

Last winter, I went through a similar period where I was making baguettes every day for weeks.  Perfection of the scoring technique was my goal.   While I am by no means an expert yet, I can provide you with some direction that helped me.   First, consider working with slightly under-proofed bread.  For the last rise, my recipe calls for a 90 minute rise.   I usually baked four loaves each evening.   My oven is only big enough to bake one loaf at a time.   I noticed that when I scored the first loaf, my cuts were usually the best.   As I worked through the loafs, I would find that my cuts were getting worse and worse.    By the time that I was scoring the 2nd through 4th loaves, the baguettes were over-proofed, which made it a challenge to score.   During one of my experiments, I started scoring the 1st loaf after a 60 minute rise.  I found the loaf a lot firmer and easier to score at that time interval.   I ended up scoring the second loaf at about the 80 minute mark, which resulted in an easy score too.   I would still see some degradation in the 3rd and 4th loaf scoring because inevitably the latter loafs were getting over-proofed before I was starting to score them.   Another issue that I ran into was the sharpness of the lame.   In my mind, I could not see how running the lame through the dough could ever dull the blade.    After one really bad cycle where none of my scores worked well, I decided to change the lame blade.   After I did that, the scores were great.   I now switch out my lame blades a lot more often.   Dough can dull a blade pretty quickly.   Hope this helps!

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Jean, 

Here is an excellent video from King Arthur Flour that deals specifically with scoring baguettes.  Watch this very closely and pay attention to every little detail.  Your baguettes look very good and this video will help you achieve the end result that you are looking for.

Jeff

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaLnzomvEF8

PeterS's picture
PeterS

A few observations of the video: those look like your standard baguettes, i.e. 65-ish % hydration, they are very well shaped with tight surfaces and are ideally proofed (of course!). In other words, they're no dummies, they picked a formula that shows off best what they wanted to demonstrate. :)

I think a lot of us beat ourselves up on the scoring trying to cut 70-75+% hydration doughs and have them look like they are 65% hydration doughs. A/P or baguette bread flours (<12% protein) will be more difficult at the same hydrations. Shaping a higher hydration dough is more challenging and it is going to be even harder to score if overproofed. It will also be more likely to collapse--that's just the nature of the dough as the hydration increases. 

Maojn: your formula is 75% hydration. You could try making this bread at 65% hydration (add only 350g water in your final dough). Your crumb will be less open, but start at 65% then increase in 5% increments, i.e. to 70%, then back to 75%. It is somewhat of a trade-off between a large open crumb and a perfect grigne (score) when working with higher hydration doughs; the higher the water content, the harder it is to form a tight skin especially without overworking the dough.

I also saw your pictures of the two mixers on your blog, but did not completely understand your predicament (Google translate couldn't figure it all out...). I am curious what is your opinion of the DLX and which mixer did you choose to keep?

Peter