The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Video: Baking the Hamelman Pain au Levain with mixed SD starters

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Video: Baking the Hamelman Pain au Levain with mixed SD starters

Yes.  I know.  I've posted these before.  But I decided to post a video of baking these lovely baguettes from the time that they come out of retard until they come out of the oven.  Less than a 4 minute investment of your time if you care to watch it.

Baking Jeffrey Hamelman's Pain au Levain w/ mixed levains










alan

Comments

zachyahoo's picture
zachyahoo

Alan! Very helpful! Thank you : )

Were those baguettes retarded in the fridge? They look SO easy to score! NO tearing at all..

alfanso's picture
alfanso

The schedule for these had bulk ferment complete yesterday ~4PM.  Retarded until ~7:30 AM this morning when they were divided, shaped, couched and put back into the refrigerator.  They came out of the refrigerator ~2PM and went directly into the oven.  

As an aside - I don't temp the mix or dough at any stage nor do I bench proof the dough.  My kitchen environment is a very stable 78-80dF and I know what the dough wants, so to speak.  If I'm using a levain directly from the refrigerator for the mix, I use much warmer water.  After a while you get to know your own environment requirements and it is all somewhat rote.

The cooler dough definitely helps, but with a good taut skin and proper scoring technique the blade should just about never drag.

alan

Pletynka's picture
Pletynka

What temperature in the oven? 

Retarded in fridge?

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Oven temp is 465dF after ~45 minutes at 500dF warm-up.  Steamed for 13 minutes.   The baguettes were done another 13 minutes later, but I like a darker finish so they stayed in another 2 minutes for a total bake time of 28 minutes.  The batard remained by itself for another 3 minutes and then was vented for two minutes more.

alan

Pletynka's picture
Pletynka

The baguettes look fantastic!!! Thanks for the info

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Your bread always looks so amazing!!!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Baking is such a fun, and tasty, hobby.  What I really enjoy and strive for is trying to be consistent from batch to batch.  I think that I'm pretty well there at this stage.

alan

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

I really enjoyed watching the video.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

It was a pretty easy video to make, especially since my better half was responsible for manning the camera.  I made it in kind of a response to zackyahoo's interest in my baguettes.  As long as I was baking them the following day, I figured to would be fun to do and to post.

alan

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

pictures but they are really tiny little things in the video.  When I saw them I thought my bread sticks were bigger round than those baggies:-)  Now I see why you make so many - a couple of bites and they are gone!  Seriously they are always finely crafted and look so appetizing with the well baked crust , blisters and shine.  Who wouldn't and to eat one of them?

 Well done and happy baking Alan

alfanso's picture
alfanso

preparing a set of pickup stix for game night.

Thanks.  I strive for that consistent bake from one formula to another and I am getting there.  Except when you steer me off the rails with a ridiculous request/challenge for something like 150% hydration grissini!

alan

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Your baguettes look fantastic and I like your video. I am interested in getting the tiles for the oven( like yours).

I used pizza stone for my bake but it is too small . I can only put two baguette or one round loaf(from the round bread basket ).  Where did you you purchase it from? It gives a lot more spaces to bake with.

Thank you.

Thaichef.

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Hi,

Thanks for the kind words and watching the video.  The baking deck for my oven is composed of what in The U.S. is generally called Mexican Saltillo paving tiles and they are quite common here.  Those I have are unglazed tiles.  In order to have them fit across the entire oven rack I had to have them cut down.  They usually need to be cut with what is called a "wet saw".  

The tiles will crack over time, so if you need to install and remove them from your oven again and again, they may not be a solution for you.  Mine live in the oven on that baking rack, but if needed I remove the entire rack with them in place rather than try to take the tiles off individually and then have to "jigsaw puzzle" them back into place later.

They are typically found in Home Improvement and tile stores.  Here is a link to what they look like - https://www.flooranddecor.com/saltillo-tile/super-sealed-saltillo-tile-915100333.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjwjoC6BRDXuvnw4Ym2y8MBEiQACA-jWbA5Olq37ZCxr-zBg5M2Ia...

alan

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Good Morning Alfonso:

Thank you so much for your quick reply.  Your answer made my day!

 I actually live in Va. in an area called Smith Mountain lake. Not very far from Greensboro( if that is where you live).  I will very quickly have the tile install.  My baguette has never looks like yours but reading into all the comments which you posted on the subject help me understand that the long retardation and cold bread help.

 I used the name of Thai-chef because I am Thai and teach a cooking school which is mostly Thai food. I did teach simple breads and last Nov. taught a two days sourdough breads. I don't have any sourdough culture left at the moment because I went away to Thailand and Myanmar for two months and discarded my starter. Will have to get back to it again and soon.

Your video helps "jolt" me into getting back to it very soon.(Just got back less than 4 weeks.)

Thaichef 

 

 

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Hi TC,

No I don't live in the Mid-Atlantic.  I'm down in So FL.  To address issues with starters, here are a few well worn things that you can do when you travel for any length of time.

Refresh a stiff starter just before you go away.  Store it in a covered container with a sheet of plastic wrap adhering tightly to the starter surface, and place it in the depths of your refrigerator.  It will last for months.  I refresh my stiff starter every 3 months or so.

