The Fresh Loaf

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Baguette Tradition - needing help with my crumb :c)

seriously5.0's picture
seriously5.0

Baguette Tradition - needing help with my crumb :c)

I use a levain and poolish. I understand to get them fed and active and to use them in the dough recipe at the right time.

I understand the concept of strengthening the gluten so it holds in the gas. I have been achieving this through folding rather than kneading.

I understand the concept of handling the dough gently so as not to burst the gas bubbles.

I understand the concept of autolyse. I let the dough rest at the proper times.

I have been proofing my loaves at room temp.

I understand the concept of using preheated baking stones and introducing steam in the first 10 mins of baking to achieve a crisp crust and to allow steam to escape. My crust turns out nice and crisp every time.

The problem is my crumb. I get a doughy crumb. I am not seeing the big gas bubbles turn into big holes. My dough is wet which is good, but it is so wet the loaves go everywhere even when you use a board to transfer them out of the couche. 

My theories?

1. I think perhaps I need to use fresher flour. I am ordering 00 flour online but perhaps it has been sitting on some shelf for a while. 

2. I wonder if my gluten is not strong enough. Could this be because I am not mixing the dough well enough? Should I use a stand mixer and really let the dough hook go to work on it?

3. I wonder if the lack of mixing well also affects the crumb.

4. I wonder if the proofing needs to be done at higher temp.

5. I wonder how much flour I can use during the shaping process so my loaves are not as droopy and sticky. I have been trying to not use much at all so the dough stays wet. But maybe if the gluten is strong enough I could use some flour to handle them easier? Is there a point in the process where I can be more aggressive with the flour on my hands and work surface?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in the dough. Try using less water for your flour.  Got any pictures?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It is impossible to address your concerns without knowing the formula and procedures you used. And photos of the baked baguettes and the crumb would help a lot too.

Pending those, one thought: You say you are using 00 flour. If that is Italian low-protein flour, and you are using a formula written for American or Canadian flour, the hydration is going to seem much higher than it is meant to be.

So, the main "suspects" from the information you did provided are:

1. Excessive hydration

2. Inadequate gluten development.

3. Under-fermented dough. (Weak levain, too little time, or combination)

4. Poor shaping (didn't form a supportive gluten sheath)

5. Proofing without good lateral support for the loaves. 

6. Possible over-proofing.

7. Problems with baking - Less risk with baking on a well pre-heated stone and providing adequate steam for the first part of the bake. Too high baking temperature, so the crust is done before the interior.

These are by no means mutually exclusive, so your problem may be due to any combination of the above.

David

seriously5.0's picture
seriously5.0

1. Excessive hydration > both of you mentioned this. My first inclination is to say hydrated is supposed to be better. But  I get that the actual formula matters. I have been trying recipes that are supposed to be good ones, i.e., in Flour,Water,Salt,Yeast book and various other researches I have performed online. I think I need to re-visit the concept of making sure the hydration is correct for the flour. Do you have a chart for this? like what formulas for different flours?

2. Gluten development > I plan to knead more next time. I have been using a no-knead folding method but I think I need to knead. :c)

3. Fermentation > i don't think this is it, I allow ample time to ferment and it smells very fermented

4. Shaping > I know how to shape, but the gluten is the problem i think

5. Lateral support > I use a couche well

6. Over-proofing > I check for the finger press test so as not to over or under proof

7. Baking temp > it's possible my temp is too high but I lean toward a "no" on this. People use brick ovens at 1000 degrees F all the time to make bread/pizza

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

There is no effective chart for hydration. I would check the protein content of the flour and if it is less than 14% use less water. It is easier to get things right at a lower hydration and then gradually increase. What is your current formula?

Depending on how actually you are folding, there should be no problem developing gluten structure and strength. Can you get a good window pane  from your dough. If youyr dough is as wet as you say it is, I think kneading is going to be very difficult.

The fact that pizza can be baked at a very high temperature does not mean that all breads can be baked at the same temperature. Do you have a thermometer to measure your oven temp?

seriously5.0's picture
seriously5.0

I am currently using 00 flour with 12.5% protein. Any advice on where to order good flour please let me know.

The process/formula I used on the most recent batch is here: https://www.chefrachida.com/perfect-baguette/ 

But I have had the same issues come up with other recipes. 

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

I find that recipe a little odd, in the use of a rye leaven. So rye is almost 17% of the flour. In my mind, that's a lot to be expecting a very open crumb, although it will add flavour. And the photos in that recipe do not show a very open crumb either.

The hydration is actually quite low -- 64%-- so I am at a loss.

As you say that you have the same problem with other recipes, I guess it could either be the gluten development or the oven temperature. No more advice to offer, I'm afraid.

seriously5.0's picture
seriously5.0

oh i did not use the rye

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I am struck that the formula is for a 64% hydration dough. Classic baguette hydration is generally in the 70-72% range. That said, I have made sourdough baguette with 65% hydration that had a very airy crumb.

See formula here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16573/curmudgeon-proth5-baguettes

12.5% protein in your flour is high for classic baguettes, actually. Note that when you have higher % gluten, you need a longer mix to develop it fully. Actually, what I would do is use AP flour, as called for in the recipe you are using. KAF AP is 11.5-11.7% protein. 

As for mixing, you should be able to do this by hand. I use a "stretch and fold in the bowl" technique. 

Photos of your loaves and crumb would still be helpful.

If I were you, I would try another formula that is well-known on TFL and reliable. Examples include:

San Joaquin Sourdough Baguettes

Anis Bouabsa ficelles

Baguette Tradition after Phillip Gosselin

Philippe Gosselin's Baguettes

David

 

 

seriously5.0's picture
seriously5.0

Last night I made the Anis Bouabsa formula with 500g AP flour, 375g water, 10g salt, 1/2 tsp commercial yeast. This time I wanted to knead the dough long enough to achieve the window pane effect with the gluten. I slap folded this dough hundreds of times over a 3 hour period at least. It did get better and better but it never got stretchy enough to do the window pane test very well. I went ahead and put it in the fridge. Will bake it up tonight and see what happens. I'm disappointed after all that effort, sore wrists and arms, the gluten did not get to the consistency i was hoping. Why??

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I know many like it, but the slap and fold technique has never made sense to me. For hand-mixed doughs, I used what I call "stretch and fold in the bowl." Hamelman describes this well in the second printing of "Bread." I can't find it in the 2nd edition. Mark Sinclair had a video of the technique, but he apparently took it down. I may have to make one myself. <sigh>

A reasonable substitute would be a longish autolyse (1-2 hours), then 3-4 S&F's during Bulk Fermentation. If that doesn't give you good gluten development, you have some other problem.

David

seriously5.0's picture
seriously5.0

The only variable i can think of would be the freshness of the flour? Possibly sat on the shelf a while before they mailed it to me, i dont know .. i've tried a couple different kinds of flour i have on hand, both supposedly of high quality for bread making.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Look at the starter.

Have a look at  those pesky thiol compounds in the site search box.  A build up in the starter can lead to a starter that liquifies, and consequently dough that liquifies more than what would be expected.  Good news is, it can be cured.  

seriously5.0's picture
seriously5.0

Thank you .. i will definitely look into this.