The Fresh Loaf

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Looking for feedback on baguettes

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

Looking for feedback on baguettes

I've been making baguettes the last few weeks, it is rather addicting.

Here is an image from the latest batch: https://i.imgur.com/Ep7YjWt.jpg

I used the poolish baguette recipe I found on this site: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/handbook/poolish-baguettes though for some reason i increased the hydration to 70%.  I also added some diastatic malt powder.

Some things I'd like to improve on:

window pane test, I can't seem to pass the window pane test.  I've tried kneading using a kitchenaid mixer, went as long as 15 minutes at speed 4 or so, no luck.  I've gotten slightly better gluten development using the french kneading technique (slap and fold), but the dough would still break down before what I would consider an adequate window pane.

The slashes on the dough don't seem to "bloom" well enough, I don't get the traditional "baguette ears".  I use a lame and do the final proof/ferment using a couche.  The baguettes proof with the seam side down, which may or may not be relevant.  I spray water into the oven every 5 minutes (about 10 squirts from a standard spray bottle0 for the first 10 minutes (so a total of three times, once when the baguettes go in, once at 5, and another at 10 minutes).  

shaping is a work in progress, I still get some odd shapes, but I think it will get better with time.

Any help with the above is appreciated.

 

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

Looks pretty nice to me. I wouldn't focus on passing the windowpane test for a baguette. Still, it's odd that it doesn't pass after 15 minutes. For very wet doughs, the hook on a KA doesn't do a very good job, but I don't remember if 70% is wet enough to produce that problem. I never use the dough hook.

The crumb looks pretty white...are you use bleached flour? Excessive mixing can also cause that.

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

it is bleached flour.

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

You should only use unbleached flour when baking bread.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

 you are on track to producing some really excellent loaves - to graysons point the window lane test is not that important it's more a ritual so yes typically your dough should exhibit elasticity but if you have the drill down it's not important to actually perform it - btw 15 minutes mixing is a bit extreme - a good mixing regimen is 8 on slow and about say 4 on high. As for bloom that's a challenge and gets increasingly difficult as loaf volume decreases which is why the baguette is such a formidable challenge.  blooming baguettes is proof you have absolutely maximized oven spring and that entails several factors one in particular is the amount of oven kick. that is to say that within just a few minutes of hitting the deck you want to infuse enough energy to burst the scores before it's too late and the crust has hardened. Typically that is the first 5 minutes of the bake. To put it into perspective, if you are watching your bake and don't see ears forming in 5 minutes you are sol. They will not form after that time so basically that is the window in which ears will form. Another factor is steam which will aide that first phase and help the crust open up. I am guessing from he photo you may be working with a bit too dry oven, steam will also tend to give a bit of sheen to the crust but keep in mind that too much steam is also a heat sink and will steal energy so it's a 'tightrope spud' (sorry trainspotting reference - had to do it). Of course another factor is final proofing times which i think you have down pretty well but just to emphasize - there is a point in proofing where the dough is a perfectly primed to spring up and rule of thumb is to never exceed even by a small amount of time of anything go in early let just say that 40 minutes of proofing at around 72f is pushing the limit. Here's a pic of some well elasticized dough and note that the window pane is formed by gravity here. That's the kind of elasticity that baguettes like - this is French flour so protein around 10%

 

kendalm's picture
kendalm

is that you video of the tumbling run ?

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

not sure what you're talking about

kendalm's picture
kendalm

how imgur (and most social networks) functions but when I hit that photo link some other material appeared below which I assumed as yours but apparently not - prolly click bait (so annoying they do that I was all excited I used to practically live in the gym and thought I found a member with gymnastics background)

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

oh yea, imgur is not really social media, its just a picture hosting site.

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

i never get that level of elasticity, not sure why.  the only reason i went up to 15 minutes of kneading was to see if more kneading would help.  i won't worry about it too much for now.

i got better results the other day.  this time i used a 66% hydration dough.  i mixed the dough the night before, did 1 hour of bulk fermentation and then stretched and folded the dough.  i then let it do a slow ferment in the refrigerator overnight.  the following morning i took the dough out for 30 minutes before dividing and pre-shaping, then followed the usual routine.  see some images below.

interesting note about the final proofing time, almost all recipes i've seen recommend 60-90 minutes of final proofing time.  i had another batch (after the batch pictured below, using almost the method except without the overnight proof.  i didn't get pictures of this batch) that did not achieve the same results.  i typically make six loaves but my oven can only fit 3. the first 3 seemed decent (but no baguette ears), but the second batch came out flat, it's almost like they didn't rise at all in the oven.  would that suggest this second set of baguettes were overproofed?

 

kendalm's picture
kendalm

The photo I dropped of the window pane is traditional T65 which is amazing for producing a really silky delicate and elastic dough so I wouldn't expect that your flour is similar especially considering it's really difficult (nearly impossible) to find outside of France. If you can tell us what flour you have that can help us guide you to ideal mixing and kneading (I suspect you are beating it up and actually passing the optimal gluten development) - until that's known I will say that contrary to some advice out there, baguettes work better with weaker flour around the 10% range and they taste beat with very modest kneading. Also a standard hydration is above 70% usually say 75% with American flours and closer to 72% with European (all of course subject to personal preference) but, lowering is always a good thing in the early stages as it allows more control as you hone in on shaping and scoring skills. As for 60-90 minute final proof that sounds more like a levain based regimen it really cold conditions for yeasted versions. You can bulk away to 24+ hours but final proofing is a critical step. Just speaking from experience (and also note I posted an over-proof 'proof of failure' a few months ago) you only need to go few minutes into the over-proof zone to totally ruin a bake but on the other end there's more room as fudge factor, ie 10 minute underproof will turn out much better then 10 minutes over. As for your second batch I venture to guess that's exactly what happened - you got a 20 minute bake going on meanwhile the waiting batch past it's prime and like I said its a tight rope spud! It's incredible how fast that line between proofed and completely useless your dough becomes. In cases like this you are better off reshaping the loaves that are waiting. Despite all that your bread looks really good you are heading down the right track no doubt about it.

 

Ps - on the window pane why don't you drop a photo of what it looks like - I think sometimes people get all caught up hoping for something that's just fine anyway maybe it's all good and you just expecting to see something else (it's hard to really give advice over he net and more photos the better)

 

 

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

here's a failed window pane, this is after 4 minutes or so of kneading with a kitchenaid.

also, i tried the overnight proof again in the fridge, i seem to get much better bloom, the last two times i've done an overnight, the bloom or baguette ears have been much better, i attached a picture of the latest batch.

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

I'm not sure I'd describe that as a "failed" windowpane. It's certainly not maximally developed, but there's a splotchy transparency and the tear might have been due to placement of that finger. It's possible that I might give it another minute or two in the mixer.

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

This is the flour I am using https://www.costcobusinessdelivery.com/Ardent-Mills-Harvest-Bread-Flour%2c-50-lbs.product.11849896.html

Though it was a 25 lb bag.  Not sure of it's gluten content.

It ran out and now I purchased https://www.costcobusinessdelivery.com/PFM-Power-High-Gluten-Unbleached-Flour%2c-50-lbs.product.11702787.html .  I'm pretty sure this one is 13%.