The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

FCI Liquid Levain Mini-Baguette (First Attempt)

mburns87's picture

FCI Liquid Levain Mini-Baguette (First Attempt)

I decided to try something new today and learn how to roll a baguette. I've been nervous about these because I don't have a couche, and because I've had nightmare experiences with moist doughs sticking to my peel as I try to load them into the oven.

This is the French Culinary Institute's liquid levain baguette recipe from Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking. I ran into a couple problems along the way: after final shaping and proofing, I noticed the baguettes were stuck to my work surface. Two I could save, two I had to reshape entirely because they were badly torn. Also had some trouble loading them into my smaller oven - one of the loaves bent a bit as I was shoving them off the peel. Also wish some of my scores had bloomed more.

It smells good, though!

 EDIT: Second batch looks much closer to what I expected!

BaniJP's picture

I think for your first baguettes they look great! Color and crust seem on point, especially on the second one.

Are you proofing them in a couche or towel (or something similar)? It helps keeping them in shape and if you flour it well, getting them off is no problem.

I would also recommend less scores that overlap more (like this), results in a better, more even oven spring. On those short baguettes 3 scores should be enough.

mburns87's picture

Thanks for the feedback! No couche - I thought I had one but was mistaken. That's definitely partly responsible for their unique character.

gavinc's picture

Before I had baker's linen, I used a floured cloth kitchen towel with good success. I make two 340g baguettes at a time that fit into my home oven on a pizza stone.  The picture is my baguettes with a poolish, a Hamelman formula.

BaniJP's advice on scoring is spot on.


alfanso's picture

Fantastic looking.


alfanso's picture

baking without a Dutch Oven or a banneton, then make a one time investment in a flax linen couche.  It will last for years and years if treated properly and it wicks away some surface moisture from the dough.  It will take a short time to be "seasoned" with flour which is always scraped off after each use.  Couches are generally considered to never be washed, just air dried and stored away for the next time.

If you do go the kitchen towel route, then steer clear of terry towels as your dough is destined to be adhered to the towel from time to time. 

foodforthought's picture

Your baguettes look fine. Who hasn’t had a surprise curve, dip or bulge in their baking past. Bet they tasted great.

I used to get corn meal or semolina all over the bottom of the oven when I baked directly on the stone. But now I place my final-shaped batards or baguettes on a piece of parchment sitting on the peel with a sprinkle of semolina, most of which is absorbed by the dough. Less mess. Less cleanup. Except for baguettes or epis, which I still final-proof in the couche, final rise is ON the parchment/peel. When baking multiple barches in sequence, I just set the second/third batches to final-rise on parchment but off peel, then slip the peel under parchment to move into the oven at the appointed time. Multi-year supply of parchment (2 rolls) from Costco for ~$10. You can order precut sheets for standard 1/2 sheet (18”x13”?) pans from Amazon and elsewhere.

Good luck,