The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Community Bake - Baguettes by Alfanso

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Community Bake - Baguettes by Alfanso

This Community Bake will be featuring one of our very own; the "Baguette Baker Extraordinaire", Alan, aka alfanso. He is among a handful of fine baguette bakers on TFL who have spent years concentrating on baguettes, alfanso's favored craft, and his baguettes are consistently outstanding and consistently consistent.. Consistence and repeatability, coupled with breads that visually signify a particular baker are the hallmark of excellence. When viewing an image of any of Alan's baguettes, those that have been around for a while know exactly who baked the bread. We are fortunate to have him on the forum.

We have extracted the bakes of 4 participating bakers and present it in PDF form

Attention New Readers:
Although the Community Bake started some time back, it is still active. New participants are welcomed to join in at any time! It's constantly monitored and help of any kind is still available.

For those that are not familiar with Alan and his baguettes check out his blog.
 
   

    

Since the Covid Pandemic many new bakers have joined the forum. For those that are not familiar with our Community Bakes (CB) see THIS LINK. It should give you an idea of the concept and how things work.

Alan supplied the following information as a guide line to the bake. There are links below with additional resources. Alan's choice of baguette for the CB is Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat, by Jeffrey Hamelman. Jeffrey Hamelman recently retired as Head Baker at the King Arthur Flour Company. His book, "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes, 2nd Edition" is considered a "must have" by most of the bakers on this forum.

Alan writes:

I’ve attached the formula and some photos of my most recent bake of this bread.  It is another really easy to manipulate bread that has a fantastic taste, but is not too heavy on the whole grain side. 1250g is a nice amount to create 4 "comfortable sized" baguettes.

I’ve simplified the formula a little by converting it from a 60% hydration to a 100% hydration levain.

Mr. Hamelman uses the term “Bread Flour” but in our realm this really means a standard AP flour with a similar protein profile to King Arthur AP flour, 11.7% protein.

This dough can also be mixed mechanically if you have neither developed the skills nor have the desire to mix by hand."

NOTE - for those using home milled flour a tweak may be necessary.  Whole grain (100% extraction) will absorb quite a bit more water than white flour as well as commercial whole wheat flour. Since I used home milled grain, it was necessary to add more water before the dough became extensible enough to slap and fold. I estimate the water added was approximately 28 grams which brought the hydration to ~72%. I should have taken my own advice and measured the additional water, but I didn’t. For those using home milled grains, if would be helpful if you reported the extra water necessary to do the Slap & Folds. See THIS TECHNIQUE.

   Additional Resources

 

Everyone is welcomed. Both expert and novice can learn and improve their baking skills by participating and sharing their experience. Make sure to post your good, bad, and ugly breads. We learn much more from our failures, than we do from our successes.  

Danny 

A late addition -

In Alan’s reply below he reminded us that this is not a competition. The goal of every Community Bake is to learn from one another. There are no losers, only winners. Each and every participant should become a better baguette baker with the help of others.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

There are a lot of talented bakers on TFL, many with their own specialties.  And so it is with our cadre of baguette bakers here.  Fewer in number than other baking crafts, but a group of standout bakers nonetheless.  And we are always looking to recruit more to our battalion.

Dan asked me if I'd like participate and be a focus, and sure, why not.  If we can interest some of you folks, newcomers as well as coax some long in the tooth TFL participants to attempt baguettes and nurture another skill for your personal baking handbook.

A reminder that this isn't a competition, but a way to learn and help others learn.  Hopefully it will be a fulfilling experience and perhaps get a number of you to try your hand and see how you can also bake another fine product and shape.

Mr. Hamelman didn't create this formula/recipe specifically for baguettes, and does not mention that term anywhere within his write-up, actually referring to the shaping as round or oblong.  However, I'm here to testify that pretty much any formula for levain and IDY breads can be turned into baguettes, sometimes with a little tweak here or there.  My blog pages are chock-full of baguette bakes that were seemingly never intended to be baked in that shape.

A final note here, and an important one.  The spreadsheet and method presented above is just a framework for you to  either follow faithfully or to build upon.

So, c'mon and join the Community Bake!

Benito's picture
Benito

Wow almost perfect timing, I will definitely join.  I was going to have a third go at the Bouabsa baguettes and see what improvements I could make in my technique with that recipe but since a sourdough version is what this CB is about, I guess I’ll change my schedule and do this.  

Thank you to Danny and Alan for organizing another fun CB.  I hope to learn a lot from this bake.

Benny

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Thanks Danny, Thanks Alan. I'm up for some baguettes.

Alan, I don't normally slap my dough around so I went looking online and found this guy working up a sweat! Do you find your dough to be as wet/slack as in the video before you start your slapping? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvdtUR-XTG0

Also I'm not sure if I'm going get my hands on some rye. But if I do are you using dark or light?

Bulk - what rise are you looking for? Kitchen temps are all different (and I use a proofer) so what percent rise are you looking for at the end of that stage?

Retard in couche - room temp or in the fridge? And I assume as it's in the couche you're not placing it in a plastic bag or covering it to maintain moisture?

Finally :) while I've read your steaming technique in the past it's been a while.  I don't have lava rocks as I normally just use a combo cooker or DO. How aggressive are you on the humidity? What are you recommending.

Ok one more while we're at it. I have a thick baking stone I can use. For some reason I think you use some granite or the like. Any thoughts or advice on using the stone?

That's all from me. I'm sure you'll get a few more questions. Thanks for doing this. Best, frank!

 Edit: I just watched the vidoes - great choices and they answered my oven steam and stone questions. Thanks!

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Slack dough?  First starting out and trying to figure out how to do it I found videos by him, Babette and Mr. Bertinet for understanding French Folds.

I'm not going to dispute what any professional baker teaches, it's not my place.  Simon states that he does French Folds for 10 minutes.  My experience is that with practice I can do my 300 French Folds in 6 minutes, which seem like enough for my needs, and about the same time as a mixer, or less.  Here are two short videos, 1 & 2, of me performing French Folds on the Bouabsa dough, which is a 75% hydration all AP flour dough.  It's going to be goopy, at least as goopy as what Simon is working on.

The Hamelman P au L w/WW is a 68% hydration dough with 25% whole grains, and will be a much "drier" dough to work with, but plenty supple.  I use Hodgson Mills dark stone ground rye, but I don't really imagine that it matters all that much if you swap out that 5% for an additional 5% of Whole Wheat or use finer grind white rye, etc.

Kitchen temps.  My kitchen is a reliable 78-80dF all year with a constant humidity of ~70%.  Which seems high, but it infrequently feel damp or humid inside.  I understand that most kitchens have fluctuating temps, both higher (dabrownman) and lower (Mr. Forkish) during the year than mine.  And to be fair, this is the only baking environment I know.  

Bulk Ferment, rise and timing.  What I say next is in almost universal opposition to the vast majority of TFL aficionados.  I have not true idea of how much to expect my BF to rise.  None.  I'll take a SWAG at 30% only because you are asking, but between paying no attention to that and considering the punch downs (I hate that term) via Letter Folds, it really is hard to tell.

What I do pay attention to is the (gasp) clock.  When my timer goes off at 50 and 100 minutes, it is time for Letter Folds #s 1 & 2 with a final 20 minute rest before divide - for this dough.  Because my kitchen environment is stable, I don't find any value to eyeballing the dough's rise.  From handling the dough during the Letter Folds, the tactile feel of the dough is informing me of how it is progressing anyway. ** 

Couche and retard.  I do use a couche, as can be seen in the videos in the main post.  The couche sits inside of a jelly roll pan, the remaining linen draping over the shaped dough, and then that is placed into a plastic bag to maintain moisture and keep refrigerator odors out.  Generally I retard the dough from ~12-6 hours with few exceptions.

My long term M.O. was to retard the dough in bulk, wait a few hours and then pull it for divide pre-shape and shape, and then return it to finish out the total retard time.  However I've recently changed to divide immediately at the termination of BF  and really liking it now.

Steaming. I'm pretty aggressive about steaming, employing both a pan with a Sylvia Steaming Towel and also the lava rocks.  Something dabrownman refers to as "mega steam".  I'll steam for 12-13 minutes before venting the steam and rotating the dough on the baking deck.  Wise contributors like Doc Dough are proponents of steaming for only the initial 5-6 minutes, but I find that I'm comfortable delaying the gelatinization of the crust longer.

Baking Deck. I do use a 3/4 inch thick piece of granite cut to size.  But prior to that I used those thin baked clay Saltillo tiles and they worked just fine.  It's only because they started to crack nonstop that I decided to replace them.  I really like my baking deck.  It takes longer to heat up, but it is a beast at retaining temperature over time.

I think that I've covered all of your questions.  Please join in.

alan

**Of course this would never be any of us in a home baking environment, but consider a bakery that runs on tight schedule.  One mix comes out of the mixer, and the next must go in.  One set of dough has to be shaped after another so the workbench has to be cleared from the prior dough's shaping.  the same holds for oven usage.  The bakers have to have reliable and repeatable timing for each phase of the dough's development from mix to bake, else they will surely be running late and that would only snowball.  If the oven isn't yet available, or if the delivery truck needs to go out at, let's say, 11 AM, the baker can't be telling the driver to hold on for another half hour, the dough isn't ready to bake yet.

Not trying to be pedantic here, but they must know their baking environment, figure out how to make their schedule work and how to compensate to stay on schedule based on a clock.  At home, I'm comfortable with the clock as my guide.

 

 

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Hi Al - at the risk of geeking out too much I have a question. Do you know that target protein content of flour used for french baguettes? I don't have rye but do have some whole spelt and thought i'd blend AP, WW and WS to dial in the chewiness of the crust. I'm also thinking of making two baguettes with 10 minutes of S&F and the other two with 20 minutes to compare. Thanks!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Gluten (protein) content: ~ 10%

He's quite particular and I'm pretty sure that kendalm sources his French baguette flour from this site.  https://www.lepicerie.com/pastry-ingredients/ingredients/french-flours-traditional-and-organic/le-moulin-dauguste-organic-wheat-flour-t65/

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

That’s the flour and his current source. I am waiting on 10 kilos right now.

Like every other flour shipped in, the shipping is costly. But at my place in life, why not shoot for the moon.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Will have to try and find something like it.  But for today 75% AP and 25% WW works out to 12% on a weighted basis.  Unfortunately I miscalculated and just made 195g of levain. But I figure it's not going to change much. I might extend retard by two hours - thoughts?

Also - at the end of retard to you let them come up to room temp again or bake them cold?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Frank, I bake the dough cold straight out the fridge.

Why not just add 30 water and 30 flour to the levain or the final dough, if the levain is finished and you are ready to mix? 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Frank, it seems there are 2 distinct camps when it comes to gluten development for baguettes. Heck, for anything bread there are always opposing opinions. AND the thing is both sides produce outstanding products. “Whatever Works”... 

  1. Thoroughly develop the gluten up front at initial mixing
  2. Barely develop the gluten at first and allow time and hydration to do the work.

This is a subject of great interest to me. I think the fully developed gluten concept is looking for a dough with high gas retention and strong hoop strength. Possibly the slight gluten development bakers are focusing on taste and extensibilty. 

Does anyone have other thoughts?

Danny

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Hi Dan,

Q1. Has the challenge started yet? I was going to give this a go in the next few days.

Q2. Is it ok to stick with the original Hamelman's formula? I already have it on my spreadsheet in a format similar to his book.

Q3. Is it necessary to retard for final proof? I don't usually and Hamelman gives it as an option. If there is an advantage in retarding other than extra sour, I'm happy to give it a go.

Q4. Where do we post our results, comments or queries along the way?

I'm looking forward to trying this out as I've never considered doing this as baguettes. Kudos to Alan for a great idea.

Cheers,

Gavin.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Gavin, the CB is good to go. I also have a spreadsheet and mixed the Levain @ 60%. Retard or not, it’s up to the baker.  Bakes should be posted here, including all documentation and images.

All bakers are free to make their breads as they choose.
power to the people

My main learning focus is picking Alan’s brain for shaping and scoring. I watched the shaping video with Martin Philip and his son and found it very helpful.

Danny

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Q1. Folks have contributed to Dan's CBs as late as a year or more after posting.

Q2. The old Burger King fast food chain jingle "have it your way" applies here.  If you have it in you to add cinnamon or nuts or rusty nails ;-) , have a go.  The spreadsheet and method are just a framework, as is the number and weight of each baguette.

I'll go back to what lifelong friend Janet's mom told her when she was a little girl learning crocheting or whatever at her mom's knee.  Whatever you make, just change one thing even if it is a little thing, and make it your own.  Guiding words.

Q2.  Refer to Q2.  Also, my levain produces a mostly sweet almost never sour note regardless of how long it or the dough remains cooped up in the refrigerator.   To me, the advantage of retarding is to give the bacteria in the levain a chance to eke more flavor out of the dough while keeping the yeast's growth at bay.

This was all Dan's idea, and he had to draw me semi-reluctantly out of my den to be a part of it.  I presented Dan with 9 differing options, from cinnamon raisin to potato to olive... And we settled on this one.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Thanks, Danny and Alan for your quick replies. I wasn't expecting any so soon as I'm on the other side of the world :).

I'm planning on baking this in the next few days. I'm tempted to take your advice on retarding the final proof; I'm usually cautious, but I take your point about eking out more flavour from the dough.

Cheers,

Gavin

 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Alan, you and I are on a similar wave length! First the Bouabsa baggies and now this. I used this same recipe last weekend to make bread including a 2 stage levain and even trying a baguette type scoring. I didn't occur to me to elongate them though. 

I like the idea of a basic framework for this CB with room for personal tweaks and exploration. I hope many others will decide to roll with it.

 

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Still plugging away and here is an example of today's run:

 

  The formula comes for the BBGA and is listed as Team USA. The baguettes are formulated and baked in the French tradition and therefore long and lean. My customers absolutely love the flavors generated by a combination of levain and poolish. The yeast content is very low and therefore the rise and grigne are not as pronounced, but I am counseled to not change the flavor in favor of the looks.

 

 

 Hello to everyone and I hope you all are well.

 Jim

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Hey Jim! Great to hear from you. I hope all is well in your part of the world.

Would you mind posting the method/process? I’d like to give those beauties a try... The formula is interesting when you consider the 43.4% of the total flour is pre-fermented. I’m thinking, loads of flavor and maximum extensibilty. 

While I’ve got your ear, an image of the dough immediately after scoring would be helpful. Like Alan, your baguettes have a very “signature look”.

Danny

Update - I followed Alan’s lead and found this formula and method. Is this the bread? What are the mixing speeds and timing for an Ankarsrum?

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I was hoping that the super baguette bakers like you, maurizio and bikeprof would show up here and contribute.  And to be another inspiration to those who might want to take the plunge.

Of course we'd love to also see txfarmer, shiao-ping and a few others oldtimers show up here too.

If I recall this is the formula by Solveig Tofte.

alan

kendalm's picture
kendalm

The three musketeers who bless us on rare occasions only to disappear off again like dr bombay from bewitched. I am sure they can be found in exotic locations scaling annapurna and navigating the Congo.  If only we could summon them by nose twitch and head nod :) 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I am going to attempt these soon. They look great! I was hoping you could post a picture of a "definitive" crumb shot. I want to adjust the hydration for my dry location and the flour I am using. I was wondering if the dough should be firm or on the loose side. Would 70% water still be manageable?

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

The Tweaked formula I use is also based on Hamelman. Developed with lots of help from Alan (Alfonso) It can be found in the video description. 

Note: 

My method is the one given by Alan above, as to, autolyze, bulk and retard. For the mixing I use the Bosch Universal. I still use the bulk retard for 2 hours, divide shape and cold retard some more. I may try Alans newer method of shaping right after the room temperature bulk. 

My gratitude, to Alan and Dan for getting this off the ground! 

(Step 2 of part 1)

06/17/2020

10:00 AM: 

After 12 hours at room temperature (72F) levian builds, stage 1 are ripe.

 

Keeping the levians at 125% hydration, I built them up to 370G each. This allows for 10G of bowl residue. For the stage 2 ferment, I moved the levians into my light turned on oven, to ferment at 80-85F. I hope to accelerate the process, to be ready at a reasonable hour. This will accomplish two goals...

1. Keep my wife from having a canary, if I turn on the Bosch at 10:00 PM

2. Have the retarded baguettes ready for an early morning bake. 

P.S. The second levian will be refrigerated for a second bake, in a couple of days.

06/17/2020, 2:00 PM

(Step 1 Part2) Autolyze/Fermentolyse

The higher "proofing box" temperature accelerated the stage two ferment to four hours.  

The final dough, flours, water, and 360 grams of ripe 125% hydration levian are mixed and set to rest, covered (1 hour) in the Bosch mixer bowl.

After the autolyze is complete, the salt is mixer into the dough, (One minute on #1) Now, the Bosch is cranked up to 2, and the dough takes a five minute ride, then a five minute rest, followed by another five minute ride.

 

The dough is dropped into the fermenting container, and stretched folded in at the four corners. 

The dough ball is already showing nice gluten development

The dough is allowed to ferment at room temperature, for one hour, with in container, stretch and folds at 30 & 60 minutes.

The dough is noticeably more elastic at this point.

The dough is set to ferment untouched, for an additional one hour. I think we may be ready to move on to divide and shape at that time. (We will see)

The dough was divided & scaled to 402 grams.  Then the pre-shape and rest. 

 The shaping

Good night sweetheart, good night...

 Wakeup little Suzy, Wakeup!

Good morning, sunshine!

 After a quick check on the progress, back into the cooler. As preparations for the final phase begin!

Let's get ready to rumble!

 The oven is pre-heating to 450F. Silvia's towel is soaking and the lame is fit with a fresh blade. Shooting for a 6:30 AM -ish bake.

The end game!

Another fun Community bake, bake in the bank. That being said, I am not done with this. I have the levian and can go at the drop of a hat!.

 Here is the rub. I am trying to replicate the Italian bread of my youth. I am happy enough with the pale golden color. My mine gripe is, I think I should be getting more over spring at 400 G.? Over and over I keep getting (at best) these results. If only these were a little more, (okay a lot more) chubby, I would be a happy baker. 

 The bake stats,

Bake temperature - 400F

Steam for first ten Minutes. I was planing to purge the oven at 6 minutes, however, the baguettes were not opened up at all. Never opening the oven I added 4 minutes. (So glad I did) Had I not this might have been a fail.

At ten minutes I purged the oven and rotated the loaves.

After 20, they were still quite pale. I rotated again and 3 more min. I think I did three minutes 2 or three more times. 

Besides the obligatory crumb shot, I always like to end with the final product. Enjoy. 

Benito's picture
Benito

I’ve never thought to get two levain ready and then place one in the fridge for a later bake, great idea.

Benny

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

Alan, mentions in some of his baguette posts, that if the levian is ready, and he is not, he refrigerates it till he is. I took that and ran with it! Smile...

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I come from an IT background.  The time in service taught me that small mistakes are magnified further down the pipe and ever more difficult to correct.

And I feel that the same mistakes in levain build, BF, Pre-Shape...  every one of these has a downstream effect.  Can we correct the problems downstream?  That depends, and the later the error is isolated and attempted to fix, the more costly/difficult it is.  Of course in this exercise the cost is not financial or a QA time sink and push back.

