The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Worlds Ugliest baguettes

jimw's picture
jimw

Worlds Ugliest baguettes

So I used my usual SD recipe that I typically form into a boule and tried baguettes using a shaping technique where you make a rectangle, de-gas, fold lengthwise to the middle, roll/pinch, roll/seal, elongate as found on you tube.

I skipped the elongate step because my loaves were already long enough after taking my pre-forms to the first rectangle. I guess I could have made them too long and cut them then. In the past I simply made a long tube and didn't do any other kind of forming.

From I see it looks like the baguettes rolled, split on the bottom (now side)seal.

1. do more homework ahead of time (directions?, what directions?)
2. portion loaves smaller (half or less of the 275g I used)
3. elongate
4. slash deeper, or at least across a greater portion of the perimeter
5. seal better
6.-10. practice, practice, practice

The crumb wasn't terrible, at least not where the loaf had a chance to expand.

Are the odd shapes just a result of poor forming and irregularly de-gassing?

One thing I noticed here, and when I also form boules, is that I tend to get a fair amount of surface bubbles when forming. The baguettes looked like warted frog skin, I popped a couple but didn't like how it looked. During the final proof the bubbles seemed to go away.

Thanks for your help.
Jim

ps (What's the best way to include photo's) Other than the thread avatar it seems a bit cumbersome.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

a baguette.  Divide the top in 3rds and only slash in the middle 3rd portion only - down the length of the loaf and overlap the slashes 30%.  Hold the blade 30 degrees to the top of the baguette and only slice 1/4 to 3/8" deep at the most.  Do not slice across the bread.

David Snyder also has a slashing video on this site that is great and.take it from me ...those aren't even close to the ugliest baguettes of all time :-)  You are too kind about the process to put a photo up on the site!

Happy baguette baking

jimw's picture
jimw

I appreciate your taking the time. I see my inclination was the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I am supposed to do. I also would never have thought of angling the knife away from vertical.

In addition to the questions asked above, I have another one that applies to these baguettes, but could easily apply to any shape loaf, and slashing.
You can see that the crumb in the part that I cut was uneven, with the bottom half having smaller holes, and that this happened even where the side split allowed for expansion. In other words, I think I would have the same result even with proper slashing.

Is that because of how it was handled in shaping, how well it was proofed, oven heat, steaming, the effects of gravity during the final proof, etc.?


Here is something similar in a boule made with a slightly different dough.


Thanks again,
Jim

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

IF you go to the King Arthur Flour website or YouTube and view the videos on shaping and scoring you will see they check the crumb of the baguette by cutting it in half lengthwise instead of as a slice.  You will see yours crumb is every bit as good as the Master Baker's version.

Here is the shaping one for bouie batard and baguette.  Shaping is the key for all breads

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=king+arthur+flour+videos&FORM=VIRE7#view=detail&mid=7020844FEFB8F5F90EA77020844FEFB8F5F90EA7  

The scoring one is also a treat

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

Here isnthe one for bread evaluation http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=king+arthur+flour+videos&FORM=VIRE7#view=detail&mid=4EC2C7F480631E3B83AB4EC2C7F480631E3B83AB 

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

jimw,

I think that a lot of us have been in your situation.  I used to think that my Baguetts were "inbread" (pun intended).

dabrownman's drawing is excellent.  Shows the technique perfectly, I think.  Only suggestion is most of what I learned is that a "odd" number of slashes give the best appearance.  

The following is a link to a, I think, great video for shaping.  Really shows what is needed and what to watch for.

▶ 4. Shaping Baguettes / Round / Batards - King Arthur

Your crumb is wonderful!

Bake happy…… !

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

made me think about a chuckle about the baguette video on King Arthur Flour's website.  Jeffrey Mamelman is critiqing the finished baguette and he says he can tell the ones slashed by his cohort, whose name escapes me now (Martin), because they had 5 slashes but the last one was longer than the rest -his signature where his have an even 5 in a 24" baguette.  I was waiting for his cohort to say he slashed them 6 times so they wouldn't be confused with inferior baguettes :-) Personally, I put 4 slashes in a 16" baguette for 2 reasons.  if six in 24" isOK, then  the correct number is 4 for 16" plus I want to slash more than less just to practice since I only make them once or twice a year;-)

The odd number being more ascetically pleasing goes against nature.even number of eyes, arms legs ears etc is the way things are supposed to be even insects, spiders and octopus  have even number of limbs.  Odd is.....just odd in nature it seems - no matter how pleasing to the eye:-)

Happy Baking

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

most flowers have 5 petals.  and don't forget:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibonacci_number

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

Go Mini Oven!!!!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Now we know where bakers math comes from!!!!!!!  I think Lucy is going to upchuck on my toes again....

