The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguette au levain

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Baguette au levain

Made some baguette au levain. So proud with the result. I followed a traditional french method, with autolyse, 20% levain and 0,2% fresh yeast (according to the french legislation you can call pan au levain to bread with levain + 0,2% fresh yeast maximum). Also used some active malt (0,02%) because my flour was not very strong and I was not sure if could resist a long bulk fermentation. This time I used 95% mexican local flour + 5% stoneground flour milled at home.

 

pmccool's picture
pmccool

It's easy to see why you are happy with these.  

Your comment about adding active malt because the flour is weak made me curious.  How does malt improve dough strength?  Or were you referring more to the yeast consuming most of the available sugar during the long fermentation?

Paul

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

You're right. It's to be sure that the dough will resist a long fermentation. It's an extra dosis of enzymes to be sure that bread will come out from the oven with a nice colour and crust.

yozzause's picture
yozzause

That looks very nicely done,  interesting that you used 95% Mexican local flour your Avatar profile has you  living in Barcelona!

kind regards Derek

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Hi friend. Yeah, I am from Barcelona but I live in Mexico since two years ago, Maybe I should change my profile hehehehe.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Wonderful crumb and good caramelization/coloration on the crust.  I love crust so the ratio of crust to crumb on baguettes is my cup of tea.  What's not to love about these?

What is your levain hydration?  And same question as Paul on the malt.

alan

old baker's picture
old baker

Will you post the complete recipe?

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

The method I followed was this:

Autolyse: 1 kilo flours (950 gr local mexican flour + 50 gr stonground flour) + 670 ml cool water. Mix 2-3 minutes slow speed and let rest 30 minutes. Then add 200 gr of mature levain and mix 4 minutes in slow speed. Then it's 4 minutes in high speed in which you add 0,2 grams of active malt powder, 2 grams of fresh yeast and 20 gr of salt. I add 50 ml of extra cool water in the last minute of the mixing process (bassinnage). Temperature of the dough should be around 23 and 24 ºC.

I let two hours fermenting at room temperature, then fold and keep in the fridge around 12 to 18 hours.

Next day, divide in 350 gr pieces, and preshape with the seam up. Let rest during 30 to 45 minutes. This helps to get the dough a warmer temperature. Then shape baguettes as usual and put over flour dusted linen cloth, with the seam up again. This makes a better expansion of the dough and as a result you get a more open crumb, from my point of view.

Finally bake in a deck oven, directly on the sole. Baking time should be around 22 and 25 minutes, at 240ºC with two-three seconds of steam.

I use malt powder to be sure that the dough arrives to the oven with an extra sugar reserve. This small quantity does not affect to taste and it doesn't darken the crust.

old baker's picture
old baker

I'm going to try this today or tomorrow.

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Maybe it's difficult to get this result at home. For better results, always work with professional tools.

old baker's picture
old baker

Abel, I just finished baking three loaves using your recipe.  Those are the best baguettes I've baked so far.  I found the dough a bit sticky and difficult to handle, but overcame that.  Only thing not up to my standard was that the crust wasn't as crusty as I would have preferred.  But that's probably my fault as I didn't spritz with or add a water tray.  But it has lovely crumb and great taste.  Fortunately, I now have a good supply of starter, so now I can easily tweak the details for future batches.

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Congratulations!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Those baguettes look great! Imwished I could taste them.

Able you mentioned, “Also used some active malt (0,02%) because my flour was not very strong and I was not sure if could resist a long bulk fermentation.” Maybe you can help me with extending fermentation. My favorite SD formula calls for a 16 hour (or as long as possible) bulk ferment with a dough temp of 77F (25C). I am able to go 16 hr, using one particular flour (every other flour I tried consistently fails) but as expected, the resulting dough is very weak. Your mention of diastatic malt got my attention. Should I consider malt? Have you any tips for extending ferments as described above?

Your breads are always gorgeous!