Don't take this to mean that I'm the know-it-all on the hilltop.  Naw, I've been there. Many times.  So I can speak from personal experience in my former work life as well as in baking.

And I'm not calling out anything on Will's journey here.  But seeing his pictorial phases did remind me to mention this.  A reminder if anyone needs a reminder.  Good pre-shaping can lead to better final shaping.  And so. on.  Practice makes perfect.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Will, your photographic documentation is excellent. Thanks for taking the time to produce this. I know it will benefit others.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

How did they turn out? You've given me the inspiration to get a larger stone than my pizza stone. I'd love to extend my baking to four baguettes or two loaves at a time.

Cheers.

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

However, I am still having the same issue. I will be posting up the photos and question soon. Unless, I can isolate the root cause of my issue, I will continue on and on getting the same results. Don't get me wrong, these are some of my better baguettes. In order to grow we must question our method and techniques. More later...

P.S. I am leaning in the direction of poor shaping as the underlying culprit. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

If you aren't going to supplement a Sylvia Towel with a secondary source - pan w or w/o ex. lava rocks, double up on the towels.  You are likely not getting sufficient steam.

400dF is too low.  The recommended bake temp is 460 after the oven is heated to 480.  kendalm is a great believer in the "heat blast" method for his baguettes, and baking the devils at 500dF or higher.  I find 500 in my oven on my deck to be scorchingly too hot.

Shaping is good, scoring is kinda okay but certainly within acceptable parameters in terms of keeping in lanes and overlaps.  But your score lines are craggy which could be from blade drag or insufficient surface tension. 

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

Hi, Alan.

 I do supplement with boiling water poured into the standard broiler pan. I am pretty sure steam is not the issue. Unless the gas fired oven is venting that fast. On opening the oven I am greeted by a blast of steam. I realized I set my temperature too low too late. That is an easy fix. I can only wish that is the issue. Yes the scoring was poor at best, fail to be quite honest. Allan, do you agree that 400 grams should be giving me the chubby baguettes I am looking for? 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

But considering your length of 15 inches, there should be some fair girth with good oven spring.  The scoring isn't poor.  Poor would be starting 1/3 down the baton instead of tip to toe.  Or making sausage cuts, or no overlap.  It just needs some TLC.  I think that you may be a bit hesitant and need to use a quicker and more resolute stroke with the blade.  Of course not seeing it and the process in person, it is a bit hard to diagnose further, if I have this right anyway.

I'd mentioned before and as you probably well know it is certainly true for bread baking - it's a two steps forward, one step back process for most of us.

Regardless, it looks like a killer sandwich.

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

Ah, I felt like I was reliving scoring that bread as you described my hesitation waltz! I As for length, I was shooting for 16" however these are closer to  at least 17" Next bake for sure I can fix the temperature. lets hope some other  issue does not arise. LOL. Baguettes are truly and art form! 

 

kendalm's picture
kendalm

I only say that based on my own experience and equipment so I'm sure it differs with each person's individual equipment and technique.  Also having worked with industrial ovens you come to respect a big machine that can handle alot of dough without budging on temps much.  The thing I try to emphasize really is that the more dough that gets loaded I think will really begin to stress little home units.  It's really more about knowing the dough limit.  For me with my old oven it was roughly a kilo of dough at 500f.  That 3 loaves.  4 loaves - forget about it.  I could also two reliably bake 2 at 450 f.  Also Alan your stone is a massive heat sink being as thick as it is.  All this comes into factor and often times upstaged by other details (all important of course as we know ever step matters).  So hoping to get a dedicated 220 electric soon and get back in the baggie game ! 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Will, did you notice any difference between the bread baked n the steel and the others that weren’t?

For my taste, the golden brown color you got taste best. Too much browning makes the crust too bitter for me. Personal taste...

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

I I was pretty happy with the consistency of doneness in the four loafs. I want to run out before my vacation week is over and get a disposable turkey roasting pan, to cover the loafs during the first 10 minutes. 

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Will they look great.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I have a couple of suggestions to try if you are interested. I have seen a similarity with the previous sticks you have posted and sense your frustration that they are not on the level with your pies which by the way are superb. I think your oven setup and coping with gas is most of the problem because the rest of your process looks solid. A rectangular stone with the pan/cover may be your best option. The other suggestion I would consider is way less mixing. I have a Bosch like yours but I never use it for baguettes and prefer to hand mix so as not to over develop the dough. 10 minutes of speed 2 is what I use for pan loaves to get to window pane. Does the dough feel tight when you are finished mixing? That can lead to less expansion because of too much elasticity and even over oxidizing which can cause the crust to brown less. Try a short mix 3 minutes max and rely on gentle folding.MTCW

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

MTL, I am going to try your advice. Prior baguette bakes were focused on high gluten development.

For this present bake, I used an hour autolyse, rested 30 min incorporated levain, rest 20 min mixed in salt. Finished off with 2 min Rubaud, light Stretch and Fold.

Additional light Stretch and Fold after an hr, then complete BF. Divide, shape, and retard.

NOTE - Doc taught me to watch for the small gluten bubbles and veins in the dough. When the dough is completely smooth dough is highly developed. I stopped manipulating while the dough showed slight signs of gluten bubbles and veins. The idea is to allow the gluten to continue developing during the BF.

Interested to observe the results...

Danny

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

My kids and grandkids are coming over tomorrow for fathers day, I have not seen the newest little guy at all, (once for 5 min.) perfect opportunity to bust out that ready to go levian build and have fresh bread for a take home for the kidos. Plus the 5 year old can watch the end game of a baguette being born! Anyhow, I am going to experiment a bit too. 

1. Hit Kmart for a disposable roasting pan.

2. I already added .1% (1Gram) of IDY to the flour. By the way I am now in Fermentolyse. Keep your shirts on purists! IDY, is just another tool in the tool kit. Smile... Oh, unless your female, then feel free to take your tops off! Can one still make risque jokes in the 2001 century? Ah, lets not even go there. I am so sick of what goes on in this world! 

3. I am going to keep a sharp eye and stop the mechanical mixing when I see that brain like look. (Thanks Dan.)

That's about it. besides take my time and not over thing the scoring. I know the scientific method would be to change only one variable at a time. But hey, who has the time for that! Smile... I may take a photo or two, if I see something I feel I want you guys to see. Thanks again fellas!

Kind regards,

 Will F.

 

cfraenkel's picture
cfraenkel

I'm female, and the take your shirts off comment made me giggle. - no offense here. I've been known to put SALT in my autolyse (on the top because otherwise I often forget to add it)

and the scientific method comment...I have a family full of scientists - and I'm the oddball creative type.  Yes I understand the science, but sometimes time or ? make it so that you just have to trust your gut.

 

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

I can't take anything to serous, just not my style. I bet I make lots of folks roll their eyes. But hey it's all in fun!  

 

 

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

I can't take anything to serous, just not my style. I bet I make lots of folks roll their eyes. But hey it's all in fun!  

 

 

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

I think this just might be a break though bake! I After the same two hour bulk ferment and so far three hours of retardation, I have to say these guys look epic! I don't think they will make it to twelve hr. The poke test if I am correct says they are almost there. I am going to check/ poke them again at 6:30 PM. Going to play this one by ear. Stray tuned! 

P.S. They already look better than yesterdays 12 retardation!

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

That you got those in the oven right away. They look puffy and ready to go into the fire. I hope you are having fun with the grandkids anyway.

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

No, I disregarded what my brain was telling me. I over proofed, and screwed the pooch! In that photo the dough not only puffy it was tight and would have been a dream to slash! By the time I took them back out the skin was loose as a old mans face! However, as Dan says, we learn as much or more from our mistakes. I was a bit embarrassed but here it goes. It is a shame that I did not get to see them proofed properly, I still say it would have been epic! 

 food and indoor

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I miss those quarantine days of having a dough rising all the time. The yeasted window is a narrow one that opens and closes much quicker than the hour or two here and of a levained version. Retarding the final proof is risky. I think Benito and I went with .01 IDY and you moved a couple of decimal points more to the right of that If I read it correctly. Hey live and learn. I know there will be much joy when you nail the next one. Those still look pretty good. Was the crumb better than expected anyway?

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

For a total of 1 gram for the 1,600 grams of total dough! I kind of knew they should have been baked ASAP. But I could not wrap my head around them being ready in three hours. In hind site I think my pure sourdough bake loafs, were also over proofed. I think my twice refreshed starter is quite strong! As to the crumb, It is about the same as the first batch, and I was pretty happy with it. What I expect from 67% hydration. 

 

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

kendalm's picture
kendalm

I love the scores opening they way they did - looks great.  Also how the heck do you spell pareallellogram ? 

Benito's picture
Benito

I have a question for you all who have bake more baguettes than I have.  The two things I’ve had problems with were my dough sticking to my not flax linen couche and shaping when the dough was warm.  The 2nd set of baguettes that I made which were more successful, I shaped with cold dough, used some rice flour on my cotton couche and the shaped dough didn’t sit in the couche a long time because they were shaped after the completion of cold retard.

Do you think this shaping after the completion of cold retard would work for this recipe?  Is there any reason to think that I need to shape earlier and have the shaped dough complete cold retard in the couche?  I’m concerned about the shaped dough sticking again as they did in my first attempt so thought if they sat in the couche for a shorter period that would reduce the likelihood that sticking would happen.

My leaving is fermenting as we speak.  I’m working from home today so able to squeeze in the first steps of this bake.  Oh yes, I also decided to try the stiff levain 60% from the spreadsheet that Dan kindly sent me, I’ve never tried a stiff levain before.

Benny

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Without a real flax linen, you can do exactly what Martin Philip does here before the dough is couched.  That will give it a bit of a protective coating of raw flour.  Also make sure that you flour the couche well.  If you retard with seam side down, any additional flour that gets picked up from the couche will mostly be on the underside of the dough.  

OTOH this particular dough at 68% hydration generally requires very little flour for a well seasoned couche.  The couche will wick away a surprising amount of moisture during retard, but the baguette should come off it with little trouble.

I've never shaped after completion of retard, almost always somewhere before the midway point and now immediately after BF completes.  You could try to shape and return to the couche for a final hour or two, and that should work.  This would give the dough time enough to relax in its new shape, as the dough might not "feel comfortable" immediately going from final shaping to scoring and baking .  I imagine the late in the process scheme with return to retard would work out well.

alan

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Alan for the excellent suggestions, I will take them under advisement.

I thought I’d share an idea that Danny shared with me in a private message.  I am following the 60% levain, I’ve never made a firm levain, and he suggested using a hand blender to mix the levain with the dough water.  I would never have thought to do that if he hadn’t shared it with me.  Since I do not own a hand blender, I may throw the dough water and levain into a blender to achieve the same final result.  Thank you Dan.

Benny

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Some bakers couche their baguettes seam side up and others seam side down.

Can you discuss the pros and cons of each?

Thanks...

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Best of luck getting to the bottom of this one.  I've historically couched seam side down with the idea that the seam stays sealed better if it isn't facing up with no pressure to keep it closed.  Anyway that's my personal reasoning.  

But let's look farther afield to folks with a world more gravitas and experience than me.  The experts:

Martin Philip has this too say...

Jeffrey Hamelman has this to say...

Ciril Hitz has this to say...

Abel Sierra has this to say..."Then shape baguettes as usual and put over flour dusted linen cloth, with the seam up again. This makes a better expansion of the dough and as a result you get a more open crumb, from my point of view."

I could go on, but my keyboard might start to smoke, or at least want to go out for a smoke break ;-)

So I think it is about as clear as mud.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Corgi? I want to hear his story. A purebred? Yes, pun intended. My wife has always wanted one. A Dachshund would be a more appropriate baguette dog for you. My baguettes are more like a Basset Hound. 
Thanks for running the herd on this CB. I hope we can bring baguettes to the forefront like you have been hoping for. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

She was a mixed breed, basenji and lab.  Picked her up from Petsmart adoption days for US$45 total back in 2003.  Still in puppyhood here...

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

A Heinz 57. Cute pup if only our baguettes had ears like that. I saw this on a T-shirt once "The more people I meet the more I love my dogs!" Says a lot about me.

Seam me up Scotty. They expand better and score easier and that goes for the pre shape too.

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

Your doing great, Alan! Fielding the questions with the skill and agility of  Reggie Jackson! 

 I didn't read what the pros have to say. In my mind, Dan, this is really pretty simple and straight forward. 

The Brooklyn Maltese method

1. Seam down in the couch

2. Seam is now up on the flipping board

3. Seam is back down on the peal/baguette pan.

Am I missing something? 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Will, I brought up the question because some very skilled bakers, Martin Philip and Able included, couche baguettes seam side up. It sounded counter intuitive, but being inquisitive...

inquiring minds want to know

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Just as you say, the baguette is top down on the hand peel, but gets easily dropped onto the seam side on the oven peel. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I may have learned why some commercial bakers couche seam side up.

While watching a video the baker couched seam side up. Once the tray of shaped dough filled he placed the uncovered dough into a rolling rack to later be retarded once the rack was filled. He mentioned that if a slight skin was formed it is better on the bottom of the dough rather than the top.

Thus seam side up...

For home bakers, at least for me, it is seam side down for obvious reasons.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

 that I've seen use these.  Zippers on the front.  I'm not too sure that any commercial baker would risk compromising the couched dough by chancing it drying out regardless of top or bottom being exposed to the air for too long.

Your idea is interesting nonetheless

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

It looked like the dough cart would be rolled into a humidified retarder, so the bottoms wouldn’t be exposed to unconditioned air for long.

I was under the impression that the part of the dough that rested against the couche would have some of it’s moisture wicked away. But according to the baker I just watched he wouldn’t agree.

Bread dough, the precise ratio of ingredients, the precision handling, and a bunch of other little things are necessary for consistently excellent bread. I think these difficulties are what draws a lot of analytical and super precise people to baking. The challenge to excel is definitely a big draw for me.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

Dan,

Sounds like a fun thing to test!

I'll do a test run tomorrow with two of my loaves and post the results.

I started down this train of thought today and that was a progression for tomorrow. Alan suggested that my dough could be drying out before I get good oven spring.  I've also noticed that the tops (non-seam side) of the dough is a bit dried out compared to the bottom/seam side. When I bake from a banneton, I haven't noticed the same thing. The top side seems moister.

I baked side by side baguettes and brushed just a tad of water over the surface of one and let it sit for about a minute before baking. The other I left as is. The top that I brushed down had a more even color. The drier surface was much darker and potentially more on the seared versus caramelized color side of things. This would go along with the video you watched.

Jen

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Baguettes done well is an expert endeavor. The signature length, coupled with the relatively small diameter of the dough presents unique challenges for every baker attempting to perfect the style. Open and airy crumb (ideally a crackly crust), uniform shape, and those gorgeous ears make this bread one that is admired by expert bakers and connoisseur alike.

Because of the perceived difficulty of mastering this bread, I chose to focus on shaping and attaining nice, uniform ears. For my initial challenge this is more than enough...

The first baguette bake was shaped as Demi Baguettes and used Alan’s Commercial Yeast formula. Small (150g) breads were chosen. It seemed the small size would ease handling, simplify scoring, and besides they are so darn good looking.

   
As an early bake I was happy with the shape and ears, but should have BF and possibly proofed longer. I think the crumb was under fermented. Notice the dense crumb around the perimeter of the loaf.

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

One of the things that would seem to be a challenge in itself is to figure out the length of the baguette when rolling it out.  In Martin Philip's video, he employs a piece of parchment paper as his guide, ensuring that the length of the rolled baguette doesn't exceed either the width of the couche or the depth of the oven*.

As with other physical endeavors in life, muscle memory in getting the correct rolled out length comes into play.  One should be able to quickly train the movement of the hands and arms.  And to roll out a baguette to within an inch of the desired length on a regular basis.  Without the need for a guide.  But it does take some practice.  I doubt that Mr. Philip ever uses a guide in his real work.

*Some folks, like kendalm, may wish to roll out a full length baguette and then load the baguette into the oven across its width rather than head in.  For beginners, I would recommend against this.

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

No photo description available.

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Early last century the baguette was developed as a way to provide bread early in the day. A new french law limited the hours bakers could bake which forced bread deliveries to late in the day, and meant no fresh bread in the morning. The baguette was more of a long bread stick than a loaf of bread, and it could be built and baked in a short block of time. Soon thereafter creative bakers started augmenting the baguette in many ways, and with many different ingredients, so once again the French legal system stepped in and regulated what one could actually refer to and sell as a "baguette".

The baguette, translated to stick or baton, would have to be created only from wheat flour, water, salt and a leavening agent. The leavening could include a sourdough starter but only in a small, regulated amount. The balance would have to be yeast. The baguette could weigh a maximum of 300 grams and be between 55 and 65 centimeters (22 - 26 inches). Imagine for a moment taking 300 g of dough and forming it into a 65 cm tube. "Stick" or "baton" would be an apt comparison.

Most of us don't have an oven that can bake something 22 - 26 inches long so we compromise. Additionally Americans like to stack things inside a baguette where, in France, this would be uncommon. Here in the US our baguettes have gotten wider and heavier (much like our population) to accommodate our food preferences.

I think Martin would agree that after you have shaped tens of thousands of baguettes, you really don't need a measuring device anymore. With that said, if you want to truly make baguettes in the French tradition, scale everything down to match the requirements noted above.

Happy baking to everyone.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Based on the diagram in M. Calvel's The Taste of Bread, what I bake, and now most of what TFLers bake qualify as Long Batards.  Matching in length, weight and number of scores.  I began to refer to my bakings in most posts as both after reading that description two years or so ago.

 

The too small to read text at the bottom describes a long batard as 350g unbaked weight, 4 scores and length of 13 3/4 to 15 3/4 inches.

For the M. Calvel record, what I bake is a long batard, but given the constraints of the home oven I'm comfortable settling on both terms.

Benito's picture
Benito

You nailed the shape and ear Dan!  Are you happy with the flavour and texture?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The flavor on the CY baguettes were fair at best. It didn’t utilize a poolish, but if it did it would taste much more complex.

They seemed to be under-fermented, so the texture was not what it should have been.

An opinion -
Baguettes, like other breads are judged visually by those on the Internet. What other choice do we have? An Instagram loaf, for example, can have killer looks and taste like a dud. My initial goal is cosmetic, but after that is achieved flavor and texture will be given priority. Jim, aka Jimbtv mentioned above that his present commercial baguettes are not the best looking but his customer insist on it’s flavor. 

Great bread looks phenomenal and taste even better...

Bake #2, below, has good texture, pleasant chew, looks decent. All aspects need improvement, but the bones are there for success.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

These look great and speak to my regular rant about physics and how small loaves respond well in the oven.  This reminds me of docdoughs timelapse on bloom formation.  I think every home baker should do little minis like this at least once to really appreciate how volume and surface are work ;) 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

These baguettes were baked using Alan’s SD formula and method above. Up until this baguette, I thought Commercial Yeast made the best tasting baguettes. These are very good eating. The crust and crumb are substantial but in no way hard to chew. Will SD baguettes have a much better shelf Life than CY? CY baguettes are good for about 24 hr. After that they go down hill quickly, IMO.

