The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Emile Henry baguette recipe- really wet dough

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

Emile Henry baguette recipe- really wet dough

I used a baguette recipe found on Emile Henry's website that did not require the dough to be risen. I figured they knew more than I did about using their baguette baker so I followed their directions.  Here is the recipe:

1 3/4 cup warm water

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tbsp. honey

2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. wheat gluten

4 – 4 ½ cups high protein bread flour

2 Tbsp. instant yeast

Preheat oven and the baguette base to 400°F degrees.

Place warm water, oil, honey, salt and gluten into the bowl of an electric mixer or into a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients on low speed and allow ingredients to blend together (about 1 minute). 

Add about 2 cups of flour and then yeast. Turn speed up to a low/medium and add another cup of flour. Mix for another minute and then add remaining flour, adjust speed to medium and mix for another 4-6 minutes. 

Once the dough has been thoroughly kneaded, immediately take it out of the mixer, divide it into 3 equal pieces, and shape into baguettes. 

When the oven is at 400F, carefully take the base out of the oven, sprinkle each cavity with all-purpose flour (the more the better) and place the shaped dough onto the hot base. 

Make 3 shallow slashes on each baguette and then cover with the lid and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes. If you want more color on your bread, remove the lid and bake for an additional 5 minutes.


I need help figuring out what went wrong. 

1. I rested the dough for 10 minutes after adding 4 cups of flour. At first, I used only 4 cups of flour, but the dough was very liquid in the mixer so I added the other 1/2 cup. After the Ankarsrum stopped the kneading process, I let it rest for a few minutes. I couldn't shape it until I added more flour, even though I used the full amount the recipe called for. I probably added an additional 1/2 cup of flour, or more, while trying to shape the baguettes. The recipe did not require time to rise according to Emile Henry's website, so I hoped for the best.

2. I took the lid off after 35 minutes instead of 45 minutes. Then I let it brown 5 minutes longer without the lid. I had used a Chef Alarm last week to test the high and low temps of my oven while set at 400°F, so I knew my oven ran hot. I had my oven set at 375 instead of 400, but it still went to 415° a couple of times. The average stayed around 400-410°F actual temperature. The bread had a very hard crust. It was very crunchy and way too dark. Overcooked, for sure, with a burnt taste. 

3. The dough was so soft that I couldn't score the baguettes after I had put the first one on the preheated base. I tried to score the rest before putting them on the base, but it still didn't work. When trying to score them, they pulled up and stretched out.

My questions:

1. Since the dough had not risen, is that why they would not score, or is it because the dough was too wet?

2. Since 375° didn't work, should I set my oven to 350°F next time?

3. Is it better to use less heat and bake the bread longer? I know baguettes are supposed to have high heat though.

My oven is so screwed up, and it has been this way since I bought it. The top oven (gas) can't be used at all because the gas flame keeps blowing itself out and relighting, so we had to stop using it. The bottom oven (electric) has a screwed up broiler that keeps coming on when it shouldn't which causes the oven to be too hot. It can be from 25-50° off. Every time I test the high and low temps at 400°F, I get a different result because of the broiler. 

Oscillation  at 350°F  =  346-401°F.    Avg = 373.5°F.        Offset 23.5° (set temp to 326.5° to get 350°.)

Oscillation at 375°F =     370-415°F    Avg = 392°F           Offset 17°  (set temp to 358° to  get 375°.)

Oscillation at  400°F  =  404-452°F.   Avg = 428°F.            Offset 28°  (set temp to 372° to get 400°.)

 Oscillation at 400°F =   375-408°F.   Avg= 390.5°F           Offset 16.5°  (set temp to 383.5° to get 400°.)

I are thinking we should just get it fixed. We have paid many, many repairmen to fix it, but they just charge us for the service call ($270.00-350.00), tell us they will order the parts, and then they never call us back. When we call them they say either they will get back to us, or they say they can't fix it.  Now it is 6 years old. It was still under warranty when the problems started happening. American Range mailed us several boxes of parts in the last 6 years, but they couldn't find a repair company to do the work. Now the warranty has expired and we are still trying to get it repaired. American Range will not respond to us at all.  Lesson learned....we will never buy American Range again.

So I don't know what temperature to put my oven on because it is always changing due to the broiler problems.