Back that up with a three pronged (and Freudian anal) approach as follows... 

  1. You should always have a backup of your old, prior to refresh starter stored away anyway - just cleave off a chunk of it before refresh, seal it in plastic wrap, and then leave it around as your emergency backup just in case your refresh doesn't work.  Once you know your most recent refresh was successful, discard the old chunk.
  2. Take a chunk of it and slip it into an airtight freezer bag and store it in the freezer to be revived later.
  3. Slather a very thin layer of starter on something like parchment paper.  Allow it to dry completely.  Peel it off the parchment in little thin chips and store that away to be revived later.

Do one, some or all of these.  There are searches on TFL to instruct you how to revive a starter from dried chips.  After all, when folks mail order starter from a company or website, I believe that is how it is delivered.  The dried chips are also a great way to take a starter away with you to another locale or to give to someone else.

alan

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Hello Alan:

 Thank you for the above starter saving. I did save my starter using the thin layer on the parchment paper approach, dry it and save it in a small mason jar. Since I got back I tried to revived it , twice,  and it did not work.

Thank you kindly for all your advice.   

Thai chef.

joc1954's picture
joc1954

Thanks Alan for the great video. I found it today via the link in one of your recent posts. I really enjoyed watching it and learning how you are baking your fabulous baguettes, A short but so instructional video.

Happy baking Alan,

Joze

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Alan.. great video. I just saw it after you linked it on a recent post. You make it look easy! Question.. why do you remove the paper? Do you feel it helps in some way, or just to save it as it's not needed at that point of the bake? And it looks like you leave the lava rocks in - I guess they've evaporated all that water by the time you're pulling out the towel tray? Thank you for sharing!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

 instead of just a general in line comment.  Sorry for that...

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Two reasons for removing the parchment paper.  Regardless of how thin it is, I have the feeling that it acts as an insulator between the baking deck and the bread.  I also always rotate and turn the breads around.  Doing it on the parchment paper would be more arduous and I wouldn't easily be able to accomplish the rotating and turning if at all.

The lava rock pan lives on that lower shelf in the oven and "never" comes out.  I heat it up with the oven for the full pre-heat phase.  By the time I load the dough, the pan and rocks are ready to go to work, as can be seen by the bills of steam immediately produced.

The water in the pan is long evaporated by the time I stop the steaming process.  Even then, after I vent the oven, remove the Sylvia's Steaming Towel and rotate the breads, the oven vent continues to spew some residual steam from the moisture remaining in the dough.

"Parchment Farm"

alan

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Making your baguettes, loading up the oven with steam, and blasting 'parchment farm' in the background! :)  Thank's for the reply. Good information all around! I'll get myself some lava rocks at some point..

slohcooker's picture
slohcooker

Where can I find a link to this video? Is it still up? Thanks.

alfanso's picture
alfanso
slohcooker's picture
slohcooker

That's some glorious oven spring! And the crust almost looks like it's glazed. Is that from the super steaming you do? Have you done a bake without the lava rocks for comparison? I've tried a variety of steaming methods (except the lava rocks), and the best I've gotten is putting a mixing bowl over the baking stone, but the crust hasn't looked like yours.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

No glaze.  The steam provides the set-up for some great caramelization on the dough surface.  The lava rock method, especially combined with a Sylvia's Steaming Towel, really provides a fertile environment for the dough to expand.  Since adapting the lava rocks, a long time ago already, I've never baked without it.  I know that there are always tweaks and improvements out there, but this has proven to me to be a reliable enough method.  Goes back to the ol' "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

thanks, alan

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Alan, the dough in your video above is so easily handled and scored. You said it was retarded then scored and baked cold.

What is the hydration of this dough?

My scoring is progressing, but I’d be willing to bet if I scored your dough in the video, that I’d have a smile on my face when they came out of the oven. I have been focused on the condition of the dough, more so than the actual scoring as of late.

I want to make a dough like the ones in the video, and give that a try.

Danny

alfanso's picture
alfanso

doughs, this one comes in at a relatively low 68%.  It contains 8% each of WW and Rye flours.

For the most part, and with few exceptions, the scoring that is on the video is basically the same for everything that I bake.  What I mean is that the scoring is no more or less difficult for me on other doughs, wetter or drier.  But I'll also state that a lot of the scoring success is also related to a good pre-shape and final shaping as well.  I'm seeing the dough score better when the shaping is more "correct".

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress,

alan

sdorst's picture
sdorst

Alan,

What do you dip your lame in when you are scoring the baguettes? Does doing this help to prevent tearing?

Thanks,

Stan

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Hi Stan,

Wow! I can't believe that it is almost three years since I posted the video.  Man, I must be getting old fast!

When I first started out baking baguettes I just had the feeling that the oil would act as a lubricant so, yes, hopefully to prevent tearing.  just the slightest bit on only the cutting tip of the blade.  For these past few years, I just do it more out of habit and for old time's sake than anything else.  I guess I think of it as a bit of an insurance policy.  My feeling is that "if it works, don't fix it, unless I think that I can improve on it".  Since my scoring is pretty good, it is unlikely that any change will improve it much, so I'll settle for old habits.

Thanks for watching the video and commenting.

alan