  

Each of the 4 loaves below were baked separately with different oven temps and steam settings.  

Bake #1
500F - Steam for first 3 min - 1 min steam after 4 min - 1 min steam after 8 min - Used parchment paper - oven rack 1 level higher than the middle - Backed 20 min

 

 Bake #2

485F - No steam - Heavy spritz after initial load - Additional spritz after 5 min - No parchment - Middle rack - Baked 20 min

Bake #3
485F - Pre-steamed 1 1/2 min - Steamed 2 1/2 min after loading dough - Rack in middle position - No parchment - Left the dough our of fridge and on counter for 30 min - Baked 18 min

Bake #4
485F - Pre-steamed 1 1/2 min - Steamed 2 1/2 min after loading dough - Rack in middle position - No parchment - Left the dough our of fridge and on counter for 60 min - Baked 16 min

For those that are not aware, I use an External Steam Generator. This is how the steam timing is handled. The appliance is nice to have, but is definitely not necessary for great bread. Almost no bakers on the forum use a device like this.

I welcome suggestions and instructions for improvement. I’m wide open to learn...

Danny

Benito's picture
Benito

Good looking baguettes Dan, you’ve obviously done these before.

Benny

alfanso's picture
alfanso

#s 3&4 are superb!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks Alan.

I may have learned something valuable today. I read in Jim's post that he instructs to pre-steam the oven prior to loading the dough. In the past I was of the opinion that pre-steaming was a waste because the heat of the oven would completely dissipate the humidity before the dough was loaded.

You know me. I’ll give most anything a try. The result can be seen in Bakes 3 & 4 of the second bake. As of now, I am a pre-steamer.

Dan

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

The fourth spot cleared the bases. You guys are going to bat around before I get a chance to come to the plate. Really nice crumb with the whole grain version. I would have thought the extreme steam generator would have made the crust more thin and crispy. Is it possible to have too much steam? I want to try this recipe also but I am intrigued by the USA BBGA that I have had my eye on for a while. I never fully explored the poolish baguette or low hydration and they look appealing.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I don’t ever remember baking a bread with a thin crackly crust, so I have no experience there. But I sure would love to...

Wished I wouldn’t have blown the BBGA Team USA Baggy. The formula is intriguing. I haven’t gotten to taste them yet, but will post when I do.

Glad to hear you are joining in.

Danny

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I used Jim’s favorite formula from the Team USA 2008 Baguette Competition. I was intrigued with the fact that it uses 2 pre-ferments (SD & poolish) totaling 43.3% PPF. Haven’t tasted them yet but expect intense flavor from these.

This turned out to be the Bake from Hell! 

  • During the second phase of the dough development, the mixer refused to start. Unable to troubleshoot the problem I elected to finish off by hand. NOTE - later learned the ground fault receptacle had tripped. Problem averted.
  • The dough was developed (in mixer) before remembering that  the yeast, salt, and malt was left out. Had a heck of a time incorporating.  Decided to use lamination to facilitate addition of omitted ingredients. This required a little extra water. 
  • Forgot to preheat the oven, which delayed the completion of the final proof. Thank God, after these debacles things smoothed out :D

They were baked 2 at a time with various oven and steam settings. I went longer lengths on 3 of them this time. The dough was loaded side ways on an improved 22” board. The loading process went off without a hitch. I foresee long baguettes in my future. 22” would be a “legit” baguette.

NOTE - All breads were baked 2 at a time. Bake #1 & 2, followed by Bake #3 & 4.  The following setting were used for all 4 breads.  485F, pre-steamed oven for 1 1/2 min - on the middle rack, and used no parchment. Variations are listed below.

Bake #1 & #2
Steamed 3 min after loading dough (NOTE - after 3 min the oven spring was very noticeable) - the dough were loaded side ways on a custom cut stone to facilitate the long length - Baked 16 min - Internal temp 208F

*** All Crumb Shots will be posted after the breads are sliced. The neighbors are getting "happy feet".




 Bake #3 & #4

Steamed 2 min after loading dough - Baked 14 min - Internal temp 207F


I got to taste this one
. Keep in mind many things were very wrong with this bread. I liked this one less than the first and second bakes. All three bakes used different formulas. So far, Alan’s SD formula (posted in the original post) takes the taste honors.

 



After all of the problems with this batch, I am thrilled they came out at all. The diastatic malt is a great aide for crust browning. A little goes a long way.

Danny

 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

 

This challenge lived up to its name as I had never baked baguettes using a sourdough before nor had I ever used a stiff levain.

My approach was to be true to the Hamelman formula, however, DanAyo recommended from experience, an increase in hydration from 68% to 72% for people who mill their own whole-wheat and whole-rye flour. This was a good suggestion that I adopted. The bread flour I used for this bake is 11.5% protein, and I milled the whole rye and  whole wheat ingredients.

My regular liquid levain is based on white flour at 125% hydration. However, this formula calls for a stiff levain of 60% hydration. So out with Excel spreadsheet and calculated the conversion; a liquid levain to a stiff levain. I let the stiff levain mature at room temperature, about 21°C for 12 hours.

To convert my liquid levain (125% hydration) to a stiff levain (60% hydration)

 

Liquid levain

225g

    

Bread flour

108g

    

Water

 

0

    
 

Total

333g

    

 

That was far too much for my immediate use. Next time I will halve the amount. I guess that is the price of entry into this experiment.

The second build of the levain is at 60% hydration with 20% culture seed from my new stiff levain. I let this mature at room temperature for 12 hours. We are in winter where I live and our house temperature drops to around 17°C/63°F overnight, so I let it go an extra 2 ½ hours after the heater was turned on.

I calculated the final dough weight for 680 grams so I could bake two 340 gram baguettes as that’s the size limit of my oven and pizza stone.

Bulk fermentation for 2 ½ hrs at 24°C/75°F with two letter folds at 50-minute intervals. Then scale and pre-shape, bench rest for 20 minutes. Shape into baguettes and place into folded baker’s linen seam side up. Proofed at 24°C/75°F for 2 ½ hrs. I didn’t retard in the refrigerator.

I inverted the baguettes onto a wooden peel and loaded then into a pre-steamed oven. Baked at 238°C/460°F for 15 minutes, then lowered to 215°C/420°F for the last 10 minutes.

Tasting: My wife is the harshest of adjudicators, and her comment was “Wow! Best Baguette ever. Full of flavour with the wheat taking centre stage”. I guess it won’t be the last I bake these.

Thanks for the opportunity to extend my skills.

Cheers,

 

Gavin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Wow Gavin, those are amazing!  You even got good ears on them too.

Benny

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Thanks, Benny. I even amazed myself :)

I held my breath at every step not knowing what to expect.

Cheers,

Gavin.

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

Another one hit out of the park!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Shaping, scoring and browning was great. The shaped dough looks like even cylindrical columns...

How would you describe the handling of the dough while final shaping, considering you went with 72%?

gavinc's picture
gavinc

The dough was wetter than I've experienced from the time it came out of the mixer. But it was noticeably getting stronger during the bulk each time I folded. By the time I pre-shaped and rested and shaped them into the baguettes, the dough was easy to manipulate while holding their integrity but much softer than I had previously experienced.  I could sense that they were going to respond during the final fermentation. I was excited when I took the lid off my proofing box at the end of the final fermentation to see the baguettes had developed very nicely. The oven spring was great. Thanks for your guidance.

Cheers,

Gavin.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

to pick up your diploma when your name is called.

Gavin

gavinc's picture
gavinc

An honour from you. Cheers.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I'm just another goofball in the crowd that got good from a lot of practice and attention to detail.

Now, had you mentioned the above because my guidance helped you to organize your sock drawer better, well, that would be another thing!

algebread's picture
algebread

Those are some gorgeous ears!

Benito's picture
Benito

Mine weren’t very successful.  I think they maybe overproofed, but unsure how they possibly could have.  They didn’t get much in the way of oven spring and the crust just wouldn’t colour, so I’m thinking over proofing is the culprit.  I bulk fermented at around 80ºF and didn’t see practically any rise in volume.  I haven’t cut them yet, but they don’t look promising.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Maybe a small amount of diastatic malt would help. I know it would fix the coloring. When I think about it, my dough didn’t rise much at all either, but they grew quickly in the oven. What formula did you use?

Many bakers are aware, but it bares repeating. “Because of the unique length to girth ratio, baguettes are a beast to perfect”. On one hand you want a very tight shaped circumference to produce ears, but that same tight shape is apt to restrict open crumb, unless there is relatively huge oven spring to fracture the crust and cause ears and allow space for cell expansion.

It may help us all to consider this. Baguettes are handled very differently from most other shapes. When shaping other shapes of SD we are super cautious when handling the dough. Heavy degassing is out of the question. Preserving the gas, especially when pursuing open crumb is an absolute. BUT, consider the baguette. The dough is patted down aggressively during pre-shape and shaping. Then we take the little critter and roll in around the bench, using some degree of hand pressure to make the high spots conform to desired circumference. Baguettes are unique! I have a long way to go, but the journey is exciting.

It may be that baguettes are more challenging in every way. Think about it. Gluten development, dough characteristics, handling, shaping, scoring, and (as KendalM) is quick to point out the actual baking process with steam. And who knows what else I failed to mention.

Others may have very different opinions. But for me, oven spring is king. “Without oven spring, great bread is not possible.” 

Hopefully others will share their opinions. Most avid bakers are perpetually seeking to perfect their skill.

Benito's picture
Benito

I used the Hamelman recipe reduced to 880 g total dough with the single stage levain at 60% hydration.  I certainly got minimal oven spring.  My second ever baguettes and only successful baguettes which were IDY had good oven spring and that was a major difference between these and those.  I agree without oven spring, great bread is not possible.  

I’ve just cut one open eventhough it is slightly warm to the touch and the crumb is gummy and closed and some huge holes at the top, totally underproofed.  What I’ve been noticing lately is that when I’m using white flour my levain is much slower to rise.  I thought it was the water for a while, but my partner tested it at work and the chlorine levels are really low.

When I make these again, I’m going to have to proof for longer.  I will consider adding some diastatic malt to the dough.

Opinions and suggestions?  I’d appreciate all comments.  Thanks.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, how did the levain ferment go? How much did it grow in height?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, did you mill your whole grain in home? If so, what hydration did you use?

Benito's picture
Benito

I don’t home mill, but I stuck with the 68% hydration as per the recipe.

Benito's picture
Benito

It grew about 80% when it started to level off and lose its dome.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

review this post please http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/59105/1-post-2-builds-3-levains

One sentence summary - don't expect all levains to react the same during builds or refreshes.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, I think 80% levain rise may be your problem. Like you , my 60% levain was done in a single build. Since it was refreshed a day or 2 prior, the levain was built (1:3:3) straight out of the fridge for an overnight ferment @ ~73F. 

This is important. A dry (60% hydrated) starter should rise more than a wet one. In my case the levain more than tripled, maybe quadrupled. It was strong and very domed at maturity. It resembled a ~66-68% bread dough.

It is possible the levain was under-proofed, and because of that brought a diminished number of microbes to the game.

Benito's picture
Benito

I should have expected the stiffer levain to be able to rise more than the 100% hydration levain that I am used to using.  Despite what I originally thought about the appearance of the crumb and lack oven spring meaning over proof, the crumb obviously says that it was grossly under proofed.  I will have to do this again and do an overnight longer cooler fermentation for the levain.

A question for you guys, what sort of rise did you see with your doughs at the end of bulk fermentation when you called it?

Thanks for the help guys.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

If I remember correctly, my dough (during BF) rose in typical fashion to other doughs for other breads. It was doomed, a little airy, strong. But didn’t have a super high rise, maybe 30-50%. But that is from memory, 3 batches of baguettes ago.

I am under the impression that baguette dough should not be allowed to rise excessively. If it did, how would we shape it?

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks Dan that is helpful.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Most major flour mills in the US, and I'd guess in Canada too, already add malted barley flour.  a few grams per K may grant a darker crust.  I don't know the ratio but it is minuscule.  Any more than that would render the crumb gummy.

dmsnyder paraphrased: Shape the dough using an iron fist inside of a velvet glove.

Some of what I wrote back to Will above: kendalm is a great believer in the "heat blast" method for his baguettes, and baking the devils at 500dF or higher.  I find 500 in my oven on my deck to be scorchingly too hot.  But that initial heat during steam time is essential to getting good oven spring.  

Check list:

  • What temp did you bake at?  Did you give the baking deck sufficient time to reach temp too?  
  • What are you using for steam creation and did you leave the oven sealed shut for the entire steam session?
  • How long did you retard the dough?  
  • Do you think that you had good gluten development during  BF and that your Stretch and folds, however done, were sufficient to enhance the redistribution of internal gasses and the gluten structure?  Was your final S&F done with a gentle hand or was it manhandling?
  • Do you feel as though you applied "appropriate pressure" on the dough during final shaping?  
  • Did you deflate the dough during pre-shape with a too aggressive pre-shape?  Pre-shaping the dough should be done with just as, if not more so, a gentle hand than final shaping.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Alan, of all the points listed in your checklist, gentle pre-shaping grabs my attention the most. In an effort to develop a tight gluten skin, I may be stretching the pre-shape too much. I’ll have to try a few pre-shapes tight and a few loose next time for comparison.

Thanks

Benito's picture
Benito

Alan, I heated the oven at 480ºF for 50 mins and baked at 460ºF.

I used a cast iron skillet heated with the oven and poured 1 cup boiling water into it after the dough was loaded (it had a small amount of water left when the 13 mins steaming was over.  I also had a loaf pan with a towel and water in it heating the whole time the oven was one including the pre-heat.  It has plenty of water in it at the end of steam and I did not open the oven during steam.

The dough was retarded over night for about 14 hours.

Very good gluten development but the dough was under proofed probably as identified as the levain being under fermented.  This was probably the main problem.

My pre-shaping was a bit too tight, I went into shaping mode and realized it too late.

I think I did an ok job with the shaping with good pressure.

I am going to do an overnight levain and hopefully have better luck, I don’t think I have enough time today to start again now.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

It seems high heat = more chewy crust and crumb. I would like my baguettes to have a lighter bite and chew.

Is it possible to get a more tender baguette and at the same time produce huge oven spring and nice ears. Can we have it both ways?

Update - if bread s wrapped tightly in plastic wrap it will soften considerably in a few hours and especially overnight.

I am still very interested to learn to bake the baguette with a softer chew and bite, if possible in a home oven.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

A thin crust and a soft chew are what I like in an baguette and that is what IDY brings to the table. The sourdough is still there for flavor but to get oven spring that is strong and reliable plus ears and a strong bloom the CY in small quantities is a big help. It might be an affront to the SD purist which I once was but I prefer my batons yeasted. As Martin Phillip stated recently that yeast is just another tool in the box.

 

GlennM's picture
GlennM

I didn’t have any whole wheat flour so I subbed in hard red wheat. They turned out quite nice, the crumb is not as open as I hoped for but the flavour is great

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Outstanding backyard photo, Glenn. You could sell that one...

Milled Hard Red Wheat is whole wheat flour.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

**Working on the photo size...sorry!

 

First off, many thanks to Dan and Alan! There is much rejoicing from my baguette loving crew over this community bake. They may change their minds in a few weeks.

For this first attempt, I followed Alan's formula exactly in measurements and timing. I retarded directly after shaping and baked directly from the fridge. My main change was using a cloche instead of steam.

I baked them in three batches with the difference being a proof time at room temperature before baking on two of the batches.

THE CONTENDERS

#1 Baked directly from fridge, cloche 10 minutes

#2- 30 minute proof at room temp, 10 minutes under cloche

#3- 60-minute realtemp proof after fridge, 10 minute under cloche

 

Side-by-Side Comparison

 

 

The Good The Bad and The Ugly

This is my third time ever making baguettes. I plan on using Alan's shaping technique because it is much better for me than the others I've tried. I think I deflated the dough too much in the past with the other methods. 

From the pictures batch 1 looks the best on the but that's only from the scoring. They were actually much less rounded and didn't have good height and form. 2 was better and 3 was the best. I'm not sure you can tell from the pictures but while one had decent sized holes the surrounding dough wasn't as well distributed with holes.

I think the problem with #1 is that my kitchen is 70 degrees. Alan's kitchen is 78 to 80. I can't speak to his fridge but the fridge that mine go into is the spare used only for long term storage and is seldom opened. Its as close to freezing as you can get without freezing. I think while his baguettes can go directly into the fridge and still get some proofing mine simply cool down too much to have any appreciable proofing in retard. Hence underproofed without extra time after removing from retard. I think my next batch I need to experiment with a room temp proof of 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes before retard and then score and bake directly from there.

I prefer scoring a cold dough. I could alternately experiment with doing a room temp proof only after retard and then putting it in the freezer for 15 minutes before scoring. I've had very good success with that in the past with other wild yeast doughs.

My oven is both a wonderful thing and a lot to learn. I haven't had it that long but it is both a double oven and a smart oven. It is a standard height with a smaller upper portion and larger bottom one. The upper compartment does not have enough room for steam at all. The bottom compartment potentially does but that it also loses headroom after adding a second rack. It is both flexible and not and I don't have a firm grip on everything yet. I need to perfect both steaming and using a cloche.

Scheming on future bakes...

* Next round- try room temp proof at 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes before retard. Bake directly from fridge. Hopefully this gives me more open scores and a much better appearance.

*Look at trying retard directly after shaping and then room temp proof for 30 and 60 minutes and then 15 minutes in the freezer before scoring. Side by side loaves with and without freeze prior to scoring.

*Side by side loaves of exact method with and without diastatic malt. I forgot to add it this time.

*Scoring practice. Scoring practice. Scoring practice. Scoring practice. Shaping practice. Shaping practice. Shaping practice.

*Play around with steam versus no steam. Possibility of adding a small ramekin of boiling water under cloche to add steam? Concerned that the steam from the bread itself isn't sufficient to get a good rise in that space- particularly when baking 1 loaf at a time.

 

That's round one, anyways. My brain is about 10 bakes ahead right now.

Questions, thoughts, suggestions? What can I do to improve? What am I missing that I should consider?

Muchas gracias all- this should be fun!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Jen, considering this is only your third baguette bake, I’d call this a smashing success! Seriously, this is pretty darn good. IMO, your shaping and scoring are off to a great start.

The crumb looks very nice and you can look forward to even better improvement once you get more oven spring. With explosive oven spring, comes ears.

I wonder if the crust didn’t set to quickly. If that is the case the hardened crust would hinder the bread from opening more. I say that because the crumb looks very nice, but the scores didn’t open much. Others experienced bakers may have helpful input.

What type of clouche are you using? Can you send a link?

How long are your baguettes?

Your top oven (the smaller one) may be the best for bread. Even though steam trays may present a problem, some bakers believe that a small baking compartment is better than a large one. It takes less steam to fill the oven cavity and the dough itself will loose water (steam) in the baking process. You might try pre-steaming the small oven, removing the steam apparatus, loading the dough and then spritzing. Just a thought, but it’s worth a try.

Danny

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

Danny,

Thank you so much!

