The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My sister-in-law tries her hand at baguettes

alfanso's picture

My sister-in-law tries her hand at baguettes

Two months ago my brother and sister-in-law came by for a week.  Sandra had been quite intrigued by my home baking experience of a few short months and was really wanting to try her hand at baguettes.  I'd been working on getting the Bouabsa baguette down and this was the task for her to tackle.

She was insistent on performing the entire process pretty much solo, with only my guidance.  With two exceptions -  using the hand peel to load the baguettes from the couche and then the scoring of the dough.  She gave the scoring one try and then quickly defered to me.  Sandra is an exceptional ceramist and so her ability to handle and shape the high hydration dough was quite admirable through almost the entire process.  There was a lot of laughing throughout, especially during the French folds and shaping, but she was dead serious about doing a good job.  And she sure did!  She's a natural.

My brother decided to use his iPhone to videograph the activity, and then later sent me his doctored up version.  I've loaded it onto YouTube and invite you to watch this "instructional"/slightly humorous 5 minute video.


aecummingsII's picture

Great work and beautiful results! Sandra's background in ceramics really paid off here. Her handling of the slap and folds was well advanced past first attempt ability! Looks like we have another convert to the Bouabsa Baguette. And the crumb shots are stellar. You make a very good instructor, Alan.


dabrownman's picture

time was had by all and the baguettes look terrific!

Happy Baggie Baking!

dmsnyder's picture

You can tell that Sandra's not spooked by the sticky dough and has a light touch. The crumb also confirms the light touch. She didn't de-gas the loaves excessively.

So, Alan, is she hooked?

I've wondered whether experience with pottery clay would help handling high-% rye dough. I'm betting it would.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

if experience with clay helps dough.  It's hand eye co-odination and judging thickness and strength by feel and feeling air pockets and clay density under the surface.  Rye paste is very much like hydrated clay that needs some water removed to be workable., unless it's used as glue.  

There is no fear of sticking to the clay as there is a bond of the ceramist to the clay when working with the material.  The same might be said of switching to fear of the dough itself.  The artist's imagination wanting to make more of the material, tease it into something more grand.

Dough is more unpredictable, alive, it puffs up and rises and is much more flexible, easily fixed and can be eaten.  Most clay does not, it does the total opposite, it shrinks and stiffens and dries out fragile, takes days to dry and fire, glaze and fire again.  It will break your teeth to bite it.  Clay teaches patience.  Bread baking is lightning fast with it's results in comparison, even sourdough.  

alfanso's picture

and the compliments.  No, I don't think that she's hooked, although I sent her home with a small jar of SAF Instant Dry Yeast (red label).  She also lives in the high altitude west, so all bets are off as far as the "rules of engagement" being the same.

The Bouabsa formula, as found around the TFL website and on Steve B's Breadcetera website, makes for a wonderful and flavorful baguette or ficelle.