I honestly didn't think the baguettes would rise at all, but they did. The flavor was really good, but that crust was too hard. 

Dinner tonight was very crunchy baguettes with Cullen Skink which I fell in love with while visiting Scotland. Scotland's restaurants make Cullen Skink better than I do because I can't find smoked haddock, but it was still good. 

Any thoughts or suggestions? I thought I would use Emile Henry's recipe since it was the first time I had used their baguette baker. They had 2 or 3 baguette recipes so I will try a different one if I ever figure out what temperature to set my oven on. Thanks for any advice.

Danni3ll3's picture

turned out as well as they did considering you didn’t bulk ferment or or proof the dough! I am not familiar with the baker you used but was there any steam involved in baking these baguettes? Were they covered for the first part of baking or did you use  some other way of steaming them for the first bit? If you didn’t, that would explain your hard crust. The steam makes for a nice thin crackely crust. 

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

I know! I thought they would not rise. The Emile Henry is made of burgundy clay so it steams inside with the lid on for the first part of the baking process. (After 35 min) They looked great in the oven picture. Once I took the lid off, they got really dark. The pictures of the finished loaves don't look that dark, but they were. Time vs temperature seems to be an issue, plus my oven problems.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

what might have gone wrong with the dough is to get a gram scale and measure all the weights.  Use the same cup measuring tools and weigh the ingredients. Then post the gram amounts.  We might be able to make sense of the dough.  As you measure out each cup of flour, write it down, they can vary greatly so don't multiply a single measurement.

compare to total water of 420g.   Total bread flour of 585g.   Which comes out to 71% hydration. 

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

Mini oven, the only thing I weighed was the flour. I used 498g flour to start with, then added the rest which totaled 560g. It was still too liquid, but I poured it onto a floured silicone mat. Then I used a scraper to try to knead it more, but I had to add flour that I forgot to weigh, so, I have no idea how much I added. It was still very sticky when I put it into the Emile Henry baker. I usually weigh everything, but I just forgot to do it this time. 

kendalm's picture

Ie do you want to bake a baguette or a different tyoe of bread shaped as a baguette.  Reason i ask is that this recipe is a far stretch from a typical baguette and is rather complicated.  So, if its the recipe that attracted you then good luck otherwise i would recommend a simple flour, water, yeast amd salt recipe (with much much less yeast - that recipe calls for a ton of yeast).  The magic of baguette is perfecting simplicity ! 

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

No, I don't care which recipe I use for baguettes. I was just curious if the Emile Henry recipe would work without the rising time. Now that you mentioned it, it was probably the huge amount of yeast that allowed it to rise at all. I always use manufacturer's recipes at first. I think some websites are given free items if they develop a recipe for that item. So the recipes are probably not ALL great recipes. I think I will stick to bread cookbook recipes and the real bakers' recipes on this website.


kendalm's picture

The answer is an emphatic no.  You want a baguette to bake fast and hot.  Ideally 18-20 minutes at around 450f (hence your thick crust and tight crumb) 

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

Ok, thanks. I will try again with the temperature at 450°F.    They said the recipe was designed for home ovens....

I think I will experiment with the time, also. 

Patti Y's picture
Patti Y

I tried a new recipe today. Sun-Dried Tomato baguettes. Flavor was wonderful, but it burned again before the time was up. 

I had too much dough for the baguette pan so I shaped the extra dough into a small boule.  I preheated my oven for almost 2 hours to see if I could regulate it better by being on longer. I used the Emile Henry baking pan, covered, for the baguettes.

Supposed to bake at 400°F for 35 minutes, but I used 375°F. I set the timer for 25 min, and they were slightly burned on the bottom and not baked on the top when the timer went off. I uncovered them to brown the top. Oven temperature showed high and low between 325-450°F.

The extra dough was baked on a pizza stone, covered with the baguette lid. When I sprinkled corn meal on the pizza stone, it immediately started smoking, so I knew the boule was not going to be good either. I checked it after 20 minutes, and almost the entire boule was burned with the lid still on. Oven temperatures went from 311°F to 489°F. So this one baked 20 minutes, not 35. 

I just need to give up until I find someone to fix my ovens. Best tasting bread I have made, but it's not pretty!