The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguettes as hard as a brick

lstamatov's picture

Baguettes as hard as a brick

Hi guys,

I am not sure if I am posting this into the right category, but I didn't see baguettes labeled anywhere.

First, a little introduction. I have been successfully baking breads with my own sourdough starter for a year now and I am fairly advanced. Yet, when a few weeks ago I bought a baguette pan and tried making baguettes, they were a real disaster. Tried several times with different flowers and tried to increase the hydration a little bit but the result was the same - the bread crust is awfully hard that you can barely chew it.

Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong?


Ford's picture

Perhaps they were overdone??  What were the temperatures and the timing.  The baguettes will not take as long to bake as loaves in a loaf pan, nor as long as a boule.  The greater surface area relative to the volume of the loaf makes for quicker heat transfer and thus faster baking.  Or is this too simple an explanation?


Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

I don't know if it is the "pan's fault" but the last 2 times I tried to make baguettes using those pans, loaves came out hard as a baseball bat, with a gray, pale crust. Maybe it is because the pan is room temp when it is put into the oven and keeps the dough from heating? When I did not use the pans and put the loaves directly on the baking stone I got much better results.

FlourChild's picture

For a thin, crisp crust, spritz loaves with water just before going into the oven and use higher heat than you would for loaves that are larger in diameter.  The smaller the loaf (i.e., the less time it takes heat to penetrate to the center), the higher your oven temp needs to be to get the right amount of crust browning by the time the center is done.  500F might do the trick.  I agree that skipping the pan might help as well.  

lacoet's picture

There is something that has been bugging me for a while now. I've been making artisan breads using both a clay baker and the recipes from the Bread in 5 minutes a day book using only a baking stone and the water in pan method. I have been very successful with both methods. But I just can't make sense of why do baguettes go rock hard so soon when they have exactly the same ingredients as the recipe to make a Batard shaped loaf, my Batard lasts in good shape for at least 3 days in the bread box and the Baguette is rock hard within 6 hours or so!!! They both have flour,yeast,water and salt as ingredients, so, why do they behave so differently?????



pmccool's picture

The bread has a very high crust to crumb ratio and a very small cross section.  That allows it to dry out quickly, both during and after the bake.  It's a trait of some notoriety with baguettes.  A baguette leavened with a levain instead of with commercial yeast might last a few hours longer but the shape will eventually trump the ingredients or process. 

Eat 'em while they're fresh and use any stale bits as croutons, bread pudding, bread crumbs, etc.


lacoet's picture

Thanks Paul, at least now I know it's not me doing something wrong ;)