The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to get perfect big holes in a baguette ?

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Boulanger's picture
Boulanger

How to get perfect big holes in a baguette ?

Hi everyone,

I am a beginner and I need your help. I just baked some baguettes from Peter's Reinhart Bread Baker Apprentice recipe for french bread . It was my 3rd attemp and they have looked and tasted very good every time but I never achieve to get those typical large holes you find in artisan baguette. I suspect they  develop during the first or the second fermentation (proofing) or maybe during both. I followed the book instruction at the letter but there is probably something that I don't do correctly. Maybe I should leave my dough or my shaped baguette to ferment longer . What do you think ?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to The Fresh Loaf.   Big bubbles huh?   Well I can think a few ways.  One would be to see if you can  still handle the dough (make it just the same) but with a little less flour.  The other, and very important is that once your dough has Doubled or proofed for the first time, handle it VERY gently, like try not to pop any bubbles.  Stretching gently and folding ever so gently and letting the dough proof again will also help.  Try not to over work the dough.  Good luck! 

 

suave's picture
suave

All others being equal you need to steam and bake on a stone to get more open structure.

holds99's picture
holds99

Boulanger,

Welcome to TFL.  Baguettes will definitely test your patience and endurance.  As usual, Mini Oven is right-on regarding careful handling of the dough.  Don't fall into the trap of adding too much flour when kneading (Been there, done that).  You want a rather slack (tacky) dough.  Here's a link, which I found helpful. 

http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/free/baguette.html#

At the bottom of this PBS web page, under the heading Prime Video Cuts, there's 2 videos by Danielle Forestier (with Julia Child) where Ms. Forestier demonstrates making baguettes.  She doesn't use a fermentation process, like Reinharts uses, but you may pick up some tips on handling and shaping the dough from her demo.  Also, King Arthur (Bakers Catalog) on their website offers some videos: I purchased The Bakers Forum, Artisan Breads and Ciril Hitz' Simplified Bread Baking: Baguette to Pretzel videos, which I found helpful and may help you better understand the process.  Good luck.

HO