I baked off one loaf in the upper oven with lava rocks. It was very uneven and I wasn't so impressed. Alan says he has a double oven mine and bakes in the bottom one.

My "cloche" is just a heavy lid to an oval baker but I can't much length with it. I'm putting it aside for now. I like enclosed spaces for my boules and ovals, just so easy compared to steam but it doesn't work out as well.

Baked 2 more rounds today and learned a lot. I'll post all that in a bit.

Thanks again!

Jen

alfanso's picture
alfanso

for a third baguette bake..  Welcome to our little corner of the TFL Universe.

We traded in our single box oven for a double, as you have, a few years ago.  Similar configuration with small box on top, big box below.  I always use the lower oven.  My pan with lava rocks sits directly above the lower heating element, the baking deck two above that.  Which still gives me the majority of the oven box above what I bake.  No scorched tops or bottoms.

Yep, cooler kitchens will require more BF and countertop proofing times.  I almost always bake directly from retard.

It's a close call, but I like what's behind curtain #3.  I gravitate toward a dark bake, and your open crumb is just dandy.

And you have the ticket - few and far between us got it right away as baguettes are a different beast and do take practice and then more practice.

alan

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

Alan- 

Thank you so much! I had better oven spring in the past but I'm learning a lot. And the quality of the crumb is most definitely better now. And your shaping technique has helped A LOT.

I don't know how I lived without a double oven before. I really really want to play with the proofing setting...except I need new light bulbs. Apparently steam and light bulbs aren't a good match!

Happy Baking,

Jen

alfanso's picture
alfanso

that keeps seemingly most the pros shaping baguettes almost exactly the same way.  Fold over 1/3, turn around, fold over 1/3, fold down the length with thumb inside the dough and seal with heel of hand and then do it again. It seems to me a lot of wasted work.  

And when I think of a busy corner bakery where the lone one or two bakers have to put out maybe 100-200 or more baguettes each morning, how do they ever have the time to do so if they follow that laborious technique?  I'm not saying that my way is better or maybe even as good, but it works for me.  And now apparently you too.

I watch a lot of videos where the home baker is treating the pre-shape and shape steps of the dough as a near-religious experience.  Or as I mentioned to Dan the other day concerning one to-be-unnamed baker's video, like a father of a newborn trying to learn to fit a diaper on his first baby.   Not me. I like the attention to detail and always looking to tweak or change to something that might work better.  I can't see myself spending minutes babying a loaf or three.  Just get in there and get the job done.  Also not asking anyone to agree with me and my way of doing it, I'm merely exposing my methods, answering questions asked of me and letting folks decide what is their own cup of tea. 

We replaced our single box oven for a double less than 6 years ago and for the entire time we had it the GE tech repairman and I became first name buddies since he was spending a lot of time and recurring trips trying to repair the oven.  It was defective in its wiring or integrity somewhere along the line and the light bulbs in both the upper (where I don't bake) and lower oven kept burning out within weeks, if that long.  GE refused to acknowledge that it was a dud and swap out the oven for another one even if they likely paid the repairman more in time spent for on-site visits than the oven had initially cost them to build.  "We don't exchange, we only repair" was the help-line GE mantra.  

Until I got the Better Business Bureau involved, delivering my poison pen letter to the President's office.  Suddenly they cared.  At one point some white collar-type from the top of the food chain there was trying to diagnose the problem over the phone with me - this is a person who has no tech or field experience.  Anything other than to admit that the oven was a lemon.  Which they eventually did, and exchanged out the oven for another one.  And now?  No problems for the past 4 years.   

I just checked my records.  Installed late 10/14, the first bulb blew in less than one month.  Over the course of the 13 months before oven was replaced, the service person made at least 7 on site repair visits. New oven installed early 12/15.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I've mentioned this a few times over the past few years, as recently as at the top of this CB posting, about taking the basic formula and changing a thing or two to make it your own.

I needed to refresh my 75% hydration mixed flour levain the other day, and decided to convert the formula to accommodate that.  During autolyse I decided to add 100g of golden raisins (14%)  at the first of the two letter folds.  At shaping I rolled two of the four in bran flakes.

I made it "my own".  Again. 

Edit: I just noticed an error in the spreadsheet where I didn't calculate the levain correctly.  The WW component was left out causing the levain to calculate too light.  The correct amount of levain to be added is 199.7g.  

Say!  Wait one minute.  How could the adding of the "lost 23.4g of WW in the levain calc. suddenly become a 45g difference in the levain added at mix time?

The 20% starter is based on the total flour in the levain column.  Since total flour now goes up so does the starter - that's > 4g more starter.  The water, also based on the total flour, goes up 17g.

23.4g missing WW + 4g starter + 17.6g water = ~45g more levain!

The corrected spreadsheet is

    Total Flour    
Total Dough Weight (g) 1250 Prefermented15.50%   
Total Formula   Levain   Final Dough 
Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
Total Flour100.00%736.2 100.00%114.1 Final Flour622.1
Bread Flour75.00%552.1 59.0%67.3 Bread Flour484.8
Whole Wheat20.00%147.2 20.5%23.4 Whole Wheat123.8
Rye5.00%36.8 20.5%23.4 Rye13.4
Water68.00%500.6 75%85.6 Water415.0
Salt1.80%13.3    Salt13.3
Starter3.10%22.8 20%22.8   
       Levain199.7
Totals169.80%1250.0 195%222.5  1250.0

I was a little disappointed in oven spring, and this may have been the culprit.

As mentioned somewhere upstream on this post and before, early errors are magnified downstream.

305g x 4 baguettes/long batards

Benito's picture
Benito

Very nice, consistent Alan.

I have my levain building I haven’t given up on this yet.  Not sure why, but whenever I build a levain using only white flour it is super super slow.  I know whole grains ferment faster, but the difference is crazy.  The levain started last night before bed at a cool temperature.  At 5 am it had risen only about 20%, fine, so I placed it into the proofer at 80ºF.  It is now greater than double and still rising.  To me that is crazy slow.  If I build any other levain at 1:2:2 with 50% whole grain flour it will double in 4-5 hours.

I’m thinking of inoculating the dough with 0.05-0.1% IDY just to make sure this actually ferments adequately unlike my first embarrassing attempt.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

As MTloaf stated earlier.

For the purists who would never consider an IDY bake or gasp! mixing IDY and a levain, I say "okay".  

For the rest of the baking world, it is a valuable tool.  If not added directly as a component during the final dough ingredients phase, it is also used to build polish and biga preferments which then get added to multi-preferment mixes.

What you may have noticed is that with each consecutive build, they tend to be shorter in duration when done one after the other and the levain gets more potent.  And that may be why a three stage build is a valuable tool for some professional bakers.  White levains are no different, they just don't have the same explosive growth that whole grain levains display on consecutive builds.  And differing hydration levains also behave distinctly different from one another even within the same grain profile.

algebread's picture
algebread

Just got done with the first bake of these, and levain for the next is growing. I will add somep pictures later in the day.

Bake 1

Not the best. Got over-excited and forgot to add salt, then didn't remember until half way through bulk. I laminated in a little salt and water on the second fold, but it was evident in the final loaves that it didn't ever get properly incorporated.

Hot weather plus lac of salt in the dough meant that the dough got a little over-proofed and was quite difficult to shape. Wrestled them into some semblance of baguette-shape, retarded overnight, then baked.

While the final loaves aren't very pretty, they are tasty.

Remark: many sources that I've read talk about how salt tightens gluten, but I've never been able to observe this directly. Since the salt didn't get properly incorporated from folding, there were pockets of very high salt concentration scattered through the dough. Around these pockets, the tightening effects of the salt were very clear. I'm not sure if this is due to salt's chemical interaction with gluten, or just the salt pulling water away from the dough in these pockets.

 Bake 2

Remembered the salt this time.  The edge of one of the upper loaf below dried out a bit in the fridge. Need to make doubly sure to keep them well-sealed on the next batch.

I also went down to a half recipe because the three loaves on the last batch were a little too close in the oven for my liking. Unfortunately, this means less steam under the cover I use. Based on how they looked when I raised the cover, an ice cube or two under the cover would have helped the scores open better. Despite what it looks like on the bottom loaf, when the scores were cut on that loaf, they did overlap.

A question on proofing and shaping:

A problem that I sometimes have when shaping baguettes (and had when shaping both of these) is that the dough sticks to the counter when doing the final rolling step. This stretches out the surface of the loaf, decreasing the surface tension, and simply make the dough difficult to handle without adding a fair bit of flour.

Is this stickiness mainly due to overproofing? It seems to me that older levain also exacerbates the stickiness. Does anyone else have similar experience?

Thanks to everyone everyone for making this an excellent learning experience!

Bake 3

Too lazy to photograph this one. More or less came out the same as the last batch. I added some ice under the cover for extra steam, which improved the crust (shinier, crisper) and allowed the scores to open a little more. The dough problems discussed here made creating tension in the final loaves difficult.

Bake 4

Used only 178g of water and stopped French folds when the dough seemed like it was starting to get sticky (~70 FFs first set, ~120 on the second). The final dough was less sticky and easier to score and handle than in the previous bakes.

The crumb was a bit tighter on this one than the past bakes, and like the past bakes, the loaves lack real ears and have a flatter profile (see the image) than I would ideally want. The loaves already have a flat profile when they come out of retard; I notice that in the Martin Philip video, the loaves have a much rounder profile when they come off the couche. I can't tell which of overproofing, poor shaping, or an insufficiently supportive couche (cotton towel for me) is the main problem here.

Notes on FFs

I rewatched Alfanso's videos on FFs for the Bouabsa baguettes and found it interesting to contrast my dough with the video.

Start: The Bouabsas as wetter than my dough, but even so, my dough is much smoother, tighter, and less wet-looking before FFs

First set of FFs: The Bouabsas start very wet and slack. Within a few turns, they become ropy and towards the end of the first set of folds they begin to smooth out. My dough starts dry enough that I need to apply at least a little force to get it to fold; I can't just toss it as in the video. While my dough does not feel very developed at this point, it does feel like dough rather than slop. After 30 or so FFs, during which the surface of my dough tears repeatedly, it begins to loosen up a  bit and folds more easily, but also starts to feel a bit sticky.

Rest: Both doughs smooth out a fair bit here

Second set of FFs: The Bouabsas look very smooth and look smoother and more extensible as time goes on. My dough starts smooth-ish (less than the Bouabsas), then begins to become more extensible, but also looser and stickier as a whole. My dough also looks much less shiny that the Bouabsas, although it's hard to tell how much is differences in lighting and whole grain content.

A naive question about FFs

Why do we use FFs for baguettes? From poking around the internet and some older cookbooks, it seems like this is the traditional method for developing them. Is there a reason that this is preferred to, for example,  the S&Fs employed for txfarmer's 36 hour baugette and the San Joaquins?or other methods?

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Sorry to read of that error.   My M.O. is to have all components lined up for inclusion as required.  During autolyse, I place the dish with scaled out salt on top of the vessel's cover so it cannot be forgotten.  Same with bassinage water, oil and add ins during the first fold.  

As I wrote yesterday and then again just minutes ago - early errors are magnified downstream.

Salt as an initial component or to be avoided too early in the process.  What say ye, yes or no?  Let's let Martin Philip state it himself on this IDY Classic Baguette video. Levains too?  Jeffrey Hamelman, and again with Trevor J Wilson .  I'm not promoting it, merely exposing the methods of some experts.

algebread's picture
algebread

This sounds like a good thing for me to start doing.

Got it safely into the dough this time around in any case :)

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

When I close the seam mine always sticks to the bench and I have to use a scraper to dislodge it. If it starts to stick, stop and fix the problem. I do a loose pre shape and the exposed innards are always sticky so I start first by patting it with a floured hand but not so much that it doesn't seal properly. Having a small pile of flour on the bench to rub your hands in helps while trying to keep the bench clean so that it will roll and not skid or slide.

algebread's picture
algebread

I usually keep some flour on hand, but perhaps I should be less sparing in my usage. Thanks for your thoughts!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

although the crumb and shaping look really good.  The second batch takes a blue ribbon home, again a nice crumb.

If you follow the formula and it worked out to 68% hydration, the dough should be supple and easy to work with.  What is your work counter made out of?  Watch the Martin Philip rolling baguettes video again and pay attention to how he deals with flour on the workbench.  He is also working on a maple bench which give him an advantage over most other materials.

Once more we can dispel to the world of high-falutin' high-hydration bakers that we can achieve a lovely open crumb structure at below 70%.

algebread's picture
algebread

The dough is very extensible, but also seems a little shaggy. When doing the French folds, it seems to become more shaggy at first, and then less shaggy, but only up to a point. The appearance of shagginess mostly goes away after resting, but sometimes returns when I need to work with the dough again.

Maybe I should just drop the hydration by a couple percent? It has been very humid here the past week or so. My apartment's counter is some kind of laminate. It is very smooth and non-porous.

I'll definitely give the Martin Philip video another look.

Thanks for all your advice!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

person on the CB to report on a shaggy and/or wet dough.  My flour is supermarket AP flour - actually a mix of Walmart AP, all I could find at one point, and Pillsbury Bread flour, blended to try and emulate my typical King Arthur AP flour at 11.7% protein.  The WW is KA WW.  And I can find nothing more than a somewhat stiff but quite pliable dough during the French Folds.  

What I do find is that this dough, as with many other doughs, tends to become thick loop of "rope" as it is being FF'ed.  Then it comes together after another ~20 FFs, and eventually we repeat the rope/no rope routine, even after the 5 minute rest period.  By the time it is ready for the first Letter Fold, the dough has relaxed completely and the gluten has become well developed.  At this point it is completely pliable and quite extensive without being slack in any sense.

Without being elbow to elbow with someone else, it is beyond me to diagnose why you are experiencing this slack and sticky dough.  As Mr. Philip demonstrates and MTloaf mentions, beware of copious dough on your workbench.  Your dough will become too slippery to easily roll and could incorporate some raw flour ending up with a white vein running throughout the loaf.

alan

algebread's picture
algebread

This is quite a mystery: I am currently using KA AP and WW.

One possibility that comes to mind is the water: we have very hard water here, (> 300 PPM). The KA website says that hard water has a tightening effect on gluten and slows fermentation (I definitely noticed the second one when I moved). Perhaps the hard water causes the gluten to be tight enough that 300 FFs will actually over-work it? The way the dough becomes shaggy does seem a bit like dough that has been manipulated to the point of gluten break-down.

I've already mixed batch #3, but for batch #4 I'll trying doing fewer French folds and get back with the results.

algebread's picture
algebread

Well, after today's run, I think that it's either bad FF technique or some aspect of the weather that I'm managing poorly.

For today's batch, I did the development in a food processor (three 30 second pulses with 5 minutes gap between each). The dough that emerged was smooth and shiny rather than rough. The weather also cooled off by ~10F and was much less humid, so the bulk ran slower, although the final degree of proof seemed about the same. The dough was smooth and easy to work with. Hopefully it will show in the bake.

 

Benito's picture
Benito

OK I think I have figured out what is happening with my starter and sourdough bread.  As soon as it got warm here in Toronto, I noticed that my starter was very sluggish compared with the winter.  It didn’t make any sense to me, I proof in my proofer and even the flour is the same that I feed it.  But bake after bake was underproofed or really slow to ferment.  I’ve always filtered and left water out overnight to use for sourdough.  So finally I looked into the water treatment in Toronto and it looks like in the summer months they add chloramine to the water in addition to the chlorine.  Well of course the water filter doesn’t remove chloramine very well and leaving it out overnight does nothing.  Aiya!!!  I will have to start buying bottled water for baking sourdough from now on, frustrating, well at least this explains things now.  Once it gets cold again I guess they will stop using chloramine so I can go back to just using filtered water.  I hate the idea of all those plastic bottles I will be buying and recycling, it seems so wasteful especially since recycling doesn’t always get recycled.  Also, living in an apartment, we just don’t have that much storage for big bottles of water.  Oh well, at least I think the mystery is solved.  Once I get some bottled water I will have to do a test and feed two starters one with the filtered and the other with the bottled water and see how they grow.

Anyhow, the baguettes are shaped after a really really long process but the IDY 0.1% did help the bulk fermentation move along better.  Using the aliquot jar I think I hit 30ish percent rise so fingers crossed for something good with baking tomorrow morning.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Good catch! Not everyone is a man of science like yourself. As the Coors beer slogan says "It's the water" I consider myself fortunate to have well water in Montana. I read that a charcoal filter like a Brita can remove some of the cloramine and ammonia but it mostly requires an RO system. I suspect water is probably at the root of the problems so many people have been having getting a sourdough started. I wonder if it is even possible to make a starter  and maintain it with bleached flour and bleached water?

Way to take the first bite of the yeast apple. I will be doing the same this weekend. I doubt it will lead to banishment but a better baguette.

Benito's picture
Benito

Well I now have to test my hypothesis.  I will buy some bottle water tomorrow and do a two small levains, one with the filtered tap and other with bottled water and see what the doubling time on them is.

The shaping of my hybrid baguettes went alright I think, fingers crossed they will be at least as good as my Anis Bouabsa baguettes.  I really did love the thin crisp crust on those baguettes.

algebread's picture
algebread

This is quite interesting---I notice after I moved a couple years ago that my starter had changed despite me using all the same flours (some of them brought along on the move). Perhaps the water was the reason.

Hope is works out in any case!

Benito's picture
Benito

Well the proof will be in the test, we shall see. I hope this works.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Benny.. I'm curious to learn what your experiment reveals. I've never had that problem and use the same water you do. My first reaction would be the flour you're using but you've said it's the exact same. But is it the same batch or brand? Maybe something has changed during covid with the supply chain and the brand you're using has changed something before it gets in the bag. The other thought is that it could just be your starter. Maybe a long shot, but worth thinking about. Then there's the comment you made about adding some IDY to your starter, I wouldn't. I think that might change the nature of your starter - you'd have to look that up. Adding iDY to a dough with levain is one thing. Adding IDY to your starter I'm not sure. Let me know about your water test. If I miss the post message me when you put it up. Good luck!

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Frank, I am truly hoping it is the water and not my starter, however that becomes harder to accept as the cause if you haven’t noticed any change in your starter behavior recently with the change in weather since you use the same water.

When I mentioned adding some IDY to the dough, I meant this particular baguette dough and not my starter.  My starter will remain unadulterated.

In terms of the flour, I have been feeding my starter the same whole organic red fife that I buy from 4 Life in Kensington Market.  It is sold in bulk and is labeled to be from the same mill.  I bought quite a bit so the batch was the same from the time prior to and after the change in vitality of my starter.

I am heating the oven now to bake my sourdough bread and then hybrid baguettes.  I will head out to the store later when they open to get the bottled water and do the test.

Benito's picture
Benito

Well I believe I am wrong about it being the water, I now think it is just my starter being slow.

This is four hours after a 1:2:2 feed, TW is tap water and BW is bottled water in this case spring water.

They have essentially the same rise and neither has hit double yet after four hours which seems a bit slow to me.

I’m going to take Dan’s advice and build a new starter from a bit of my old one and feed it rye for the next while and see where that gets me.

Frank, thank you for chiming in letting me know that you weren’t having any issues with our water, much appreciated.

