The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First attempt at Baguette

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

First attempt at Baguette

I am sure I did nearly everything wrong - but I gave it a good try.  I also think I should have stuck with normal flour for my first several attempts (I've read several recipes that say to use AP rather than bread flour - not sure which is right) but I mixed half bread flour and half freshly milled hard red spring wheat.

I didn't get hardly any spring - the slits barely opened up.   I tried to get steam by putting boiling water in a metal cup at the  bottom of my oven and I also misted water in the oven space a few times for the first 10 minutes or so.  

I've been reading that the secret to getting oven spring is putting the bread in the oven when the yeast is at its peak activity - and my yeast was pretty tired when this went in the oven.  That's because my baguettes were flattening out when the yeast was really active.  I had left them shaped in the fridge all night (hardly any rise at all in the fridge - I think my yeast is too old) and then warmed them up to room temp this morning and got a lot of rise but it just spread out flat.  So I reshaped them and this time they held shape but the yeast didn't seem to be nearly as active.   

Well ... I'll keep reading and practicing and hopefully I can have a more successful attempt soon :) 

 

fzinger's picture
fzinger

Not bad for a first attempt.  That's about what my first try looked like. It took me a couple of times to get them even close to right.

Did you use a baking stone or steel?  That really helps with oven spring, especially a steel.  Also, I use a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and about 1 cup of hot water for steam.  You want a lot of steam for the first 10 minutes of baking.

This site helped me a lot when I was learning. http://www.chewswise.com/chews/baguette-traditional-fromartz-recipe

Using bread flour and reducing the water a bit will make it easier to handle the dough.  It won't give you as nice a baguette, but it is helpful while you're learning to shape and handle baguettes.

estherc's picture
estherc

I always use Fromarrtz's recipe for baguettes. 

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I have a steel ordered and should arrive Friday.  I had ordered the steel to experiment with pizza but it will be fun to see if I can learn to use it for bread.  I've always only baked bread in loaf tins so this will be very new to me.

I'll have to search for my long lost bottom rack - haha - I just set a metal cup of water (already boiling) at the bottom of the oven between the heating elements and I didn't see much steam at all -- so I was misting water a couple of times and that produces a short burst of steam.   I'll keep practicing and hopefully get the hang of things.

 

estherc's picture
estherc

I use the emile henry baguette baker and love it. I heat it in the oven as it preheats then put the baguettes into the hot baker. It gives an unbelievable crust, almost like a croissant. You can hear the crust crackle as it cools. 

 

https://www.emilehenryusa.com/Baguette-Baker-Burgundy-plu345506.html

fzinger's picture
fzinger

I do the same thing with a double dutch oven when I make boules.  Works great.  You can use a regular dutch oven, but the with a double dutch, you flip it upside down. That makes it easier to get the dough in and bread out without burning yourself.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000LEXR0K/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=153643973965&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17935964664743440253&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9008123&hvtargid=kwd-57048275130&ref=pd_sl_6v90zz6wn8_b

estherc's picture
estherc

the emile henri baguette maker is the only thing i know of that allows you to use the same method with actual baguettes.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Keep trying.  Please look at this recent posting about scoring and oven spring:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/comment/347920#comment-347920

For good steam, search for Sylvia's steaming towels and pans with lava rocks.  Tried and true methods for getting exceptional steam into an electric oven.  Gas ovens are a different beast because they are designed to vent super efficiently, hence loss of steam quite quickly.

alan

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

My electric oven has a small vent on the top.  You can see steam pouring out of this vent when baking bread (even if I didn't try to create steam - the steam from the bread will vent out here).    The user manual for the oven says: "This venting is necessary for proper air circulation in the oven and good baking results. Do not block oven vent"

Regardless of the warning in the manual, I'm thinking I should cover that vent so I can hold the steam in.  

alfanso's picture
alfanso

pouring out of the vent for minutes on end, even at the 13-14 minute mark when I release the remaining steam in the oven.  But because I create so much steam, the dough gets a superb steam bath treatment.  No spritzing of the dough or oven walls necessary.  And my oven spring and crust caramelization is generally really good.

You may want to do a search on covering up oven vents, because this was a topic here two years ago and likely earlier.  Need I tell you that if you get an oven fire or ruin the electronics in the oven circuit board or or or...you will not only have voided the warranty, but perhaps way worse put yourself or kitchen at risk.  Proceed at your own caution.