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I wonder if starfish think we who are bilaterally symmetrical are "odd."

BTW, the "Martin" to whom you referred is (from the KAF web site):

Martin Philip is a baker and our bakery operations manager. In previous lives, he was a professional opera singer and worked in investment banking; his current chapter, which includes three wonderful children, a happy wife, ample time in the woods, and lots of crackling baguettes, is the best yet.

I bake because it connects my soul to my hands, and my heart to my mouth.
David
dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

is 'the loneliest number' and 3, the 2nd odd number, is 'a crowd' - after that is just gets worse :-) I don't think Starfish think about anything at a high enough level to comprehend even and odd but, if they could, they would want an even number of arms so not to be.....odd !

No one wants to be lonely in a crown and end up feeling odd either :-) 

happy Baking David

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

You are absolute as bad as I am about "stuff"…..

I was waiting for his cohort to say he slashed them 6 times so they wouldn't be confused with inferior baguettes..

If I would have been there that is exactly what I would have said.  (grin)

Oh, maybe nature needs to "think a little out of the box and to the left"…..?  See Mini's comment, she's got it correct!!!!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

DBM,

I just consulted with my three legged stool, and it took offense at your comment!

alan

jimw's picture
jimw

I will endeavor to improve them and appreciate your input and references.

Betsy, don't worry, I bake happy even when things don't turn out quite right.

To me, home baked bread is a lot like steak; never met one I didn't find worth enjoying!

Jim

jimw's picture
jimw

say something about 4 vs. 5, or odd vs. even.

To my mind nature craves symmetry, not evenness (sic?).

So I would think any "reasonable" number of slashes evenly spaced would work.

PetraR's picture
PetraR

the uneven numbers.

Chefs like to put 3's  on their plate and rather five than 2,4 or 6.

 

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

Me too,,,, 'cause "normal" is way too boring a way to go through life!!!  Plus being "uneven" keeps a little distance around you from the others…..

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

know more about numbers than anyone.

http://www.chinatravel.com/facts/chinese-lucky-numbers.htm

As one (a very bad number) who is a twin, born 2nd, 12 minutes apart, 2 minutes before 12 midnight, in February the 2nd month, on February 2nd in 1952.   I can tell you that my existence has revolved around being lucky in life and the nuber 2 but, it has all been schere dumb luck too :-)  i can't tell you how much money I have lost betting on 2, 22, multiples of 2, etc   but I could have retired earlier had I not made even half the bets:-)

And don't forget how bad 13 is.....

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Don't forget Mac from SFBI demonstrating baguette technique in this video:

 

http://www.sfbi.com/shaping-baguettes.html

 

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

If you do East Coast viewing  you have to have a West Coast video too!  What about Gulf Coast. Oh Oh....that makes 3 coasts - Lucy says we are now all doomed for sure - except for her :-!

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

Gosh,, you are again so very correct!!!  

East Coast viewing  you have to have a West Coast video too!  What about Gulf Coast. Oh Oh....that makes 3 coasts

Three Coasts????  That is an odd number!  Just like Mini Oven says about flowers…… Hey, I rest my case about slashes……….

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

are 3 coasts ...and she is rarely wrong about such inconsequencial things :-).

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in the video. sounds like "bag it"  with accent on the bag.  

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Hi Jim

You didn't mention pre-shaping in your post.  When making baguettes I think it's important to do.   I stretch out into a rectangle and de-gass and then letter fold horizontally, then leave to rest for 10-15 mins.  Only then do I shape them which I do by once again stretching out into a rectangle, handling lightly, folding top long edge just over 1/2 way, then rotating 180 degrees, then folding the top edge over the entire form and sealing with the ball of my palm, then rolling out to elongate as necessary and tapering the ends.

The pre-shape evens out the dough so there isn't a big lump at one side or the other and also makes it very easy to get a consistent rectangle.   You probably did pre-shape but just didn't mention it.  In which case just ignore my ramblings !

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

Thanks for the reminder about "pre-shaping"…. It's very important!  And also the time you let the "pre-shapes" rest is equally important.  Or so I humbly submit.  I usually let them rest a minimum of 20 minutes.

Early in my "dough-life" I would rush the rest time for pre-shapes and I always had a terrible time forming the Baguettes… It was like the dough was made out of rubber bands….. what a pain.