Danny

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Usually active malt is used in flour companies to balance wheat grains that come short in maltose, because of the humidity and the rain. So it's probable that your flour contains malt already and you don't know it.

The use of malt is very common in italian bakery. Traditionally italian flours were very weak and the use of malt was an imperative for working with biga (remember, 18-20 hours of maturation at 18-20 degrees celsius). Malt is an extra dosis of fermentable sugars for your dough. You use active malt to be sure that when you put your dough in the oven, there will be still an extra reserve of sugars, just in case it's necessary. So I use a small dosis, it doesnt interfere in flavour and in this small quantity I don't even reduce the oven temperature. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

really Frenchy you can add 2% fava bean or garbanzo bean flour to the mix!  Why the French will put Italian bean flour in their bread remains a dark secret and or mystery!  

Npo wonder Dan Baggs wanted to make your recipe.  The Baguettes turned out grand for sure.  Well done and happy baking Abel!

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Fava bean was used in french bread, specially some decades ago, up to 2% content on the amount of flour.

Fava bean flour, and also soy bean flour can improve the fermentation of the dough, providing sugars and nitrogen.It also acts on gluten, favoring the retention of gas. Fava bean and soy bean contains an an enzyme that acts on the oxidation of fats (lipoxygenase). As a result, you get better volume and whiter crumb. That's the main reason why some industrial bread contains these ingredients.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

for "authentic" french baguettes, but never with the explanation that you provided.  Okay, then.  I have a new item to add to my shopping list.

thanks for detailing that, alan

acamari's picture
acamari

I'm living in Mexico too, any suggestion on a specific (local) flour to try for this? I'm based in Monterrey.

Been using La Perla or Cisne de Oro, but I'm unsure why in my bread I always get a brown/pale crumb, yours looks pretty white.

thanks for sharing your baguette, looks awesome

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Which oven do you use? Maybe there's a lack of steam.

SeasideJess's picture
SeasideJess

Hi Abel,

Is your blog coming back? I was looking for some of your posts that are linked from your posts here on TFL, but the wordpress site is gone. 

Best wishes, Jess

acamari's picture
acamari

without convection (no fan), I cook a 'round baguette', which (to me) means:

- flour:

- - 90% mexican AP (cisne de oro) (suppossed 12% protein)

- - 7.5% wheat grinded by hand on a metal grinder

- - 2% broad bean grinded with wheat

- - 0.5% soy bean grinded with wheat + broad bean

 

- 0.5% dry yeast (no ascorbic acid)

- 2% salt (no iodized, 'sea salt')

- 64% - 70% water (depending on how much I can knead by hand that day...)

I let it rest at room temperature for about 6-12 hours.

 

Under a domestic oven I cook a (huge?) loaf of about 1.65kg @ 250C

(measured with a thermometer inside oven and located as near it can be to the dutch oven)

for about 2-2.25 hours... (because internal bread temperature takes that time to reach 97C)

 

any comments appreciated, thanks to all for this forum!

Farhan's picture
Farhan

Hi sir, that baguette was too awesome that I need some of your wisdom. I have tried research baguette technique and recipe numerous time but still didn't get to make a nice small and big hole in the cross section. One of things that I need know is to make a nice flour type combination, which is I had was T55 flour, Bread flour and AP flour. And also your shared recipe consist of 670ml cold water and you add 50ml more right? Which is in total 720ml, doesn't it hard to mix it till it become dough, mine was straight look like it doesn't hold together to be a proper dough? Do you have any tips for that? Thanks in advance.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Hi Farhan!

You might be interested to know that we are currently featuring baguette in our Community Bake.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/64622/community-bake-baguettes-alfanso

you are welcomed to join in and bake any baguette formula you wish.

Hope to see you there...

Danny

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Farhan,

Here is Abel's Baguettes au Levain formula as close to what he lists as possible. I made it here shortly after he posted this.  Caution - be aware that this is a wet and slack dough to work with. The formula below is true to his writeup.  If you make these. please post your results too. 