Benny

Benito's picture
Benito

Five hours later after the 1:2:2 feed they have doubled.  Does that seem slow to you folks or OK?  I’d appreciate your opinions.  Oh yes I fed them whole red fife.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I need to know the room temp in order to venture a guess.

For example
Doubling in 5 hours at 84F, not good.

Doubling in 5 hours at 75F, good.

Benito's picture
Benito

Sorry to not be specific, room temperature today was 80-82ºF.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, it would be nice to get the starter to double in 3.5 - 4 hours at 80-82F, assuming you are mixing with RT water.

Give the rye feed a try. Once built up, I think you’ll see a more active starter. If you want to cycle the feeds faster, start with 90F water and ferment at 84F. The more feed cycles you give it the stronger it should get. In 2 or 3 days with aggressive feeding it should be hot to trot. Like I wrote you, if you can’t watch it, then feed a higher ratio and/or temporarily put it in the fridge while away. Let is just begin to recede before re-feeding.

Let us know your results.

Benito's picture
Benito

I will start my starter on a rehab program tomorrow morning and see how it goes.  I’m sure the rye will kick start it.

Thanks Dan.

Benny

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Benito - I tried an experiment a while ago and found that unbleached AP flour gave my starter the best and quickest rise over bread or a blend of bread and whole wheat. You might want to try another experiment trying the same with your starter.

Benito's picture
Benito

Frank that is actually a good idea, but the levain I built for this bake was an all AP levain and it was very slow, which is what lead me to wonder about the water vs starter.  I have another experiment going right now looking at another hypothesis, after that one is complete I may then run a third with your suggestion.

 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I have found that an entirely fed WW starter is a little more temperamental and a white flour one to be less so. I feed mine with white flour that has 5%rye four added to it like Kristen from Fullproof does. My starter peaks in seven hours and nearly triples in that time especially now in the summer months. It has a lot of strength and does not tear apart easily. Today 160 grams went right up to the lid in a two cup mason jar. 

Benito's picture
Benito

I’m not sure what led me to decide to feed my starter all whole wheat, I cannot recall.  Interesting about using AP since it is the least expensive and most widely available.  I’ve avoided doing a blend to feed for lack of storage space for another container of flour, but I might so something like that once I get my starter more robust.  Thanks for the suggestion Don.

Benito's picture
Benito

Dan said it was alright to keep you guys updated with my trials with my starter rehab.  I decided also to do another experiment to compare different flours as feeds today.  I hope you don’t mind me posting here.

Yesterday I started an offshoot of my original starter John Doe two feeds of whole rye 1:2:2. This morning prior to doing another feed I decided to compare three different flours as feeds, each 1:2:2, AP, vs Red Fife vs Rye - each using the newly fed rye starter.  I also as a control, fed my original starter 1:2:2 with Red Fife.  The water used was filtered tap water at room temperature around 76ºF this morning.  Then each went into the proofer at 82ºF.

After four hours.

L to R Control with old starter fed red fife, the next three used the new offshoot rye starter fed L to R Rye, Red Fife and AP.

Old starter

Rye Starter fed Rye

Rye starter fed red fife

Rye starter fed AP.

The old starter is certainly less vigorous than any of the offshoot starters fed twice yesterday with rye.

Rye is the most vigorous and rise about 1.5 x, red fife is next more vigorous rising 1.25 x and AP least vigorous of these three with a 1x rise.  I’m letting them go further since they are all domed and rising still.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Maybe you removed the covers, but if you are not using them, the domes will dry out and not stretch well.

I know Brod & Taylor claims humidity with the small tray, but I’m not buying it.

You should have a very active starter soon. Looks like water was not the issue.

Benito's picture
Benito

You’re right I hadn’t covered them, I fixed that.

8 hours into 82ºF fermentation, again same order L to R, original starter with red fife, new starter fed rye, new starter fed red fife and new starter fed AP.  

They had all peaked by 8 hours the time of this photo, I was working and missed the peak but each had started to fall and lost their domes except the rye starter fed rye, it was domed but appeared to be falling.  I’d say at peak closer to 7 hours the ones made from new starter fed rye and red fife had grown the most and were 2.5-3x, AP was very similar just a bit less and the original starter was slower and less than 2.5 x.

The new starter I’m doing another feed of rye today and then maybe a couple more tomorrow then on Wednesday I will switch it to WW again.  I’ve always found AP to rise the most slowly just like doughs with little whole grain, they have always fermented more slowly than whole grain doughs.  Hopefully I can get a levain started on mid day so I can bake something Thursday to bring for a visit to family on Friday.

Thanks for helping with my starter issue and I’ll try not to clutter this vast thread with more starter posts.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

I, for one, find it interesting. This is a direction I think I'll be heading soon as I strive for more oomph in oven spring. Are you intending to try the baguettes with each starter?

I'm itching to try messing with this (original one posted, not revised) but I feel like I've got 6 batches or so before I head that direction. On the verge of nailing some things down.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with your new starters.

Benito's picture
Benito

I’m going to be giving the new offshoot rye starter another day of rye feedings then move it to WW.  

The smaller starters I did were experiments. I wanted to know if there was a difference between the new starter vs the old when being fed the same WW, there definitely was.  I also wanted to know what flour feeding gave the fastest and best rise, and based on my experiment for my starter it would be rye, then WW then AP.  I wasn’t intending to keep those test starters going, I just need one starter that is strong, having so many would seem a waste of flour and space in my fridge for me.  But the experiments were all useful learning for me.

Benny

Benito's picture
Benito

Duplicate

pul's picture
pul

All ingredients were used in the same proportion as Alan's formula included by Dan at the head of the call for bakers. I have only mixed AP & bread flour in the same proportion and also used a stiff 50%-hydrated levain, which was built in two stages as well. The hydration in the first stage was 100%, while it was 50% in the second. Another difference is that I was too lazy to apply 300 French folds, so after autolysing I only slightly kneaded it for 1 min and applied 4 sets of double-handed stretches and folds with the dough in the fermentation bowl every 40 min. I really enjoyed working with a 68% hydration dough. The crumb turned out great, soft and airy, while the taste was superb and crunch. It did not even cooled down properly and I cut one open.

Thanks Dan and Alan for organizing this CB.

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Peter, did you use home milled grain? If so, how would you describe the dough?

I mixed another batch today and measured the water. Since using home milled grain, the hydration was upped to 71%. But since I also didn’t slap and fold, the dough may have worked at 70% hydration.

Like you! I elected to allow the dough to develop using time rather than aggressive manipulation. Going to give that a try.

Danny

pul's picture
pul

Hi Danny,

They are all off-the-shelf commercial flours. AP from KA, bread flour from Pillsbury, and old batches of whole wheat and rye that I still have in storage. My whole wheat is quite course. You can even see the bits of bran on the crust picture.

I did not have issues with the water content, although I think the flour could take more water. I have not retarded and after bulking for 3.5 hours, I divided and pre-shaped into boules. Rested on the bench for 40 min before final shaping. Final proof took about 1.5 hours before baking in the oven with steam generated by pouring water on a cast iron skillet.

I need to work more on the shaping to make the baguette more uniform across its length, even though I enjoy the rustic irregular form of the first batch.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

And welcome to the club!  As you've now experienced a 68% dough like this is really a delight to work with.  At times it feels like it wants to help us roll it out.

Awaiting the next round.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I love the crumb in these. My target for next time. 

 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Nice symmetry, very tidy. I am intrigued by how the light can change the perception of the crumb from white with brown specks in the sunlight to a tan shade in indirect light. I notice the same thing in my photos.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

(Can one get thrown out for baking too much?#!)

So round 2 and 3. I did two batches, exact same method for mixing, etc.

I decided I needed to quantify things. So from now on, my loaves are 17". 3 loaves per batch. Bake 10minutes with steam or covered, then remove steam, 7 minute bake, 3 minute oven rest and remove.

Batch 1- retarded 1 loaf immediately after shaping, 1 after 30 minute rest, one at about 50 minutes. Fridge to oven baking. The results were as expected- preferred the 30 and 50 minute ones.

 

Batch 2-

Tried baking in the upper oven with steam. Finish wasn't good and burned out another light..boo hiss! No pic.

Experimented with a cover again. I like the ease of using a cover but I'm baking off my baguettes one at a time while I'm learning so much. (And my oven lights will stop busting from the steam then.) As opposed to a boule, that's not much dough to create steam under the cover. I used Sylvia's towel idea under a large aluminum pan with the baguette next to it. Guess what???? You can have too much steam. I'm going to back down to a washcloth instead of a kitchen towel, inside a very small bread pan. While the excess steam destroyed the structure of the loaf, I'm much happier with the oven spring! Should be fun to play with. The crust was thin and the crumb was real soft.

It convinces me that Alan is right and my other loaves are drying out too fast. I improved the steam a lot today- Sylvia's towel and lava rocks. There's a learning curve and room to grow.

Mixed dough 5 minute in kitchenaid, then 150 slap and folds. I feel like the crumb was less open. Might be an acceptable loss while working on steam, shape etc.

And...I switched to a new blade brand for my lame on the last loaf. So much better quality. Cut like butter! My yucky cuts now make sense.

Tomorrow adding diastatic malt. Scoring practice.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

We're stuck with you ;-) .

Super word of caution.  Your loaves are already well caramelized.  Most flours in the US and likely Canada from the major mills  have malted barley flour aded to them already. If you add more than a pinch, you can look up recommended amounts, your crumb may well turn gummy, a complaint I've seen on TFL numerous times.

Quick analysis:

  • I create what dabrownman refers to as mega-steam in my oven and it is never too much.  But there's a certain point where you have to vent the oven to release the steam, as you are already doing, and allow the bake to finish.  As your loaves certainly seem to abide by.  I go for a full 12-13 minutes of steam, some will only do about 5 minutes.  You should decide which one suits your needs best, anywhere along that scale of time.
  • Uneven coloration on sidewalls indicate these were baked too close together.  Except they are baking independently (as he starches his head).
  • Semi-scorched top may be the bake was too hot or the dough was too close to an overhead baking element. But under a baking cover, still scratching his head.
  • "sausage cuts" scoring.  Review my few videos at the top of the post and try to see how your scoring compares to what other and I do and what is different.
  • On a double edge razor blade I'll get 100 or more scores before exchanging the blade tip for the next.  This includes slicing through surface nuts and fruit added to the dough.
  • See companion write-up on my burned out bulb melodrama.  I don't recall seeing others have a similar experience when they steam.
  • Don't give up the ship!
MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Only come with practice. It seems some of yours are cut too much across the axis. Try to stay in the center lane more. The amount of overlap you have is good. Your post bake analysis is spot on and will take you far.  A little more tension in the skin and a baking stone is a big help in the baguette bloom department. I look forward to seeing more bakes from you so post away. 

Benito's picture
Benito

So I’m hopeful that these will have a nice crumb, fingers crossed.  You’ll recall that my levain was super slow even when proofing at 80ºF, so when I mixed this dough I added 0.1% IDY.  This move bulk fermentation along nicely and after about 2 hours had about 30% rise so I pre-shaped, rested then shaped on my cotton couche which I now use rice flour to ensure that there is no sticking and cold retard at 2ºF for about 15.5 hours.  Baked as per recipe.

Here’s the crumb.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, color me impressed. Those are gorgeous! 

Do you think the CY made a large difference?

Benito's picture
Benito

I do think that they IDY made a difference, but of course it is hard to be sure without doing it side by side with and without.  However, bulk fermentation went along more quickly compared to my first try at this so I’d have to say yes it did help.  My shaping is a bit tight in the center compared to the ends, but I cannot complain compared to the horrible baguettes I turned out earlier.  As always, the crumb will tell whether or not this was a good bake. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Duplicate, I’m really sorry I keep on double posting, not sure why.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

there are times when the website takes way too long to post a comment or posting.  Just a software thang I guess.  But we users think that our first delivery of the comment didn't go through and then do a resend.  Hence the double post.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

A world of difference from your past bakes, especially the most recent.

Baking reminds me of bowling.  Once I stopped bowling regularly in leagues in my early 20s my times at the bowling alley  were few.  By the second game I was trying to analyze too much and overcompensated for what I thought had to be corrected.  I was thinking things through too much.

And I've seen myself do that occasionally with baking as well.  Maybe that's you too.

Benito's picture
Benito

Hi Alan, thanks for the comments on my fourth go at baguettes.  The shaping went better than before, I was trying to get thinner profiles on them and I think I achieved that, however, the centers are thinner than the ends, I’ll work on that in the future.  

I am pretty analytical and yes I will sometimes over analyze things and then over think them.  However, my first bake here was just a disaster with my levain.  I’m going to try to figure out my starter and water and test my theory today, but Frank says he is using filtered Toronto water and is fine, which leads me to think that it is my starter.  Also, if I were to try this again, perhaps I should follow the two step levain build to see if I can get more oomph from my levain build.

Benito's picture
Benito

Oh I should mention my steam set up and what happened at bake.

I do have a towel in a loaf pan with water along with a cast iron skillet that I place 250 mL of boiling water into after loading the baguettes.

I accidentally pre-heated the oven at 550ºF when I was on autopilot from baking pizzas this week.  About 10 mins before taking the baguettes out of the fridge, I noticed that the temperature was way too high and turned it down to 460ºF.  I wonder if heating it super high might have helped the oven spring?  The bottoms of the baguettes didn’t burn so perhaps the high temperature was helpful.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

The best ones yet. We are going to give you a mulligan on your previous bake. Way to call an audible and adjust your methods to suit the circumstances. The baguette brigade will be recommending you for officer training. I would highly recommend that you get a flax couche and training it with white flour. I got mine from King Arthur and like it very much. 

Benito's picture
Benito

I appreciate the mulligan Don!  Yes if I am going to bake baguettes now and then I should probably get a proper flax linen couche that way I don’t have to contaminate my pastry cloth with rice flour.

Yes this bake was definitely the best of the four sets of baguettes that I have baked, good enough that I ate one for lunch.

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

Wow, benny.

 Way to make a dramatic comeback! I love everything about these baguettes! Congratulations! 

 Question for you, at 2 degrees F, your freezing these for the 15 hr. retard? 

Benito's picture
Benito

I’m sorry Will for my error, I’m always switching back and forth when typing ºC vs ºF and make errors because of this.  I had my fridge down to 2ºC because I was very wary of the addition of IDY causing over proofing while the shaped baguettes were in the fridge.

 

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

I had a feeling that was it.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Well done Benny! Nice shape, score, crumb and colour! Good eats indeed!

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Frank they were my best baguettes so far. Hopefully I will have a chance to try again this week. 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Benny, very nice. Are still working on strengthing your levain?

Cheers,

Gavin

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo


Baked 4 baguettes @ ~330g a piece. Used Alan’s SD formula above with no CY. The main focus for this bake was a softer crust and crumb. KendalM told me he also likes softer baggies. He told me to bake them hot and fast. They were baked in 15 min @ 500F. NOTE - my oven cooks hot and fast. It always has. The crust and crumb was much more to my liking this time. Thanks Geremy!

NOW, on to the next point of focus. More oven spring... a lot more.
Below are some thoughts. Looking for the opinions of others.
This profile image shows why I think the dough is setting up too early.   Notice how the bottom of the loaf is raised high off the stone.

  1. Initially thought they were over-proofed, but the crumb doesn’t seem to indicate that. 
  2. Starting to believe the crust is setting too quickly. This would account for the very round profile of the slice. The bottom of the loaf is rising high and quickly off the stone.
  3. Considering the possibility of too much steam. I subscribe to Doc’s theory that steam doesn’t facilitate dough stretch, but that it does speed the browning and therefore the setting of the crust.
  4. If the crust is setting too fast the crumb will be adversely affected and the scores will suffer. The oven spring will be prohibited from expansion once the crust sets.
  5. Examine the crumb shot below after zooming in. It seems the center alveoli are rapidly expanding, but because the crust is setting up too fast the outer cell structure is compressed up against the hardened crust.

I may be barking up the wrong tree. If you think so, please share.

     
     

My granddaughter just sliced one.

Following KendalM’s advice to bake hot and fast has produced a softer bite and chew.

Danny

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Looks great - full respect to another side-a-ways loader.   It's kinda normal for the ends to curl up like that but not so normal to have such a round cross section.  I think either the steam is too intense and or the dough isn't relaxed enough.  Hard to say.  As for steam I tend to go really easy on the amount of water I throw only the lava rocks it seems just a little puff does the job and at the end of the day just boils down (no pun intended) to just getting to know your equipment over many iterations.  Of course you have a totally different and sophisticated steam system so I couldn't really comment on how to throttle that bad boy.  Crumb looks amazing ! 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

@Danny - Steam does one thing: it rapidly cooks the surface so long as the dough surface temperature is below the dew point in the oven.  It does not impact browning since browning only happens after the dough surface dries out and heats up to the point where you get Maillard products and or caramelization (depending on which theory you subscribe to).

Nice crumb.

Your round crossection is normal.  If you want it to be more oval, you may want to reduce the protein content of your flour or proof a little longer or reduce the oven temperature a little.  Once the surface is set, you have defined the length of the perimeter. The dough will expand until the hoop stress exceeds the dough strength.  It then breaks where you told it to, or where it is weakest in any case.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Good point about the Maillard Reaction. I hope to remember that. 

The loaves don’t actually brown until the very end of the bake. I mis-communicated... The crust hardens way before the browning is done.

Doc, do you have a profile image (slice view) of your baguettes? Also an image of your Demi’s?

alfanso's picture
alfanso

to give that baguette a shave!  🎵Oh Danny Boy, baguettes baguettes are calling🎵.  I'm beginning to think that you organized this CB just so that you could practice and demonstrate your skill set here!  Good shaping, good scoring, great crumb - it's all coming together now.

And again, another demonstration that we don't have to go with a high hydration dough to get an open crumb, although I think that you are breaching that 70% mark due to your flour.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

The bottom would not be lifting off the stone as much if it wasn't hardening too soon or underproofed and it is obviously not under fermented. A proper steaming would create more of a sheen to the crust and less of a matte finish. Besides the oak bench your breads sit upon that is very recognizable, your other bakes have a similar look to them and as I recall, we discussed this issue previously. I don't remember if your oven is gas or electric?

My oven which is oddly made by Frigidaire (they apparently don't have a marketing dept.) is a base level non convection model that fortunately for me seals really well and doesn't require much effort to humidify it. My reading glasses fog up everytime I open the door even long after I remove the steam pan. I just ordered the 20 inch stone for my oven and am hoping it doesn't mess up the airflow.

All of your very fine efforts are being thwarted by your baking set up it seems to me. Maybe you could try a bake in a friends or neighbors house to see if there is a difference. 

There is a great section in The Bread Builders book that describes what happens when bread goes into the oven. I am going to read it again to see if I can find any clues.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

as that is fairly sure sign of lack of steam.  However Dan's baguettes get a really fine grigne, so I was reluctant to stick my neck out and say it first.  Instead, I'll say it second!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

MT,  can’t know for sure if your observation is wrong, but if it is correct I’d be very surprised. The only possibility that I can justify lack of steam is the consideration that my oven is leaking steam in buckets. I’m not completely ruling out that possibility. I can say that blisters and shiny crust is not a common occurrence for me.