Good job on your procedure!  You sound like someone that does the correct (grin) number of slashes on the bag's………. 

Good Stuff, this bread making!

jimw's picture
jimw

I watched two videos. One was the KA kitchen where the breadmaker showed two different pre-shaping methods. One that they don't use makes a rectangle and the one that they use, because it is a high production bakery, makes more of an oblong. 

I made a somewhat poorly shaped rectangle.     I did let them rest for 15 or 20 minutes. I don't think a tight dough was my issue as much as perhaps not degassing enough,  that and I tried to follow the second baguette shaping video I watched. It called to take the edge and envelope folded as you mentioned. I think I was okay at that point. 

Where I went awry was in trying to follow this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idx4QJwcPHA

And having just viewed it again I see that I didn't do it the way he did.

I will review the shaping Videos above and this one again. 

Thanks a lot for all your help. 

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

jimw,

Sounds like you are on the road to getting dialed in…  Man, when I first started it seemed like both of my hands were all thumbs… but after much practicing and the process started to get better and easier.  Not saying that I really the greatest now, just "better"….

I like to use the rectangle method for pre-shape.  It seems to give me a jump start to the long baguette.  My biggest issue still is not letting the dough relax enough and it is like working with rubber bands.

bikeprof actually got hands on instructions and man, wish I could have….. he gave you good pointers!

Keep a grin on while climbing that learning curve…….  

 

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

There's a variety of good Youtube clips showing pre-shaping and shaping techniques.  For baguettes they differ quite a bit but what's important is to find a technique that feels easy and effective for your situation.  For production bakers they will go for techniques that are quick, foolproof and which provide consistent results.

Take a look at this clip by Ciril Hitz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI-WstoakmQ

His pre-shaping is quick and easy and I note how he handles the dough very gently throughout as he doesn't want to destroy the lovely bubbliness that has developed to this point.  This is more or less how I shape baguettes but he does it so quick it's easy to miss some of it.   I would also recommend all the other "Ciril Hitz" videos as they're equally informative.

As I said though, there are a lot of different techniques out there.  Take a look at this one by the great Saveurs bakery in Dartmouth.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSfcG5lrO94

Very different pre-shaping.

ATB

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

In my SFBI class, where we made baguettes all week, I found a new appreciation for pre-shaping--good pre-shaping pretty strongly predicted how well my final shaping and the loaves turned out.

And...a number of things went into good pre-shaping, from how the dough was poured out on the table, to how it was divided, etc., etc.

Every demo. the instructor did, I picked up on little things he was doing to help things go well in the end.

That said, there were plenty of mishaps that ended up as nice baguettes too.

Have fun!

jimw's picture
jimw

Is in the fridge. Updates tomorrow. 

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

jimw,

All of this studying and research you have been doing I'll bet that you are going to "hit a home run" today.

Heck, I'm so convinced that that I'll wager a 5lb bag of the worlds greatest flour that you'll do good……

dabrowbman, do you want a piece of this action????  Or does Lucy have you whipped??

I'll even go way out there and add to the bet that jimw will do an odd number of great "slashes"!!!!  MiniOven are you going to watch my six?????

OK, jimw, don't let us down……….

 

jimw's picture
jimw

solid double.


Overall, they're much improved. I created the only real difficulty that I had - which was proportions, caused by under portioning. Basically, I need to find the sweet spot for the right amount of dough to fit my stone.  On the slashing: you can see they're different. In the future I'll concentrate on the slash placement and not number as I did on the one with four not three.

I was happy with the crumb

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

a huge improvement for sure.  Notice how much better the 4 slashes look than the one with 3?  Now you just need to keep the angle of the blade at 230 degrees,keep the slashes running more down the length of the baguette in the middle and get that overlap at 33% and you will be a master of the slash bag.  Lucy is impressed with your improvement.  Well done and

Happy baking

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

jimw,

Heck, that's not a "Double" I'd call them more like a "Triple" that going to steal home…..!

Good looking Bag-its compared to the "Sea Cumbers" you first posted.

And it appears that you reviewed dabrownman's slashing drawing…..

I dos believes dat yo's on yo's way!!!!!!!!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That top one could have been a "5" and the lower one a "4" and either could also be a "1" slash.  Big improvement!  Congrats!   :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Found this quote interesting especially if you happen to have Asian Clientele.

“In China, the word for ‘four’ sounds very similar to the word for ‘death’, so it is a good idea to avoid giving anything in fours.”

Mini