The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguettes a la Bouabsa

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Michael G's picture
Michael G

Baguettes a la Bouabsa

Just wanted to share my results of using the Bouabsa baguette technique. 75% hydration dough with 21 hour cold bulk fermentation.  I used King Arthur AP flour.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Absolutely lovely.  Nice scoring.  I think that most folks have trouble getting the kind of bloom/grigne that you've achieved with high hydration.  It is such an explosive oven spring on these breads.  

For such a wonderful baguette, it is probably the easiest to prep.  BTW, I think that the magical 21 hour cold retard is nothing more than what fits into Mr. Bouabsa's production schedule.  I've let them sit in the refrigerator for hours longer than that with seemingly no degradation to quality.  I also appreciate seeing others who enjoy a dark bake.

alan

Michael G's picture
Michael G

Alan,

Thank you very much for your kind words. I think you are right about the magical 21 hour thing, as I have left some of Reinhart's neo-neapolitan pizza dough in the fridge for well over three days without any issues. I was actually kind of surprised about the grigne myself due to my lame dragging some while cutting too timidly.  Something I don't understand is that I sometimes get a grigne on both sides of the cut.  Any ideas? 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Michael,

Higher hydration doughs seem to be a natural environment for inviting lame drag.  I'm certain that you follow the "scoring rules" based on what I see in the photos, but a few generic thoughts:

Tip of blade only - I use a double edged razor blade on a holder that forces a curve in the blade and only let the tip of the blade come in contact with the surface of the dough.  A lot of posters swear by a serrated tomato knife as well.  And make sure that you don't use a blade that is dull.  A double edged razor provides 4 tips that will last a while, and they aren't all that expensive to replace.

Correct angle and depth of score - no 90 degree cuts, nor cutting too deeply.  The other poster so far, David Snyder, has a valuable video on the TFL website all about the philosophy and practical application of scoring baguettes. An angled cut will create the flap that you display, but too much depth of cut could act against the grigne's ability to open fully - seemingly counter intuitively.

A tighter final shaping/roll certainly helps with creating sufficient skin tension, difficult to do well with the higher hydrations.

Dipping the cutting tip of the blade into a drop of oil will help lubricate the blade for the cuts.  I do one dip per baguette, just for the fun of it all ;-) .

Being a brute on the blade is not a desirable trait, nor is the timidity that many probably experience.  Clear, precise, overlapping  and somewhat swift movements are my recommendation.  And for the many who approach scoring as a life altering, nerve-wracking event - we're not cutting the Hope Diamond here.  It's only a baguette, for Pete's sake.  If the first doesn't score well, then there's a second, fifth and eventually hundredth to try (with lots of tasty eating along the way).  A key is to figure out which of the many things might have gone wrong and then apply a correction the next time.  I can't even remember the number of bad cuts I made early on.

Sorry for the soap-box moment, but if the above doesn't apply to you, than maybe it will for someone else reading this thread.

As far as the double grigne on a cut, is it only with the Bouabsas that you see this?  I've had a little of that too with this baguette, so I wonder if it is an inherent quality of this style.

alan

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Welcome to TFL, Michael G!

Did you hand mix and machine mix? 

How did you find the flavor?

David

Michael G's picture
Michael G

Thank you David.  I hand mixed.  I thought the flavor was quite different than the baguettes that I have been making with poolish.   I found that the taste of wheat was more pronounced with these with hardly any taste of fermentation that you get with poolish. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Welldone and happy baking

ww's picture
ww

Beautiful baguettes indeed. Having had the Boubsa baguettes, i can assure you yours won't look out of place amongst the other baguettes in the bakery.

Alan, you got me at the "it's not the Hope Diamond" ;)) I must try the dipping in oil, that's totally new for me. What is a double-edged blade? And which way up do you hold your curved blade? I have a curved blade like you describe, and only recently found out that i've been using the blade the wrong way up it seems!!! That is, if the curved blade forms a sort of loosely shaped "C", I've always held it with the C facing the left. It appears the C should face the right. I don't know if I'm making any sense.

I've gotten grignes and all that, but my scoring is still wonky. Although i suppose if you only use the tip of the blade, it makes less of a difference which way you're holding the blade.

thanks

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Hi ww,

The way I was taught was to hold the lame in the right hand with the baguettes on the right side of my body.  The blade has the "C" curve to the right (like a backward "C"), tip of blade closest to me.  But that neither makes it right nor the only way.  As you will see...

I've seen the curved lame held both ways.  Here are two instructional videos to review.

 In the Ciril Hitz video he holds the lame with the "c" of the curve away from him, tip closest to his body, as I do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QdzHuhJ-ls .

In this King Arthur video, you'll see Martin Philip use the lame the other way around, as you describe.  But in the beginning of the video, you'll see Jeffrey Hammelman alongside Martin use the lame as I do, and with the left hand.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaLnzomvEF8 .

Also, of note is that Martin does not overlap the preceding cut by a third, rather much less.  After watching the KA video I tried to use the lame the way that Martin demonstrates, just for comparison sake, but found that it didn't feel "right" to me.

A double edged blade is exactly what you see in both videos.  It is the quite old, at this point in time, style of a shaving razor blade.  In moving cross country I lost my real lame holder and opted for a jeri-rigged thin metal file to use as a lame holder.  It does the same job.  Please don't hold the blade directly in your hand.  You'll lose the curve and will guarantee yourself a quick trip to the medicine cabinet.

I hope this helps,

alan 

ww's picture
ww

Thanks for the reply and links. It's funny but i've never tried to cut my breads from the horizontal position (Philip Martin style). Have always cut them top to bottom (like the Ciril Hirtz video). I suppose when these bakers are faced with hundreds of baguettes about to be loaded, it might make sense to cut them standing by the side like Martin.

Re Hamelman, it was while searching for something in his Bread book that I noticed the blade was held curved to the left!! hmm...

well, I guess there's no right or wrong way! whatever works!

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

looking baguettes, nicely handled.