The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My second set of baguettes

Benito's picture
Benito

My second set of baguettes

So I decided to try baguettes again having had one previous attempt.  This time I tried the Anis Bouabsa recipe more or less based on what MTloaf and Alfanso posted here.

Because I was a bit hesitant about shaping higher hydration dough I reduced to 70%.  I also used 50% bread flour and 50% AP.  I think that is too low hydration for my flour and I think I also build up too much elasticity in the dough as they were resisting shaping to elongate them as much as I wanted.  The bread flour also worked against me when trying to s hape.  I will definitely be using all AP flour next time and hope that I’ll be able to elongate better.  I also think that I need to score more deeply than I did.

Overall so long as the crumb turns out well, a decent second effort I think with things to continue to improve upon. 

Comments

Benito's picture
Benito

I’m pretty happy with the crumb too.  The crust is crisp and thin and the crumb is nice too.  Next time I will not bake on the lowest rack, that caused one to burn on the bottom.  The other thing to remember is to put them into the oven so that you look at them end on and not side on.  I think that would make them easier to turn and also have them bake more evenly in my oven.

algebread's picture
algebread

You're improving very fast! Scores opened much better than the first time, and that crumb is just dreamy.

 

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you, the first set was really over proofed and this recipe with so little IDY really safeguarded against that.  This second set is much better.  I  will have to be more true to the original recipe next time and bake at the higher hydration and use only AP flour, these weren’t extensible enough to elongate and I think those were the two reasons.  Once I feel that I have a decent handle I will try a sourdough version as you are.  I suspect the sourdough recipes are much more challenging to handle and shape.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Now with a true grigne, the next step will be to figure out how to add the ears, if that's a goal.  And it didn't take much for you to get the feel of how to align the scores down the center of the top either, a feat that usually takes a number of tries to get right.  The oven spring and explosive growth of these are evident.  

Amazing what 1/6 of 1% of IDY can do, when most IDY formulae call for somewhere around 1%.  The crumb looks great and demonstrates that you are both getting good surface tension as well as treating the dough with deft "respect" as you roll it out. 

Just yesterday I was reviewing some of what Janedo wrote.  She is the "instigator" who first visited M. Bouabsa in 2008 and reported back to TFL on his baguettes.  She said that in general the French are not obsessed with the type of open crumb that North Americans seek.  And what we consider to be the gold standard of open crumb is not the goal of the professional French baker for baguettes.  Which shouldn't dissuade any of us for seeking out what we personally wish to achieve.

If your goal is stubby, then you've achieved that too, as beauty is in the eyes (and taste) of the beholder.  Same with color on the crust.  I opt for a bolder and darker crust, but what I like should not dictate someone else's wants.

Careful now - once you get hooked on these and start to experiment with other baguette formulae, you may be putting that orange Le Creuset DO into the back of a cupboard.

alan

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks Alan for inspiring me to try baguettes and directing me to try the Anis Bouabsa recipe that both you and MTloaf have done had liked.  both of you have given me good instructions and guidance.  This recipe is much better than the one I used for my first try, which although that tasted fine, don’t taste as good as these ones.  I am totally amazed that so little IDY resulted in these baguettes.  I thought for sure that they were underproofed as there wasn’t much in the way of rise before the cold retard.

I do hope to improve in the shaping, I would like them to be less stubby and more elongated.  I would like to have more ears than what I have achieved as well.  I think I have to score more deeply to get that, I think I had the angle of the blade alright but didn’t score deeply enough.

I would normally has baked to a darker colour as that is my preference but I realized that the baking steel was on a much too low rack and the bottom crust was starting to burn so I actually pulled them.  Of course with everyone’s oven being different it may take some time to figure out the best baking arrangement to achieve a good bake.  Next time I will try baking on the second lowest rack or middle rack.  I’m not sure if I should put the skillet and water and the loaf pan with towel and water above the bread or below, this time I did above and it was a bit less scary to pour water into the skillet.

Benny

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Glad to see you getting good results and learning what to apply the next time. It is a stellar recipe that produces great flavor and is easier to work with than the others I have tried. I am thinking the elasticity came from the bread flour. If I see a lot of rise during the bulk I know that they will be difficult to elongate because the dough has gotten too strong. More water might help with that as well. I shoot for 75% to no more than 78% hydration, there is a point of deminishing return after that. The crumb is a real beauty to my eyes. I find the holes appealing and a good place to fill up with peanut butter and jelly. It is also a sign of good fermentation and shaping as well as a good baking set up. The ears will come with more tension in the final shaping rather than the depth of the slashes. I create steam from the top with a sheet pan but maybe with a baking steel it would keep the heat down if the steam pan was underneath. I enjoy watching them bake through the oven window, it is half the pleasure of making them.