When the oven cavity fills with pressurized steam it does leak through a vent in the bottom of the oven door. This can be seen in my time lapse videos on YouTube (notice the steam escaping the oven in the very beginning. That steam is escaping inbetween the double glass in the oven door. Though about blocking the vent, but was concerned about harming the electronics in the oven. This last bake was pre-steamed and utilized the External Steam Generator plus a cast iron pot loaded with lava runs and 8 ounces of boiling water.

For best viewing use THIS LINK

I would love to find any issues with my baking process. 
Danny

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I was thinking as Kedalm says that there is too much steam. I was talking about a leaky oven in that it causes some like me to overcompensate. I had an oven with a warped door for a while and it was frustrating.

From The Bread Builders "Moisture and heat are the secrets to chewy and colorful crust- the kind of crust that is hard to produce in a metal kitchen oven. The degree to which starch in the dough will gelantanize depends on the presence of adequate available moisture and the maintenance of temperature within a specific range. Because bread crust dries out in the later stage of baking it's temperature will far exceed the boiling point of water, while the crumb will not. This high temperature sets (dehydrates) the starch gel, but excessive drying will burn it."

It doesn't make sense since you obviously have plenty of moisture but maybe the excess steam is taking you out of the of the specific range of the temperature required. Maybe some of the pros can chime in hear but I doubt your bread would come out the same in my oven.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

the venting issue would be make two loaves, not baguettes, and bake one in a DO and the second with the steam generator.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Been there, done that.

For best viewing use THIS LINK.

If you pause the video at 0:43 you can compare the covered vs steamed. Notice the lack of sheen and lack of bubbles on both dough.

Don, I really appreciate your thoughts and help in troubleshooting this.

Danny

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Of course you have. In my oven the top element does not come on for baking. Does yours? I have recently switched to putting a sheet pan on the very top rack and pouring about of cup of boiling water in it after loading. I am not suggesting that method but maybe putting a sheet pan above the bread so that it receives the blast of steam and the loaves are protected from that and would remain cooler but still benefitting from the humidity.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

MT, a few years back I looked into the possibility that the top element was coming on during the bake. Unfortunately, I don‘t remember what I learned. But the oven is now set to 375F and baking Lassagna. My back could use the rest so I laid on the floor looking up for about 15 min and never saw the glow of the top element.

My oven cooks super even with no hot spots ever. I mentioned in another post that all of my bread bakes are considerably quicker than the recommendations and even other bakers on the site. Today I’ll be baking KendalM’s baguettes. I am considering reducing the temp to 450F.

Can you imagine how great it would be for me if this could be solved?

Thanks,
Dan

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The concern here is too much heat on the top of the loaf causing the crust to set (harden) pre-maturely. This would cause the oven spring and ears to be reduced or completely eliminated.

Even though there was no visible sign that the top heating element was turning on, a thermal log shows that, in fact it is. The two lighter lines located at the very top show the heat levels captured by two probes. It seems the top element is cycling on and of during the bake cycle. The middle line shows the temperature and inch or so above the baking stone. And the lowest line shows the temp at the very bottom of the oven. The oven is a GE Profile Electric.

 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Nice discovery This explains every thing with your bakes.

A sheet pan on the top shelf to use as a shield or use as a steam pan like I suggested above might help a lot. You could then remove it after the steaming phase to help with browning. I hope the venting isn't an issue or I see a new oven in your future. Your avatar is so apropos now.

Don

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Don, I can almost completely seal the oven but I am concerned about messing up the electronics in the Induction stove top.

Getting ready to bake 3 now. Doing Martin’s Poolish Baguettes but the dough is not working out for me. CY is so fast. The dough is too puffy and difficult to work.

Plan to bake #1 using my aluminum cover. Will inject some steam through the port

#2 on stone with pan on top rack to shield heat. Injected steam

#3 stone, pan on top rack, steam n lowest pan with lava rocks.

Bread may not bake up well but hopefully I can learn something about the oven, baking, and steam

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I am in the same boat. I have to cut the yeast by at least half to match the times in most recipes. Some of that might be elevation since I am at 4500 ft. Some of it could be a yeasty environment in our kitchens or our water. I think the mantra of "watch the dough and not the clock" should be followed by"don't turn your back back on it" when CY is in the mix. My poolish was ripe well before the 12 hours. It's a good thing I am an early riser. 

I am betting the oven venting will not be an issue with the top element riddle solved. Some ovens have a setting to control the top element. I have heard others mention that they preheat to an extreme temperature and then turn the oven off for the ten or so minutes of the steaming time before turning it back on.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

I'm thinking a buffer from the upper element is my next step, too. I don't have another rack to put one on (12" total depth of oven) so we are going to have to get creative. Thankfully I have gained the interest of my other half...who is very interested in thermodynamics, apparently!

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

Whoopsie...ignore!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I thought I’d post my “cheater system” for baguette roll out length. I am way away from developing the skills to know the length from muscle memory.

I setup a sort of a “run way”.  Used blue non-stick painters tape. Maybe it will give others some ideas.


I considered cutting the cloche in order to narrow the width, but hated to do so. Ended up placing the couche on a baking tray that was the proper width and folding under the excess width of the flax linen. The extra width was challenging to get a plastic bag to cover.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Finally the weekend is here and I get to bake rather than work. It was helpful to sit on the bench and see a few pitches thrown to know what to expect. I didn't want to wander too far off the reservation while still keeping in the spirit of a baguette with more whole grain. The recipe is pretty much what we call country bread but I like the french word of campagne better. The rye grows wild in the wheat fields there and is harvested along with the wheat.  I make a version of it in my regular sourdough rotation and even an Approachable pan loaf.

My baton preference is the Bouabsa recipe an all white flour yeasted version that to me symbolizes the ideal. I saw a recipe for "country" baguette in the Martin Phillips book that seem to line up with the target so I went with a version of that. His has 15% WW which I changed to 5% and substituted the other 10% with half rye and spelt. It calls for 20% prefermented flour overnight  levain and the IDY kicker( I used half of the called for yeast of 3/4 tsp) with 73% hydration. Total dough weight is 675 gr that I rolled into two and baked sideways to hopefully get a longer thinner stick. A short hand mix, one compass fold and two coil folds in the first hour and another hour before dividing resting and shaping. A one hour proof with no retarding.They didn't want to lengthen without forcing them so I had to settle for short and fat. The cuts were a bit ragged and that I attribute to not enough sleep followed by too much coffee.

MP baton

and the obligatory crumb shot

MP crumb

The crust was indeed nice and crispy and the flavor was much better than anticipated, and plenty sour. I think I can do better with the crumb I may have rushed things a bit and swung at the first pitch. I may try these again tomorrow. I hope I am not considered a heretic for throwing in some yeast but I would encourage you all to give it a try. Thanks everyone for participating and thanks for the information and inspiration Alfanso.

The other one was compromised by trying to stretch the length out too much probably because I folded the preshape on the wrong bias. This is the most sour bread I have had in quite some time. Not sure why but the taste was really exceptional.

second MP

On second thought maybe overproofed a little. First time with a new recipe is always a shot in the dark.

Benito's picture
Benito

They certainly look great to me.  Glad I’m not the only one who did some with a bit of IDY.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

and welcome to the Expand Your Horizons" club.  The crust on these generally is thin and crispy, and there is just enough whole grans in these type of Pain au Levain to keep the flavor so interesting.  Wonderful crumb too.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I'm not much of an innovator like yourself, more of a copy and and hope to improve upon kind of guy. Most of my horizons got expanded in the 70's thank you vey much and I made it through those episodes, at least the ones I can remember. Can't help but think how much more fun this would be if we were all working together in the same big kitchen rather than this new age Zoom format but at least we have this. Life without baseball is bad enough.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

You observation may be correct. I am going to consider blocking off the vents in the door.

Couldn’t agree with you more about sharing a kitchen. The Community Bakes were born from this desire. It’s the best we can do with the Internet at this time.

Keep the ideas coming.

Danny 

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Frirst, Danny, Benito, et al. great bakes. It's great to see the progression of everyone on their own baguette journey.

That said. I'm shattered..

In thinking about steam I looked up Sylvia's original post on creating steam. Unlike Al she puts the pans in empty and warms up the towels in the microwave. I decided to replicate her way. it was all organized. I was on the computer reading the posts above while the oven warmed. Kids started talking, the oven beeped, my brain took a mini-vacation. I had a kettle of boiling water ready to go and I took out the empty - now 475 degree - pyrex dish and put in the soaked towels without remembering to zap them in the micro wave to get them piping hot.  In the moment i look back and realize my subconscious was telling me something as I looked at the pryex quizically for a moment before I placed the first cold wet towel roll into the pyrex using tongs. And then pop and it shattered into a million pieces like a broken crystal glass. Looking back it was kind of cool actually. But thankfully it exploded out sideways and not upward. No one was hurt - other than my pride and it made for an adventurous family story. Immediately I realized that my baguettes were done for. Speckles of glass could be seen on the dough as they were right beside the pyrex dish ready to be loaded. I could pick away at them looking for microscopic shards of glass (some of which I could clearly see as the light sparkled off them) but it wasn't meant to be. I decided to slash and bake them just the same. There would still be much I could learn. But these will be the nicest baguettes I've made that I've had to (sadly) throw out. The last thing I need to is to have someone in the family or me eat a bit of glass.

Here they are. I tried a full long score and the traditional method. Both were lacking but I feel I could now do better seeing how they sprung.

Flour: I'm not able to get access to my usual flour (arva) so this is made with commercial AP flour - not home milled. 

Slap and fold: I decided to make like the french and literally slapped and folded for twenty minutes. The dough was actually much drier than I thought it should be at the outset. That could have just been my flour. I had no rye so substituted that amount with additional whole wheat. I wet my hands along the way and that added a bit more water.

Temperature: my kitchen was warm and running at about 76. when I baked I did so at 475 for the full bake. And i baked on a pizza stone on the middle rack left to right.

Bake time: 12 minutes with mega stream (this time using a metal loaf pans instead of pyrex!) and a cup in the hot lodge cooker. But I wonder if I had too much water in the loaf pans with towels - there was still an inch of water in each at the end of the bake but the lodge pan was dry. I wanted a darker crust (the pictures make it seem a bit darker than it really was) so I cooked for at least an additional 24 minutes after I removed the parchment and rotated the loaves after 12 minutes.

Crumb: very happy with this. I can't imagine more - I really liked it.

Crust chew: ok so I was very very careful and took a sample from the bottom of that open cut baguette. It was good but with a very chewy crust.  Al: I read Danny's comments about maybe crust being chewy because of temp or humidity. What's your take?

Shaping and scoring: I definitely need to practice this. I can see it requires a certain finesse.

Ok. I'll have to try this again so I can actually eat them!!

That's all for now..

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Frank, my vote goes to you for the best crumb so far. I have no idea how it could be improved upon. Maybe a little less glass :D

How was the middle dough slashed? Single or multiple?

I am impressed...

Maybe I need to add 2% crushed glass to mine!

Danny

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

But really it's the magic of being slapped around.. I had an epiphany this year around gluten. I realized that I just wasn't developing enough in my breads and now go out of my way to make sure that i do. Hence the 20 minutes of S&F. And the truth is the 20 minutes actually wasn't that long at all. Well worth the effort. As to slash - can't tell you. don't remember.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Frank, what formula did you use? Was it spiked with commercial yeast?

I hope to see a post soon, showing the same crumb results, less the glass. If you can duplicate that crumb, I’d like to be the first to sign up for your class.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Hi Dan. I used Al's recipe you posted above. No dry yeast added. Thanks for the challenge.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I guess it just goes to show us all, that when the fermentation is perfected, miracles take place.

When it comes to a SD baguette with no yeast, I can honestly testify, that I have witnessed a miracle!

When studying the cell structure in the crumb shot, it appears the elongation of the dough during the final roll out stretched out the alveoli. Notice how all of the cells are elongated along the length. Was the dough super extensible and effortless to roll out? It this thought is correct, your shaping must have been very gentle.

Maybe envisioning nice long elongated cell structure while rolling out the baguettes will help. That vision should encourage the baker to stretch out the dough rather than push down upon it. I’ve watched many experienced bakers shape effortlessly as they seemingly stretched the dough outward with little downward force. It would require the proper dough that wouldn’t resist the hand too much. Anyone can dream, so I think I will.

Good Luck with the next ones.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Lucky or not I'll take the compliments - thanks.

The dough was easy to roll out. Let's see how the next goes.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Sorry to hear about the shards taking away your eating pleasure but that crumb is so good I can almost taste it. It looks like a deeper slash might have helped with the ears and bloom, maybe take a step closer ;) You and I are the opposite ends of the gluten development strategy but I can't argue with your results.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Congratulations, extra disappointing and dangerous. Shards everywhere are a cleanup nightmare.  But it will give you something to shoot for.  

I think your shaping is really good. It's a matter f how to score and have the dough bloom.  I can't imagine how the crumb ever got so open with a bread that didn't fully bloom.

I don't think that I'm sufficiently experienced to have an opinion of Dan's surmise.  I'm not just gonna take a pot shot.  Sorry.

Scoring is the challenge for most of us.  Nothing but either luck, practice  or being one of the rarified few who get it immediately is how to achieve good scores. 

Looking forward to your next bake along with the list of other recruits here.

How I use the Sylvia's Steaming Towel.  It also sits in a pyrex loaf pan.  I pour about 2 cups of near boiling water oven the towel saturating it and filling the pan about half way.  In it goes like that for ~13 minutes when I prefer to score the dough. 

Edited last note.  Without attempting to do it, you've created that elusive pa de vidre / pan de cristal - glass bread! ;-)

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Thanks Al (and everyone else for their comments on my baguettes)..

But let's talk chew. How chewy do you find your baguettes and can you recommend how to make the crust softer to chew without adding IDY.  As I said, of that small piece I treid the crumb was soft and nice, but you really had to work to chew the crust. That said, I could only try a small bit of the bottom crust so maybe that's why. Could it be that while 20 minutes of slap and fold helped to create a great crumb it formed too much gluten and contributed to the chew? Will know more next time when I can actually eat them!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

If you are willing to experiment, see what the protein content of the flours are.  Perhaps go for a lower protein AP flour, or if you can't  then perhaps swap out, let's say, 10% of the AP for a pastry flour to drop the protein.

Also, you may wish to keep a careful eye on the temperature of the bread.  As soon as it hits 205dF internally pull one loaf out and leave another one or two in there to compare it with.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

I'll do that. I think I'll also take out all steam sources after the first 12 minutes. and then once backed for those left in the oven I'll take them off the stone and put them on a rack to cool so air can get all around them. Let's see. I'll give it another go next week!

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Wow, really incredible crumb Frank, really nice.  Sorry to hear about the accident with the Pyrex pan, that could happen to anyone especially when there are distractions in the kitchen. 

I’ve been doing slap and folds with all my bakes as well as I had the same thought about gluten formation in the past as well.

I’m sure your next baguettes will be stellar.

Benny

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

You made me feel so much better! I, too, forgot that Pyrex can shatter like that from a sudden heat change. Several years ago my sister destroyed her kitchen floors when this happened with one on her counter.

I did this this week too. Ugh. Luckily it was a presteam.

Beautiful crumb!

aldeninthemiddle's picture
aldeninthemiddle

It’s a lovely sound when glass breaks haha. I want to ask you, during your 20 minute SF perilous, do you take a break? And also, when I slap and fold for an extended period the dough tears, at which point I stop and wait a bit. What would you do if you encounter that? 

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Around the ten minute mark I stopped for a  minute, but I went steadily through the 20 minutes. I wasn't in a rush. I used the paddle to collect any bits of dough that collected on the board. When dough is on the board the dough you're slapping down sticks to it - so best to keep it clean. It goes by fairly quickly actually..

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I don’t have all the words that earlier posters have on all the technicalities, but here goes.  This is the 3rd time ever that I have made baguettes, the first with this formula (although I am sure I have made it in the past a few years ago as a batard)

I scaled this down to make just 3 baggies.  So late yesterday I did the 1st levain build then at bed time the second.  I milled the rye and the wheat this morning and at 10 am autolysed dough as per instruction.  By 11 the french folds were completed with an additional 15 g water to make dough a bit more extensible.

The letter folds  were completed as per instruction and as per instruction I kept to the BF of 2.5 hours.  Yes dough had risen 50-60% at a guess.  13:30 pm I preshaped and just after 14:00 pm did the final shape.  Dough was very good to work with, not too extensible or too soft. I left them on the bench in floured couch for about 75 minutes before retarding.  At 5 pm I turned on the oven, found my lava rocks and set them up in the top part of the oven (in the past I have put them in the lower section and not been very happy with the result).  The pizza stone was preheated at the same time. About 6:30 pm I removed baggies from fridge and scored them

Oops, sorry it has gone sideways!

After scoring the dough I spritzed it a bit then into the oven preheated to 260°c.  I added boiling water to lava rocks and left for 15 minutes.  I did do a couple of quick spritzes into oven as I never seem to get huge amounts of steam. After 15 minutes I removed lava rocks, rotated baggies and baked for another 12 minutes. 

well, reasonably happy with that!  Now it has cooled here is the crumb shot

still a way to go to get really open crumb but this is the best baggie crumb to date.

Leslie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Leslie, I’m so glad to joined in. If you remember, it was you, Kat, and me that started the first CB featuring Trevor’s Champlain SD! It took place Feb. 8, 2018. That was 11 Community Bakes ago. Tempus Fugit 

  • Your crumb is very uniform and open, a real winner.
  • Shaping is impressive
  • Scoring looks “right on” to me
  • The color is appealing for my taste

How long at they?

I wonder. How can one oven take 27 minutes to bake and another take only 18? A difference of ~7 minutes. Think about the results if you baked your bread an extra 7 minutes. After 18 min @ 260C my baguettes are very dark (nearing burning) and your’s is a beautiful golden brown. I don't think the issue is temperature variance. Is it heat differing heat conduction or radiation? Is it the amount steam that produces high humidity and the resulting wet environment greatly affects the speed and browning? I sincerely hope someone can explain this.

Danny

 

 

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I think I should have made them shorter and fatter - next time perhaps.  I would love to get a darker crust but struggle with my oven, they were a tad darker than they appear in the photo. 

lots of good baguettes being posted.

Leslie 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

What's not to like?  Hi Leslie and welcome back into the baguette fold again.  I think that these are wonderful.  If there's any "wisdom" and advice to provide, it would be don't change anything!  Just more time spent with a minimal number of bakes more and you will have conquered the baguette world.  Really.  So much better than what I recall your previous baguette bakes were.

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I think having the steam at the top helped a bit, and the dough was easy to work with, thanks for suggesting this recipe.  New flour may also have contributed as my other breads have improved lately!

bake happy

Leslie

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Can I attempt using a kitchen towel or is that a recipe for disaster?  

