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

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