 

Abel's Baguette au Levain        
Abel Sierra         
          
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1950 Prefermented9.10%   
 Total Formula   Liquid Levain   Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%1102.4 100.00%100.3 Final Flour1002.1
 AP Flour95.00%1047.3 100%100.3 AP Flour946.9
 Strong Bread Flour5.00%55.1 0%0.0 Bread Flour55.1
 Water75.00%826.8 100%100.3 Water 
 Autolyse (93%)0.00%0.0 0%0.0 Autolyse(cool)675.6
 Final (7%)0.00%0.0 0%0.0 Bassinage(v cool)50.9
 IDY0.07%0.8    IDY0.8
 Diastatic Malt Powder0.02%0.2    Malt0.2
 Salt1.80%19.8    Salt19.8
 Starter (in final dough)2.20%24.3 24%24.1   
        Levain200.5
 Totals176.89%1950.0 224%224.7  1949.8
          
Autolyse Flour, Levain & 93% water.  20 Min.  1 stage liquid levain build @100% hydration
Levain, Salt, IDY, Malt, 10% Water (cool)  Stage 1    
FF: 150, 5min., 150   AP Flour100.3   
Bulk <2 Hr..  LF@50, 100.  Retard ~12 -15 hr total.  Water100.3   
Dough manageable but very slack throughout.  Starter24.1   
Moderate flour on couche   Total224.7   
Shape, seam side up on couche. dough wil be very slack & soft      
Pre-heat @500dF.        
Steam, bake @470dF.        

Edit: I had a calculation error and reposted the formula again.

Benito's picture
Benito

Alan, how do you think this recipe would work with a more manageable hydration of something like 68%?  I’m interested in trying a sourdough baguette with but only white flour or very little whole grain.

Benny

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, I expect Alan has hands on experience with your question. But I have some information that may help with your decision.

Today I am baking a tradition French baguette formula, KendalM’s recommendation. I was concerned about 73.3% hydration using all KA AP flour. I just shaped the dough and it was super nice to handle. I had to lightly flour from time to time but it wasn’t a big deal.

I also experience something today that works. I stretched the baguette out and when it fought back it was rested for 5 minutes or so. It is common practice but today I used it. The second stretch was a breeze and I’m shaping long, ~20”. I am starting to think “stretch out” rather than “roll out”. My focus is aimed at extension (stretching, elongating) rather than pushing downward and rolling out. We’ll see what happens soon...

Benito's picture
Benito

Dan is it the Team USA recipe that he posted in the CB or another one?  Once I get my flax linen couche and my starter rehabbed I do want to have another go at a sourdough baguette.  I really like the Anis Bouabsa IDY baguettes I made the second time I made baguettes and want to make a white flour only baguette.  Something about a good French baguette is just delicious to me.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

This one is different. No SD, 73.3% hydration, 0.3% CY, KA AP flour (recommended T65 French flour), 2% salt.

Boy! The KA AP at 73.3% was supple and smooth. It was a joy to handle, but required a little more finesse that Alan’s formula.

I have lowered the oven temp from 50lF to 450. We’ll have to wait and see...

Benito's picture
Benito

Dan I bet this one will have a thin crisp crust, something about a thin crisp crust just says baguette to me.  Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Eliminate the bassinage to avoid trying to initially mix a dough that may be a little too dry.  It's not much different than the Vermont SD just without the 10% rye.  

I'd stick with just an all AP flour rather than some higher protein flour.  You won't need it, even at 5%, but that's really your call.  Remember that if this were a Hamelman formula his version of "bread flour" is the 11.7% protein KA AP. Might want to drop the oven temp down to 460dF since these are less "wet", but you should know your own oven.

At 68% hydration, these should all be quite easily manageable.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks for the quick replies Dan and Alan.  This will be a future bake for me I think.

