The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Big thanks to Alfanso for help with Spring aka Bust and big ears

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Big thanks to Alfanso for help with Spring aka Bust and big ears

This is a quick shout out to Alfanso for his advice on my baguettes which I had spent ridiculous amount of time concentrating on flavor and inner structure.  My loaves (especially the commercial yeast loaves) would regularly spring well but almost never produce any burst and ear along the scores.  A few exchanges later and after watching his videos the last few bakes have improved each time.

Attached are some pics of the latest bake this time using Moulin D'Auguste T55 and T65 - 2 baguettes and 1 Batard from each of these two flours.  Seems the real key is just getting that blade in at the most shallow angle possible.

What's really interesting is that I usually create my own flour blend for baguettes which consists usually of 2% bob's redmill fava bean flour, >1% of Bob's soy flour and about 1-2% of wheat malt.  Without this, KA flour does not provide a super flavor profile.  The French flour differs from American flour and the first thing I notice is that it contains Malted Wheat flour whereas most american flours contain malted barley.  It seems impossible to find malted wheat here.  All the malts (diastatic or not) are barley. I have to go to beer brew supplie houses to get malted wheat.  What's up with that?  Why is wheat malt such a difficult product to find in american flours?  

For anyone who's ever been to France and had baguette de tradition knows that the flavor of their bread is so in-your-face good and it's really very difficult to find a bakery in here that even comes close to it.  No matter how much people brag that bakery X is good, it just never seems to equal!

As for this batch, pretty darn happy.  Tks Alfanso !  

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Wow!  Marquee billing.  How nice and a big thanks to you too.  The oven spring on the batards looks really great, and first time I've seen them.  

I just noticed something in your photo that I don't think was discussed before.  In the background it is difficult to see clearly, but it looks as though you have a gas cooktop.  Which generally means a gas stove as well.  If this is so, that may be a culprit for not getting better oven spring and any increased gelatinization on the surface.  

It has been pretty well documented around TFL that gas ovens have significantly more efficient oven venting than electric ovens.  In order to minimize the potential for a nasty accumulation of gas inside the oven box itself, they are designed to vent more than electric ovens do.  Therefore, it is difficult to retain as much steam inside the box.  Now, this may not be a problem that you have, or have found a way past it.  But if I'm seeing it correctly and you do have a gas oven, the problem of retaining steam inside the box is a know issue.

I wanted to float that thought here to see where you stand on it.  

alan

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Well sure, gotta appreciate the help especially when it's pretty clear this guy knows his stuff and has a command of baking.  When baking is done well it's a different league entirely and crap baking is just crrrrrapppp!  so yeah, much appreciated and tks again :)

You are correct and funny because I was watching your bouabsa video (that is you right?) and was thinking that it must be tough with an electric oven but this is news to me.  I've never really taking my hobby beyond my own little private world so I had no idea that steam retention in gas oven is more challenging than electric.  I just assumed gas was superior.  But alas it makes sense in fact (as pointed out in a former post remarking on 'wall spritzing) I can see plumes of steam escaping immediately if 'spritz' and so gave up on that long ago.  With all this new information however, I have been using rocks and despite your advice, have yet to dispose of the large aluminum pan to cover my loaves.  Since it's so much work to get to the deck (2 hours proofing and mixing, 6-12 hours cold ferment, preshaping, shaping, etc etc), I'm hesitant to see if the lava rocks work without the pan over th eloaves.  I'm beginning to think I can however ditch the pan and reason is the batards.  They were done on the lower rack with no pan and they really exploded open so I'm beginning to think the environment with the rocks is sufficient even with the venting you mention.  

In short, yes, it's  a gas oven and it absolutely does vent like crazy but the recent rocks seem to be a big help.

Another thing, just as an FYI, this is the first time I have used authentic french flour and boy is the difference apparent.  I was adjusting mixing times based on this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkHsbchF2-g which calls for a final mix of 3 minutes on high speed.  With King Arthur flour, 3 minutes is not nearly enough for good gluten development, it's more like 6 minutes (using a kitchenaid).  With the french flour, 3 minutes and bam, the smoothest most beautiful window pane I've ever seen - see attached.

If anyone is interested, this flour is available at www.lepicerie.com - the guy Phillippe who runs the show is great.  Shipping is expensive but worth it if you love good bread. 

So yeah, great observation.  I think I'm ready to try without the pan and thanks again Alfanso - great to have another baguette enthusiast and guru :) 

See images attached, window pane test, immediately after 4, 8, and 3 minutes machine kneading then after initial rise of 1 hour.  The dough is like lava.  Very subtle !

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I watched it twice.  His bags are magnificent and I really like his final shaping method.  Between my Italian and Spanish I could pretty much get most of the printed instructions on the screen.  I notice is that he bakes at an extremely high temperature, 280dC = 535dF.  But I love his dark crust.

As you can imagine, once you get the methodology down, you should be able to feel the dough in the mixer and determine when it has mixed enough without over mixing and without doing a windowpane test.  Although it is fun to do and get a really good thin membrane just to have that raw satisfaction.  Your mixed dough has that lovely glistening silky sheen to it.

Yes that's me on the Bouabsa video, two years ago.  I've changed a few things around since then as that was still somewhat early in my home baking experiences.  And if you didn't come across it, here is what some of my earliest baguettes looked like less than three years ago.  As pitiful as they come, but we all had to start somewhere.

As far as may own flour preferences, I so far still stick with the U.S. supermarket "standards", Pillsbury or Gold Medal AP, Bread and WW.  I suppose that I'd get some better results with the fancier stuff, and maybe I'm missing out on a whole other level of dough satisfaction, but up to now, I'm content with where I am in this little world of baking shenanigans that we do.

PS - Two very long term friends (>50 years should qualify!) are the only ones I've ever rubbed elbows with who I'd consider gurus.  They both stand head and shoulders way above the crowd.  I'm content just knowing that I'm on the right track for myself and occasionally able to help others on TFL.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Those early baguettes are amazing I guess I gotta figure out this site and find some more recent pics (bit of a funky site ... Design-wise). Relatively speaking you gotta know they are good for early stages especially considering how many videos there are on YouTube of home bakers posting authoritative lessons on their version of the worlds greatest bread right? I get a kick out of some of them especially when they use rolling pins and then brag about the finish product showing just normal rise and really blanched interiors. However its interesting when I first started trying bread, just plain loaves it was brick after brick and some of those simple recipes seemed like magic. Just goes to show just how much room for improvement there is. I think bread is just one of those things that defies the laws of physics, biology, art and science etc !

kendalm's picture
kendalm

He will reply to you if you email him. Cool dude. Yep despite it all in French a little knowledge of any romance language goes a long way. Fortunately I studied years of French and got to travel quite extensively as a teen for my sport and would often take little (unauthorized) field trips many of which were in smaller towns in France and became a bit of a Nutter smuggling baguettes back to USA and then freezing them as a quasi effort to extend the pleasures of the trip. Side note on his video. Note that he does a single turn of the mixer after one hour of ferment. This is basically a 'rabat' or French fold so you can with just turn your mixer or in your case (b'coz I know you go manual) just do a French fold at that point. Btw I did read your do's and don't and know you skip window pane. I agree its just a satisfaction step. For the record I think Louis cold ferment develops better flavors than a poolish based bake. It seems counter intuitive but as of now I love this method and will push the cold ferment to more like 12 hours...still trying to find some more recent alfanso pics :)