Benito's picture
Benito

Ilene I don’t have a flax linen couche either and have been using a 100% cotton pastry cloth.  I think if it is a heavy cloth without much pile then it can work.  I had sticking when I dusted with flour, but no problems when I used rice flour which I understand the French would really scoff at.  But having the baguette dough stick is worse so until I get a flax linen couche I’ll keep using my rice flour.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Ilene, the dough from Alan’s formula is pretty dry. If it we me, I’d give it a try. Use a cloth that has no knap if possible. A stiffer fabric would be better to hold the baguette shapes. What about something like a pillow cover? You could put an absorbent towel down on a baking sheet, the lay a pillow case over that. A few rolled up towels could be used under the pillow case to make a wall for each baguette.

Improvise and use lots of flour. Rice flour if you have it.

Don’t let the couche s5op you.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

should do it.  Watch how Martin Philip in the video at the top finishes his baguette shaping by sending the baguette through a quick roll in flour.  This should certainly help prevent some sticking.  But also don't ignore flouring whatever you use for your couche.

Good luck and thanks for participating.

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Thanks all for the great ideas! I've never made a baguette and would love to try. Living in a one bedroom apartment with a baby on the way, I just can't accumulate one more thing! 

Benito's picture
Benito

Congratulations on the bun in the oven Ilene.  : )

algebread's picture
algebread

Looks like you've already got a pile of more qualified advice here, but I've been using a cotton kitchen towel for all of my baguette practice in the past month or so. I don't flour it and haven't had any sticking.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Yesterday's bake was not quite what I was hoping for. Some of it was from doing a new recipe for the first time but they didn't go as expected. I consider myself a fairly competent baguette baker. I was pursuing batons long before I even had a sourdough starter. I found TFL looking for help with them and found it in DMSnyders Bouabsa baguettes. It was after then that I noticed that most of the subject matter pertained to sourdough and I soon figured out that that was where the in-crowd was and I read, learned and pineapple juiced my way to a starter. As I flailed away making many of the mistakes I see from others asking for help with today I could still manage a decent baggie and the skills where helpful in the dough handling department in the sourdough venture.

So this morning I thought I had a plan and then things went south quickly. I suppose experience helped salvage some of my bone headed moves but here goes. I was planning on making one batch to see if improvements could be had. The first mix I read the total recipe and dumped in those ingredients without the levin. I salvaged that by just converting it into this weeks pizza dough. The second attempt was mixed correctly I thought until I realized my discard jar was left out on the counter last night and was used instead of the levain I mixed last night. I was going to count on the IDY to salvage that blunder. I still had a fresh jar of starter which became dough number three.

The first discard batch baked up okay but they didn't want to brown and had an aged out quality to them. The dough was easy to shape and rolled out much better than yesterdays but that might be because yesterday I mistakenly used my AP/rice flour mix for dusting instead of the dough flour. I don't recommend that. The last bake was nice to work with and the results were inline with expectations. Long story shor,t this is them.

MP fail

The two on the left are the discard starter sticks. I used my favorite Wheat Montana AP flour today instead of the KAAP and used 5% WW 5%WWW and 5% rye.

The IDY does make for a thin and crispy crust. Why? I don't know.

I am happy with this effort. I upped the hydration to my normal 75% The flavor is good surprisingly and sour once again. When I can find the time I will do a more thorough blog about Martin Phillips Country Baguettes 

Benito's picture
Benito

The baguettes look great.  I’m interested in trying sourdough baguettes once my starter is fully rehabbed, but I am interested in reducing the whole grain to make a more traditional tasting more white flour baguette.  How pronounced was the whole grain flavour in your baguettes since you only used 10% vs the original recipe’s 25%?

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

The whole grain was actually 15% but it had a pronounced effect on the flavor especialy towards the sour side there is a lot of flavor in the 5% rye. However the sour may have been from the overnight levain or the higher percentage of fermented flour or both. I usually mix my starter in the morning and use it about 6 hrs later near the peak. The home milled whole grain included the bran and it may have slightly changed the texture. My wife and I thought they tasted great and the crust was better but both of us still prefer the cleaner taste of an all white flour IDY Bouabsa.

I don't mean to disparage sourdough bread in baguette form but the crust to crumb ratio in this style of bread is a factor. The typical crust for me and it sounds like many others can be tough or leather like depending on when it was baked and then eaten. Some of that may be home ovens. I like to wait a whole day before cutting into my sourdough loafs and actually enjoy the flavor and texture of a recipe like this as much as 5 days later. The sourdough baguettes I have tried was much the same way. Assuming the keeping qualities are much better than the pure yeasted version, I am hoping to get a few lunch sandwiches to take to work out of the stack of cord wood I have after this weekend's baking. 

I am guessing the real experts with professional equipment can get a soft thin crust on a SD baggie and maybe someone here will find a way. Perhaps it's about the flour. Your batons show great promise. Good luck in your quest and getting your starter back on track.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Your baguettes look great. And I'm not sure why IDY has that impact on crust. A very long time ago I made baguettes with IDY and the crust was as you described - think and light to the chew. This past week's bake was my second attempt and I had the opposite - a thick and chewy crust. I'll be trying them again in the next week and see how I can improve on the chewy crumb. Let's see.. if you ever figure out the magic trick let me know. ! Thanks

 

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Copy/paste saved me the keystrokes!  The italics are my story integrated.

" I consider myself a fairly competent baguette baker. I was pursuing batons somewhat long before I even had a sourdough starter. I found TFL looking for help with them and found it in DMSnyders Bouabsa baguettes. It was during then that I noticed that most of the subject matter pertained to sourdough and I soon figured out that that was where the in-crowd was and where I wanted to be, and I read, learned and pineapple juiced my way to a starter. As I flailed away making many of the mistakes I see from others asking for help with today I could still manage a decent baggie and the skills were helpful in the dough handling department in the sourdough venture."

No, really.

And Ladies and Gents, what MT displays in his post above is the results of time spent in service.  Recovering from a problem and making lemonade out of lemons.

In general this base formula at the top of these posts provides just what you describe - a thin crisp crust to go with a hearty crumb.

Bravo in the recovery department, and as usual, a superb display of skill.

alan

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

The difference was that you jumped right in and participated and I lurked about and came and went and came back. I like to make a lot of different breads. I made an Approachable pan loaf yesterday and baked a couple of fruited sourdough loaves this morning and I enjoy honing my craft. I am trying to work towards better symmetry and a more tidy look like yours and others. I even ordered a longer stone because I find the longer wands so appealing. I was worried that I was stepping on your toes in this CB but was just trying to help where I could and share my opinions without crossing purposes. It's funny to me that we both love baguettes and you make several breads into baguettes and I make several breads but baguettes only one way. 

I hope this CB lives long and prospers and people will continue to submit their works. Soon the brigade will be an army.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

 I'm happy to share the endeavor with the likes of folks like you and kendalm and any one else who wants to join in and help and guide.  So we are all learning and participating together.  More fun all around!

algebread's picture
algebread

Your scores always open in a very attractive manner---it's easily recognizable from the image alone. A great outcome from a bumpy road.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I wish I could tell you why because it is nothing intentional. Just how I roll I guess. I was thinking about your sticking problem as I was shaping mine and wanted to tell you that scraping the pre shape off the bench and dropping it on some flour and then dragging it to the rolling location is a big help for me. Good luck in your endeavors.

aldeninthemiddle's picture
aldeninthemiddle

These are my first baguette bakes. I’ve attempted baguettes a while about a week ago but when final shaping came round, the dough was overproofed and overly extensible, making for one unhappy shaper. I decided to through all the dough in a sheet tray and it made for a lovely focaccia. I’m glad that this community bake cake round when it did. Thanks fellas! 

now onto these! My first baguette bakes. I followed the recipe. Excepting that I stuck the dough in the fridge for about 4 hours after the first hour and half of bulk fermentation (2 letter folds). Once I got back home, I cold divided, preshaped and shaped about 30 minutes later. The dough was close to room temp after bench rest over here in sunny Palm Springs. I didnt realize until after, but in my final shaping I was not so disciplined in keeping the heel of my palm and fingertips on the board during the elongate and roll motion. I think that facilitates the dough to kind of swing on the bench against its own momentum and make for a more symmetrical shape? I guess I was so excited to shape them I got a little carried away, oh well, note taken! Also, when placing on the linen, I should have more aggressively created a nice firm shape for the baguette to rest in, considering that I’m not using a nice stiff flax linen. All in all the taste is wonderful! And this dough was great to work with for baguettes. I would like a more airy interior next time round and better shaping. Of course practice is the only course I could take to achieve this! 


I have some leftover dough, 140g. Now I would like to use this as a pate fermentee and make just one baguette, any tips? 

thanks in advance, warmly,

alden

aldeninthemiddle's picture
aldeninthemiddle
alfanso's picture
alfanso

to get into the mix here, and also to be able to analyze what went south and what to improve on.  I'd suggest rewatching the videos at the top of the posting, at least once more, for shaping and scoring and then searching for dmsnyder's TFL entry and video of scoring technique. something many of us have prospered from.

Palm Springs! Last time there, in August a few years ago the outside temp on the car dashboard registered 122 at lunchtime, so you may have a truly unique baking environment compared to just about anyone else except dabrownman who lives on the outskirts of Phoenix.  However if you have your kitchen amply air conditioned and it is anywhere near my 78-80dF year round, then your bulk ferment time was too short and should have been 45-60 minutes longer.

The cold divide-shaping routine is surely a reliable one, but you don't mention whether you returned the dough to retard for another 8-12 hours.

I personally don't have ay experience with incorporating a pate fermentee but if the dough was kept retarded, I can't see why not try it.  As long as it hasn't gotten old enough for the gluten to begin breaking down.

Please continue and posting here again.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I decided to try KendalM’s Tradition French Baguette formula. It uses King Arthur All Purpose flour (originally recommends French T65), 0.3% CY, 2% salt, and 73.3% hydration.

In an effort to slow the hardening of the crust, the oven was dropped from 500F to 450. The oven was pre-steamed for 90 seconds and then again 90 seconds of steam was injected immediately after the dough was loaded. The crust hardening was noticeably slowed and the oven spring was better as a result. Next time the temp will be raised to ~470-475. I think a little more heat will produce a slightly better result. There is more tweaking to do, but the choice to reduce the temp was a good one.

I am diggin’ the sideways load. KendalM and I have kindred spirits. 

MTLoaf mentioned that CY makes for a soft crumb with a thinner crust. That describes this bread exactly. In all honesty, I would have like more flavor. A small amount of whole wheat is destined to be one of the future tweaks.

The top baguette in the image below was spritzed with a Malted Barley and water mixture. I waited until the loaf was almost done before spraying. The result was subtle but nice. It was shiny and slightly darker.




Thanks Geremy, for taking the time to work with me. I have always been drawn to your enthusiasm...

Danny

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Fantastic crumb ! So glad to see someone else do this recipe.  I have to agree flavor wise I had the same complaint with KA and pretty much the reason I wont make these unless I have T55 or T65 in stock.  I think you know the whole motivation for doing these comes from my first experience as a 16 year old eating authentic baguettes in antibes.  So good that later it became a quest to replicate as best possible.  These look much like mine when done with KA - a bit tight.  I'm sure enough experimentation might get them close to T65.  Btw I've tried many little additions here and there to KA such as add wheat malt (not barely malt) - percentages of wheat, soy flour etc etc, but I really think the flour that is not only milled but grown in france is very distinct and very hard to replicate.  Even central milling who invested tons of energy into replicating it is far off (imho).  Over time though, this recipe become really very automatic and a lot of fun.  Great job danny I love it ! 

kendalm's picture
kendalm

I mist then ever so slightly immediately before hitting the oven deck (after scoring) 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

On those long wands. Seven scores and twenty inches impressive. I ordered a longer stone for that very reason. Good color, nice crumb and the scoring and shaping is flawless. Full marks for that one indeed. Glad too see progress on the oven issue. You should try a hybrid levain/yeasted to unlock some more flavor. I was thinking the BBGA ones with sourdough instead of a poolish.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Wow Dan, these are fantastic.  Stop learning so fast.  Shaping, scoring, open crumb.  These seem to have it all.  Ain't a bad place to be when you have kendalm as your personal guru and his approval after the first time out of the chute.

I think to get an open crumb like that for an elongated version of what we generally do takes a really deft touch when rolling them out.  Can't say enough about them.

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Well done Dan. Nice looking loaves and crumb! And the darker crust on the top loaf is very noticeable - nice idea.

Benito's picture
Benito

I agree with everyone else, those are fantastic Dan, home run.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

This was a double batch again. I'm trying to become friends with my oven and made primarily demi-baguettes.

My goals for the day were:

*Determine if adding diastatic malt makes a difference. My flour had ascorbic acid but not diastatic malt.

*Get friendly with my oven. I don't have headroom and have top and bottom elements. Trying to find the sweet spot.

*Work on scoring

It was an intensive baking day. I learned a lot of things that I didn't want to learn.

1. I think the diastatic malt attributed to overproofing. Same ingredients, same method. I had a side by side batch without the diastatic malt. It didn't have the same problem. Oh well. Need to try side by side loaves without the retard and see if there are results. More loaves for scoring practice at least.

2. Lots of time working with temps. 425, 450 and 485 degrees. Sweet spot is probably between 450 and 485. 485 colored unevenly- which Alan said likely from overcrowding or a scorching hot oven. Baking 1 loaf a time...so oven it is. Much better with convection but not perfect.

3. Lots of loaves to score at least. Getting more even and better oven spring.

4. Baking loaves in succession off the same tray. Took one off at a time back into retard on the rest. This resulted in overproofed loaves very quickly. A disappointment but worth learning, anyway.

On the plus side, even my bad loaves are still pretty decent to eat at least, these days. Looking back...that's not a bad place to come to.

For those more experienced...is ascorbic acid used in conjunction with diastatic malt? Or do they work against each other? I tried looking for this answer but didn't get anywhere.

algebread's picture
algebread

"My bad loaves are still pretty decent to eat": this is one of the great things about making bread :)

I'm no food science expert, but I don't think that ascorbic acid and diastatic malt have much effect on one another.

Ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid (AKA vitamin C) is added to increase dough elasticity

Remark: According to McGee's On Food & Cooking, ascorbic acid strengthens dough by oxidizing gluten, which allows it to form longer chains than it might otherwise. I read a TFL post a couple weeks ago (perhaps by MTLoaf?) that discussed the French custom of adding bean flour to baguette dough. McGee also mentions this and says that the bean flour is added for its oxidizing (and hence dough-strengthening) effects.

Diastatic malt

Diastatic malt contains enzymes that convert starches into sugar. This gives the yeast more food, making them work faster. It also means more residual sugar in the dough at bake time, which can improve color.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

One way or another, I'll know soon! I know they are both dough conditioner and was trying to figure out why one would add one versus the other, from a commercial standpoint.

I've got 3 loaves started at varying levels. We shall see.

(Any excuse to bake another round!)

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Diastatic malt shows up on a flour label as malted barley flour.  It increases the amount of alpha amylase (in which wheat is naturally deficient) in the flour which in turn increases the rate at which broken starch is converted to maltose (relative to wheat flour without any malted barley flour).  It appears from the available evidence that the major benefit of an autolyse step in dough preparation is to give the flour time to fully hydrate which increases extensibility, and to allow the amylase enzymes (from both native and added enzyme sources) to break down starch more rapidly than will be possible after the salt is added.  This provisions the dough with a dose of maltose that is sufficient to prevent maltose availability from becoming the rate limiting factor in yeast growth and CO2 production during bulk fermentation.

(a short piece on commercial use of autolyse can be found here)
and
(a paper on the sugars in flour and how they change over the dough cycle can be found here)

alfanso's picture
alfanso

And what works in my kitchen environment with my oven and baking deck can't be the same for everyone or anyone else.  Keep in mind that a formula is merely a guideline and starting point for others.  A perfect example are those in the FWSY book.  People tear their hair out over the BF timings in that book, but once they make the adjustments, they love the breads that come out of their ovens.

Good progress on analyzing potential problems. I find that a 425dF oven is just too cool for hearth/artisan breads.  With a husky baking deck - mine is 3/4 inch thick granite, the 460-480 range seems to best for me. Someone like kendalm,who is a great "baguetteer" here on TFL, ascribes to the heat blast temperatures in his baking environment.

As you've just experienced, diastatic malt, especially for "malted barley flour" flours is a potentially dangerous tool to be used with extra precaution.

Even "bad" loaves can still be delicious to eat.  If they don't met your eye appeal for serving to others, you can always hide imperfections by cutting them into slices before placing on the dinner table!

I really like you stick-to-it attitude.  A real trooper! 

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

Thank you.

I'm very much a person who likes to do things the right way. After I found this site it was mind-blowing. There is no right way to do things. The only right way is what works for you. That said, it is particularly fun to try to make each bread as the author intended it. And then completely blow that apart!

Baguettes are particularly interesting, it seems. There are so many tiny factors to manipulate and they are so noticeable in the final loaf. One could get stuck on making them.

I have a 3/4" stone but I want a bigger one for the upper racks. Maybe a baking steel instead though.

Time to bake yesterday's dough and see what mistakes I made!

Copernicus21's picture
Copernicus21

my first attempt at baguettes. My baking steel is on loan to a friend so I had to make do with small baguette pans and therefore had to make the baguettes shorter to fit them.

I followed the framework outlined at the OP, save for the french folds. I just couldn't bring myself to work at it late at night, got lazy and decided to use a mixer with timed rests of 5 mins between running at low speeds.

The dough is probably the stiffest I've ever worked with, with little extensibility. Next time I'll try the french folds and maybe move hydration up a notch,

Bulked for 2 hours at 32dC, divided into 6 oblongs (207g) for the bench rest, then final shaped (with trepidation) seam side down on the baguette pan, wrapped with linen and then bagged up for the cold retardation. The volume rise at this point looked to be about 30%? I needed to go to bed and should have probably taken an extra 30-60 mins for BF.

Pictures of loaves post-scoring. 

The next morning I heated the oven up to 250C, prepped a cast iron skillet with lava rocks and a loaf pan with wet towels. Spritzed water onto the loaves, loaded the oven, closed. Then opened to pour a cup of boiling water in the skillet. Baked at 13 mins with steam, 12 mins without.

Oven set-up (forgive the dirty oven door)

End result

I really liked the flavour but could have done with a more open crumb. My fridge runs cold (1-2dC) so there was little to no rise during the final proof. The BF could also have been pushed.

 

Copernicus21's picture
Copernicus21

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

I'd buy those in a bakery! Very nice. How did you find the crumb - light or with a lot of chew?

Copernicus21's picture
Copernicus21

Thank you :). The crumb is chewier than I would like, it could have afforded to be lighter. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

If this is really your first baguette experience, you did a wonderful job.  And I love the dark bake too.  Your scoring is really good too, avoiding the dreaded sausage cuts that so many baguette beginners suffer.  Suggestions about the scoring are to keep the longitudinal scoring "lanes" from drifting too far from off center, keep the score lines closer together and to have them overlap more.  Your tip to toe scoring is just right.

With the whole grain and 68% hydration, this is a stiff dough to mix by hand, especially if one is used to high hydration, mostly white flour doughs.  But far from some that I've French Folded.  That 5 minute or so covered rest between mixing steps, mechanical or with FFs, gives the dough some time to relax and start to develop before continuing on with the rest of the mix.

If your experience at the stretch and fold steps are like mine, I think you would agree that the dough at that point exhibits a pretty fair extensibility, but not slack.