Benito's picture
Benito

Alan, sorry another question, you have levain listed twice in the formula steps, it is listed in both the autolyse and the bassinage steps, was that intentional?

alfanso's picture
alfanso

As of late, meaning for at least the past two years, I've been adding the levain at the autolyse stage rather than after the autolyse.  

Personally, I don't care what one calls it if the levain is added up front like that.  To me it's still an autolyse as the flour is hydrating before the mix.  I started because Mr. Hamelman does it when his many levains are at 125% hydration.

My older MO which was more typical was to add it with the salt.  A formula sheet oversight to be corrected on my own spreadsheet thanks to you.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you it makes sense.

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Hi friend, I would use the weaker flours I had. Only AP Flour would be OK with a very short autolyse (30 minutes is ok).

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Hello friends, I see lots of comments here.

Baguette is one of the most difficult and technical breads, so the main thing is practice, practice and practice.

Flour is a key aspect. Which kind of flour? White flour of course, not strong. What you are looking is extensibility.

And, what's extensibility? Let's say, what you have to avoid is that when you make the baguette, the dough shrinks.

So if you can get a weaker flour, will help with your baguettes. If you don't have a weak flour, autolyse can help.

A very important thing is temperature of the dough. As you know, if the dough is 26ºC or more, your dough will get strenght.

In the other side, if your dough at the end of the mixing process is around 23-24ºC, your dough will be relaxed, and that's what you need for baguette.

So the most important thing is the temperature of the water. Cool enough water to get a quite cool dough.

The rest is practice, practice and practice. Don't get obsessed with hydration. Around 70% is fantastic.

Abel Sierra, México.

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Abel, next week I’m hoping to bake your baguette recipe.  Do you usually proof to about 30% rise?

Benny

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Could be a fine thing, but I don't really look the %.

Farhan's picture
Farhan

I really went and research your method and recipe. But at first I just use 95%AP flour and 5%T55 flour, it doesn't get oven spring much eventhough the texture is actually good. Then I'm using 20%T55 flour, it turns out better than previous one.  Is it because every country flour is different?  Anyway the texture and taste, with every bite much better than what I make hereBaguette test

Farhan's picture
Farhan

I know this is asking too much, but maybe you can tell better method to improve this baguette, does malt really give that much effect? Cause I didn't put it since I use whatever in my hand, and malt is not one of them... or maybe something equivalent to malt effect to one you talk about. Or maybe I had wrongly shape, scouring, putting steam and maybe I need to proof more.

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

It looks pretty awesome. Malt is not a must, it helps to get the crust darker, and improves the spring in the oven.

I recommend you not to hydrate the dough more than 70-72%, it will be easier to manage and easier to score.

If I have made a long bulk fermentation and I have been gentle while shaping, I prefer to bake the baguettes in a short time, maybe after 30-45 minutes. 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I have not seen the claim about the importance of lower temperatures to develop dough extensibility or the increase in dough strength that is a consequence of BF at >26°C.  Is there any technical literature that explains why that is the case?  I would rather read about what somenbody else did than to develop the experiment design myself.

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

That's explained in many professional books, in all languages.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

But not necessarily true that there is any science behind it. So before I refer to it as "known fact" I need to either confirm somebody else has done a proper experiment or do it myself. No offense intended.  But I spent a long time trying to explain things on the basis of "facts" that were taught to me but were not true.  The result was predictions that did not predict.  And it took me a long time to unlearn, then re-learn what was supported by data and repeatable in my lab/kitchen.  So I am cautious with claims in the absence a repeatable a experiment.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

A continuation or page 2 of the CB baguette quest happening here. Abel is a fountain of knowledge in a concise manner although I am not necessarily nominating him as moderator to watch us beat around the bush. This looks like a good recipe for going further along the lines of a sourdough/yeasted version. Perhaps we should do it here. I have one mixed up very close to this and not sure what side of boat to land him in.