If you are wondering what to do with all the baguettes. Try french toast, let them soak until all of the mixture is absorbed. Brushetta is a summertime favorite around here. Toasted in a skillet with olive oil and rubbed with garlic then topped with pesto and tomatoes and of course grated parmesan.

Happy Bagging you get to pester the next TFLer to tackle baguettes now that you are onboard.

Benito's picture
Benito

Good points MT.  Yes given the bottom burning perhaps middle of the oven baking on the steel with steam setup below to shield the baking steel a bit from the direct heat of the bottom heating elements would be better.

How deeply are you folks scoring your baguettes, I made fairly shallow angled scores so I thought maybe they should be deeper a bit.  But you’re right I didn’t get ears on my other breads until I learned to shape with more tension on the dough.  I will try to shape with more tension next time.  

I agree that the excessive elasticity of the dough probably came from the bread flour, even at 50%.  I will definitely use AP next time. 

Great ideas for using the baguettes, I don’t think we will have a hard time finishing these, the thin crisp crust is just outstanding and the flavour surprisingly good for just white flour.  Like you I will continue to bake other breads too, but I am definitely finding the new challenge of baguettes to be fun and tasty.

Thanks again for your guidance and advice.

Benny

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I just try to cut through the skin and never really go that deep. I like to use my other hand to follow along behind to hold the dough in place and score rather quickly. I received a nice wooden handled lame as a gift that has a straight edge that I have been using but I think I prefer the curved one for getting an ear. A little flour helps with scoring but I try to avoid the powdered doughnut look. My couche is seasoned enough that I don't have to use flour every time but it does dry the crust enough to make scoring easier. 

Glad to see that you are enjoying the new challenge and unlocking the taste of white flour that the nobles have been accustomed to. I shouldn't need to mention how great this bread is with butter smeared on it.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

There is nothing wrong with making your baguettes at 70% hydration. You will find the dough feels less dry when you make it with AP flour rather than bread flour. My advice would be to stick to the hydration that is comfortable for you, until you have all the mechanics of shaping and scoring sufficiently mastered. 

As far as scoring goes - rapid cuts, not too deep, at a shallow angle. Note that the drier the dough, the deeper the cut. You have the alignment correct, which is one of the major accomplishments. I'm betting you will continue to improve with practice. You are certainly off to a great start.

Happy baking!

David

Benito's picture
Benito

David thanks for taking the time to assess my baguettes and offer your guidance.  Good point about AP flour not absorbing water as much as bread flour.  I may increase the hydration just a bit maybe 1-2% and go to all AP just to reduce the elasticity and help the extensibility.  I would like to get slightly longer stretch when shaping so the baguettes are longer and slightly slimmer and I’m hoping those changes might help that.

Next time I will try to score at a bit more shallow angle and maybe just a bit more deeply.  I’m glad that I have somehow learned decent direction of scoring early on.

Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

Benny

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

You hit a homerun!

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks Will, maybe not quite a homerun but I am quite happy with that at bat.

Benny

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Looks great - I'm digging the points - I typically go for round ends but love what you got going on here especially the crumb.  It looks like Alan's work on the inside.  Now it you can just match him on the ears your home free ;) 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks so much kendalm, I’m pretty pleased with my progress so far.  I still have to say I wasn’t expecting much from the crumb, I really thought these were going to be under proofed. I was quite surprised that they weren’t.  Yes ears would be nice and a slightly longer slimmer shape is also on my list of things to achieve.

Beny

isand66's picture
isand66

I'm sure the rest will come with practice.  I'm far from an expert on baguettes since I don't make them enough.  I went on a mission several years ago to master the 36hr version from TXfarmer which is a difficult one but well worth it.

Look forward to following your journey.

Ian

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Ian.  I’m very happy with what I’ve been able to achieve now with these two bakes of baguettes.  I’ve now just started the levain build for the baguette CB, another challenge.

Benny

Elsie_iu's picture
Elsie_iu

The baguettes look great inside out. I totally see why you had trouble finishing them up. If I were you, I'd have gobbled the whole thing up within an hour they're baked :)

Looking forward to your future baguette bakes! 

Benito's picture
Benito

We haven’t seen you around much lately Elsie, hope everything has been good with you.  We had no problem eating them, the recipe does turn out a good tasting baguette.  Thanks for the compliment on this bake.

Benny