Do give it another go.

Copernicus21's picture
Copernicus21

Thanks for the advice on the scores! I'm stoked to start on a second pass, just need to time it such that the mix time coincides with a spare bit of time. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Copernicus, I’m with Alan! What an outstanding first baguette bake. Since you haven’t struggled through many, many baguette bakes to attain moderate success, you may never know what most of us go through. Alan, is a highly respected baguette baker, but if you read his history it will become evident how hard he struggled over a long period of time to perfect his craft. I’ve toyed on and off with these babies for longer than I can remember.

Good on you... Phenomenal job!

Dan

Copernicus21's picture
Copernicus21

Awww thanks for the kind words of encouragement. I've never done community bakes before, these are fun. Really loving what everyone's posting!

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

What beautiful loaves! I love the color and the uniformity.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I thought you were replying to me...

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

This is the first time in a long time that I have used an interrupted slash for a baguette (I usually do a single longitudinal slash) so please cut me some slack for appearance.  The crumb is not as open as I would like, but I was in a hurry and did not retard the dough at all.  I was late getting started and this was out of the oven 4:30 after water hit flour. The crumb shot is from the least attractive loaf of the lot as the other two were given away, but is probably representative.  The oven cycle is designed to develop a fairly thick and dark but not charred crust with a firm but not dry crumb.  The flour is a high gluten white, bleached and enriched, with malted barley flour and ascorbic acid added.

 

Formulation/process:

67% hydration, batch weight 1788g at divide/shape so 3 x ~ 596g "baguettes" which is admittedly a bit large
11.7% pre-fermented flour [100% hydration levain (28 + 114 + 114) fermented for ~12 hrs @ ~83°F and losing 3g of CO2 in the process]
1.9% salt
2 hr BF from wetting the flour
20 min autolyse (included levain but no salt)
Mix time 9 min in Assistent N28 with roller and scraper at speed 6 (maximum for use of roller and scraper)
Dough temp at end of mix: 86°F
Divide/preshape/20 min rest/shape (32min total)
Proof ~90 min on counter
Brush with water to remove surface flour
Top with kosher salt (~1.6g/loaf)
Slash just before oven entry
Bake w/ steam 500°F start, free fall for 2 min to 390°F during steam addition before reheating to 500°F then 8 min @ 500°F/100% humidity, 8 min @ 450°F 20% humidity, 2 min @ 390°F/0% humidity (total time 20 min)
Convection fan was on low speed for the first 10 min and intermittently (20 sec on/120 sec off) for the remainder of the bake cycle.

I will probably never make baguettes as pretty as Alfonso, but it is fun to try, and the neighborhood enjoys the residuals as well as the failures.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

A 67% hydration load with 25% whole grain, if you kept to the general formula outline, is yielding a really nice open crumb here.  Even if all white and high gluten.  I love a darker bake, and your shaping is just right, so I think this is a grand success.  Scoring is generally the bane of most baguette bakers who haven't sweated through the process and few of us ever get it down immediately.

When you decide to do nothing but baguettes week in/week out for something like a year and a half with the occasional distraction of a few batards here and there, as I did, then I'd expect you to get the scoring down neat and clean 🤓.  Ain't nuttin' to be ashamed of here.

As far as late entries - in past CBs I've seen stragglers come in months later, this is still within days of the start.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I wonder if I’ll ever get to the point where I feel the need to apologize for baguettes like those. The shape (conservatively sloping ends terminating with moderately rounded end caps) of the first loaf is sweet. 

“ Bake w/ steam 500°F start, free fall for 2 min to 390°F during steam addition”.
Was your oven set to fall, or did the temperature fall as a result of the steam?

For any bakers that have not seen Doc’s “Slashing Video”, here it is. It is a must see.

For best viewing use THIS LINK.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

My oven is German and designed for 3-phase power, so when the wiring is changed to accomodate 240vac the steam generator time shares the mains with the box heating elements.  And since box temperature is prioritized over humidity, if I don't drop the thermostat right after I load the oven, the steam generator does not make steam until after the box is back up to temperature (not what I want).  So my solution is to drop the set point from 500°F to 390°F for 2 minutes which allows the power to go to the boiler while the box humidity is below 100%. It takes a little less than 120 sec for the steam generator to do its job and the box drops to just over 390°F in the process as it heats the steam up while cooling the box down. Then it goes back to 500°F set point and it takes about another 2 minutes to get it back up to temp. There is an alternate way to do it which I use for bagels: preheat to 212°F/100% humidity using the steam generator by itself and load at that temperature then 2 minutes at 212°F/100% before taking the temperature up to 500°F.  The box temp climbs at about 1°F per second so it takes 5 min (300 sec) to get up to temp.  Have not tried that for baguettes but I might do it just to see how it turns out.  Typically I get a totally blistered surface when I do that with bagels:

algebread's picture
algebread

That's an incredible look for bagels! Those look delicious.

Benito's picture
Benito

Wow I’ve never seen bagels with blisters, they are a thing of beauty.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

Can I just say...that makes my mouth drool! 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Some bakers claim that steaming bagels is a crime at some level, but my bagels never get boiled any more.  The oven gets preheated with steam and the bagels go in straight from an overnight retard at ~42°F, then they get just steam  for a couple of minutes before the heaters come on to take the oven up to browning temperature.  This is not a skill thing at all, just a pure capital equipment play with a few trial and success runs varying the temperature and timing.

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

So many amazing bakes and what a great idea to feature Alan's baguette's for a community bake Dan!

I will read more through the posts but to be honest not sure whether I am brave enough to give baguette's another go and might sit this one out...so lovely to see all those amazing bakes and feels like hearing all your voices but I am shocked to see that Alan has changed a lot since I logged in last time...looking good! :D

Happy baking, Kat

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Come on in, the water's fine.  You'll never know how another bake will go.

As for the change, the new picture is of my fraternal twin sister. Here's the old pic expanded to include us both.

Fortunately my wife didn't make me climb into the hatchback with her for the remainder of the trip!

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

I would love to join in but I am wrestling 21kg dough handmixed that keeps me busy...but maybe baguettes might be on the menu one day... for now I keep things simple...that is such a lovely photo!   Kat

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Well look who popped up! Miss “fancy pants” commercial baker herself. How is your world, Kat? Is Barney wearing his mask? I see you on Instagram, but I’m too old for that hippie stuff :D

Guess what? The 3 musketeers (including Leslie) showed up for the Baguette CB.

Danny

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

I am just an 'imposter' .... and  nothing fancy about handmixing 21kg of dough!!! Quite the opposite with the slap and folds...ha, ha......

So good to see all the happy baking and posts from you all...  Kat

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

I feel tired just thinking about that!  Miss your posts Kat!  sounds like you are doing lotsa baking!

love to see you join in too...

Leslie

not.a.crumb.left's picture
not.a.crumb.left

baguettes Leslie! I hope you are keeping well.....different challenges at the moment and just wanted to say hello...I love all the amazing bakes here... Kat

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Only after my prior bake for the CB did I notice a formula spreadsheet error.  I had converted the levain to a 75% mixed flour levain and made the changes to the spreadsheet to accomodate this.  However I left out the WW component for the levain on the sheet.  Although the total ingredients were all accounted for, the levain for the final dough was short by ~45g, and roughly 1/4 of the levain went missing. 

I had to get another bake in with the appropriate and desired components.  Scaled down to three baguettes/long batards at ~325g each, about 15-20g greater than that prior bake.

Here, again, is the corrected spreadsheet: 

Pain au Levain w / WW,75% mixed flour levain      
Jeffrey Hamelman        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1000 Prefermented15.50%   
 Total Formula   Levain   Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%588.9 100.00%91.3 Final Flour497.6
 Bread Flour75.00%441.7 59.0%53.9 Bread Flour387.8
 Whole Wheat20.00%117.8 20.5%18.7 Whole Wheat99.1
 Rye5.00%29.4 20.5%18.7 Rye10.7
 Water68.00%400.5 75%68.5 Water332.0
 Salt1.80%10.6    Salt10.6
 Starter3.10%18.3 20%18.3   
        Levain159.7
 Totals169.80%1000.0 195%178.0  1000.0
          
Autolyse levain, water,  flours for 30min.       
Add salt, mix.  Then 150 French Folds, 5 min. rest, 150 FFs.      
Bulk Ferment 2.5 hrs., Letter Folds at 40, 80 Min.       
Divide, Pre-Shape, 20 min. rest, Shape.  Onto floured couche      
Retard for 12-16 hrs.        
Oven to 480dF, 45-60 min.        
remove from retard, onto oven peel, bake at 460dF.        
13 min w/steam, rotate loaves, 10-15 min. more.       
Vent oven for 3 min and remove to wire rack.

The kids scored and getting ready for their sauna

Steam released and rotated

Comparison with the remaining baguette (second from top) from prior bake

 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Nice bake. The photos look like they belong in a text book. The one with the scored loaves ready to go into the oven is a nice to see so that others can get the picture of where the slashes should land. The angle of the cuts do not follow the lines of the ears in the finished bake. Maybe you should have been a surgeon. Dr Grigne

alfanso's picture
alfanso

we took a trip around the "circle of fire" or whatever that's called, taking us SE toward Sisters and Bend OR and heading south toward Crater Lake, stopping at Newberry Crater and the expansive obsidian fields there.  

On one of the obsidian field trails way above the crater was a marker explaining that a surgeon had chipped out a piece of the obsidian and fashioned a scalpel out of it.  A pair microscopic lens photos revealed that the stainless steel surgeon's scapel has significant burrs and imperfections in it when magnified enough.  Just about none showed up on the obsidian scalpel at that magnification.  That doctor had his surgeon use that scalpel for his own own surgery sometime a few years later.

I'm finally tired of the reddish cast that the phone's camera displays due to the incandescent light above.  So next time I'll try snapping away without the light and see whether I can get a more realistic image of what the crumb actually looks like.

Yeah, I wasn't all that thrilled with the prior bake especially when I discovered that the short changed levain may have been the culprit.  But with this bake, the world seems right again.  At least as far as my kitchen is concerned...

Thanks, alan 

suminandi's picture
suminandi

This is not my usual kind of bake (I'm generally a whole wheat 'country loaf' type baker, usually with seeds, fruit nuts) but baguettes are an appealingly basic bread to try to master. Because it's what I have for flour, I used fresh ground and then bolted hard red winter wheat for this bake. It may be similar to T85, based on the amount of bran I removed (with a #40 sifter). I used a Nutrimill, a micronizer mill, and it leaves a lot of the bran in rather big flakes. I raised the hydration slightly to 72% to accommodate the thirstier flour. I used this flour to substitute the combo of white and ww. I did include the small amount of rye flour, since it was on hand in my pantry. So it's not really the same bake, but I'm using the basic concepts and seeing what comes out. Besides this substitution, I followed the basic formula laid out, including timing, slap and folds etc. Here is an account. Will update when baked

55% starter fed the night before (20 g seed, 80 gr flour, 45 gr water). Put under water:

Starter in the morning (it stuck to the lid):

Short autolyse (without salt) with salt and levain waiting to incorporate:

 

After slap and folds, into the dough bin: 

After 2 hrs (I forgot the last letter fold, though I did some early folds). By 2.5 hrs, it had gained a some more bubbles:

preshape :

Shaped about 15 inches long and then put in fridge. Not super happy with the shaping, dough was very elastic and fought back. Probably should have bulk fermented slightly longer. Or just rested longer after preshape. 

 

We'll see what happens in the morning. 

In the morning. Not much rise in the fridge, but that's somewhat normal. Preheated oven to 475, used my usual steam method (ice cubes in a shallow tray). The loaves were underproofed and perhaps the oven was too hot. They split out the sides :-/

The flavor and crust are great. Crumb could be more open, but it's solidly edible. I appreciate the advice down-thread on the shaping, and those tips would probably help with a more open crumb also. Other things to try, slightly longer bulk ferment or a short room temp rest before refrigeration, lower oven temp, a little more hydration added during the slap and folds.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Hey Sumi. Glad to hear you are using 100% bolted flour. If I have soft Soft White Wheat, I am thinking of doing the same. Will probably sift through a 50 mesh. If I have pastry flour I may include a percentage of that. Want to explore low protein baguettes.

I look for to your results.

Danny

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I would suggest next time to use a rectangular letter fold for the pre shape. I prefer seam up but that is not always the case. A bulk that is shorter is better so that the dough doesn't get too strong, makes for easier shaping as well. Look forward to seeing them out of the oven.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Sumi, Two thoughts.

  1. Pre-shape lightly. Don’t build a lot of tension in the pre-shape of a baguette.
  2. If the dough fights you at all, rest it. Put it on the side and continue shaping another one. Then come back. Refuse to shape a baguette dough that fights you. 
Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Perhaps even better, don't mix it as much next time.  Over the years I have gradually come to a practice of intentionally under-mixing so that there is more extensibility left at the end of BF.  That also means don't keep folding after it reaches adequate dough development. If you are making one boule that is one thing.  But if you are making a dozen rolls you probably want to be even more careful about not over mixing/folding/preshaping.  But you still want it to reach full development when it goes into the oven.  It is a delicate dance.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Especially regarding baguettes. Minimum yeast and I mix until it just comes together and if I do slap and fold it is less than 10 total (I don't mean minutes)depending on hydration.  I do use a couple of coil folds at intervals which is basically S&F in slo-mo. I suppose we could call it no knead just folds. It can lead to a tumble on the dance floor if the floor is wet but for a slow dance with less slinging. I'm there.

 I work my pizza dough with more vigorous s&f which is basically the same recipe and it's pleasing to feel the dough develop. For those of you who end up with a hollow almost bagel shape when doing  slap and folds I suggest you try it one handed! Yes, for a small amount of dough it works well for me and is even more fun.

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Sumi those look great, so much better than my first and third attempts.  Are you happy with them?

Benny

suminandi's picture
suminandi

Thanks, Benny. I'm happy with their flavor and texture. I need work on the shaping, final proof and cooking. I think I'll try a batch with Bread flour (when I have some) as a point of comparison. This is a fun bake, isn't it?

Benito's picture
Benito

Yes it is very fun, especially when it works.  My totally under fermented ones weren’t so fun.  But at least it helped me figure out, with help from the group here, that my starter was slow and needed to be built up which I have now done and have used it to levain one dough (but not a baguette).

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think this is my third time making baguettes according to Alan’s formula that is listed in the original post. Every time the dough has been difficult for me to do the required slap & folds at the recommended hydration. I am beginning to wonder if my expectations (feel and behavior) for the dough during slap & folds is different from others.  I am accustomed to very slack and fluid dough for Slap & Folds. Those dough are far from being resistant. 

  1. The latest iteration used KAAP, Bob’s Red Mill Pastry flour and Rye, according to the percentages in the formula. Since the dough was resistant to slap and fold, the hydration was increased to 71%. But there is still resistance. Did 150, rested 15 minutes. Came back and the first 10 or so slap & folds were fairly nice but the dough quickly tightened up as the slap & folds proceeded. I terminated the slap and folds at that point. You would have thought that 20% Whole Wheat Pastry flour would have helped. I bite the bullet and today ordered KendalM’s specialty flour, T65 French flour. It is difficult to source in the US.

Seeing in believing. So I made a short video. Please let me know how your slap & folds went.

For best viewing USE THIS LINK

Please let me know your experience with your Slap & Folds.

Danny

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Maybe even a little more workable than what I experience.  Of course without my own hands in the dough, I can only judge by what I see you do.  

Somewhere in the now quite long thread I'd commented that this dough, as with many of the "lower hydration" doughs I work with all do, exhibits the characteristic of becoming a thick continuous "rope" loop.  But after another 20 or so FFs all becomes integrated again.  Only to repeat itself.  About twice on either side of the 5 minute rest period.

At first, way back, I thought that there was something wrong with the dough formula, but very soon came to realize that this was a quite normal behavior.  For me anyway.  If folks are attempting FFs for the first time and typically use a mechanical mixer, they may not know what to expect or feel.

Since I've never worked with fresh milled flour, I can't say what the experience would be. 

Copernicus21's picture
Copernicus21

I felt like I was pummeling a brick. Then at about the 70th FF, things started easing up and I was amazed at the increase in extensibility. 

I've never worked so hard at kneading. I'm curious as to what the benefits to FFs over say Rubaud kneading + S&Fs/ Coil Folds. Not in the context of this particular dough per se, given that the latter wouldn't work well in a dough this stiff.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

I've been baking but I'm saving it and not posting each time.

I played with diastatic malt. My flour is a commercial flour and doesn't have any in it. I know the amounts I added were huge- I took it to a far far extreme and I'll dial it back from there. This is the baguette dough formed as a boule. Future bakes will include it- albeit it in less quantities.

Lots of loaves trying to dial in oven temps and scoring. And learning things I didn't intend to learn. Valuable lessons though. 

For instance, this is the same batch of dough baked at various temps. It could be effected by the pan being removed from retard each time to remove a loaf. The difference in crumb was remarkable. Future testing to be done.

By the end of that, I arrived at this- ugly for some reasons but pleasing to me for others. Better oven spring and a big change in texture. Bread is so cool.

Benito's picture
Benito

I like how you’re experimenting, I’ve only ever used 0.5% diastatic malt and I do like what it can do for my bread.  I’d be interested in the crumb since I’ve heard so many times that diastatic can make your crumb gummy, but I’ve never used more than 0.5% and haven’t seen that effect yet, but with those super high amounts you’d think you’d see that.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

It was a miscalculation and so it became 5% instead of .5% lol. And then I took it to the extreme. The texture was gummy but not goo. I opted not to eat. Lol

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Could be just longer proof time as I assume they were baked sequentially.  From the crumb I would guess at 45 min to 60 min longer for the last one relative to the first one, but hard to tell depending on temperature.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

These loaves were done hours apart. I wanted to have an even playing field...or I would have to repeat the experiment.

Keep in mind...this is way over the amount that should ever be used so the effects are more pronounced.

I'm sure to repeat this, though, with more acceptable amounts.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

While I suspect you are right that the effects of the malt are the source of the additional browning, I have to ask how long was it from oven-on to loaf-out for each loaf.  It could just be increased oven wall temperature  as the oven does not stabilize for quite some time.  I generally add 1/2t of malted barley flour for ~1000g of bread flour to get a little increase in browning, but it also contributes to the maltose available in the dough at the end of autolyse since I add it into the flour prior to adding the water.

SassyPants's picture
SassyPants

I'll be redoing this with lower amounts and will see how it plays out. I don't expect as dramatic results- once I realized my mistake with the first calculation, I decided to push it. I intended to do .5% but ended up with 5%. Ugh.

I would redo it entirely the same except it gave me the overall information I was looking for- that I need to add diastatic malt. I'll start with your recommendation of 1/2 tsp per 1000 grams. The price of my flour justifies the effort to figure this one out.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

0.5% is supposed to be the upper limit for malted barley flour.  My 1/2t is 1.82g so that is 0.5% of 364g, and 1.5t per 1000g is above the suggested upper limit.  So 1t/Kg of flour might be a good place to start and then go up and down by 1/2t/Kg.  I have noticed that there can be a big difference in effectiveness between batches (in part because I don't have to buy it very often but I always test a new batch).

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