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.

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 additison -

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.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Geremy, your commission is well deserved...

I was getting ready to shape and couche some Bouabsa. I must have stored the couche damp. It has a little mildew. It is baking in my oven at the lowest temp (170F). I plan to kill the creatures. I read that a couche should never be washed. Has anyone washed there’s. Mine is flax linen.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

I always have to cringe when I hear sourdough converts whinge about CY.  There is some truth to the fact that bread especially here in usa taste so mediocre with CY and I believe its because the flour is generally mediocre.  Like many food products here, the high level of processing is just a fact of life. Americans demand it because processing makes food visually appealing. Take for example store bought tomatoes - until I came to the usa as a teen I had never ever seen so much picture perfect looking produce in a supermarket - looks great but generally lacking in flavor that is to the genetic engineering that produces visual but tasteless produce. I was accustomed to helping my mother sort out fruit and veggies from the supermarket finding many blemished items and now we just grab any apple, tomato or whatever and that's that, until soon you're missing all that flavor you were once accustomed to enjoying.  Now on the topic if bread, butter and cheese - this was an absolute shocker quickly discovering the difficulties finding good bread, butter and cheese.  White loaves in bags here are awful.  Cheese is much like plastic and butter, well it's supposed to be yellow not white.  Not saying that you cant get good stuff here (if you hunt for it) but the point is that the run-of-the mill items are just energy ... not food (at least as I know it).  The result of this processed food culture is the belief that sourdough is so bloody superior to regular bread.  Well sure when you compare it (home baked sourdough) to regular white bread from the supermarket or even many fancy bakeries.  But in reality, really good white bread made from FSWY is incredible ! In short I'm just really happy for dan right now ! 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

the final proofing should be 60-90 minutes on the counter at 76dF.  I immediately placed the baguettes into the refrigerator and they stayed there for 3 hours without any further bench time.  That should have easily been the equivalent of the bench rest. 

Perhaps I mistakenly changed out a poke test, which likely has minimal value for a refrigerated dough, with another Hamelman technique.  He said to caress the dough with cupped fingers and hand as one would do to a loved one's arm" to get a reading on the dough's readiness.  So I did, and it felt "right".  On the plus side, the dough didn't slap my face when I did it! 

My pre-shaping was about as gentle as could be, but you stated that you think your dough's strength came from a tight pre-shape.

Tomorrow's another day!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

“ Hamelman technique.  He said to caress the dough with cupped fingers and hand as one would do to a loved one's arm" to get a reading on the dough's readiness

Not right -
He used that analogy to describe the way to handle the dough during shaping. Listen for the first 15 seconds.

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

True, but this is a more recent description and I probably combined the two.

https://youtu.be/eCgFlLhNbq4?t=1746

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

It could have been something to do with the small amount of NY and perhaps it also had an effect on the flavor. Maybe the reduced elasticity got your ears to do a very un-Alfanso thing. I would still try the seam up non retarded proof to see how it works with the poolish and lose the NY.

Benito's picture
Benito

The shaping looks spot on as yours always are and now you’re doing the longer baguettes.  It is strange that you didn’t get the usual ears and grigne that you always do.  Maybe the NY works against those features by reducing surface tension by increasing extensibility and reduce elasticity too much.  

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Had a nice first run. The loading went smoothly and no parchment was burned in the making of this picture. I made the BBGA USA again because every new recipe deserves a second chance. Maybe it was from all the practice lately or the 70% hydration but this dough was a pleasure to work with and as easy as any I have had yet. The extra tension in the pre shape really helped to roll them out. I am still getting the bursting oven spring but the crumb is nice and open when that happens.

sp score  sp baked

ears

BBGA crumb

This made for a nice tuna salad sandwhich.Everyones baguettes are improving so much. We will have this thing down pat in a few years.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Don, like Alan you produce signature baguettes! You don’t have to read who baked them to know where they originated. A high compliment in my book.

super nice...

alfanso's picture
alfanso

It is a funny thing that it doesn't seem to mater much which formula we bake they almost always have that same look.  And to me, as well as to you, consistency is an essential feature for judging our own skillset.

Benito's picture
Benito

Very beautiful baguettes Don.  The crumb is nice and open and they now have signature look but longer and still gorgeous. 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

It's a nice recipe. A hybrid version that relies more on yeast than Abel's and the dough was nice to work with. I think with baguettes it's best to pick a recipe you like and just work with it rather than changing up all the time like with SD bread. It's been a fun CB and it got me back into the swing of making batons on a more than regular basis. I have about run out of things I can post about but I hope you and others will continue the quest and I will be cheering you on and helping where I can.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks for your participation, Don!  Your post and images have added great value to the CB.

Danny

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

It has been a fun CB owing much to your relentless enthusiasm and the captivating nature of baguettes. I hope others in the future are inspired by the circuitous road map we put down here and continue to post and contribute to The King of Breads.

Keep up the good work and Happy Baking 

Don

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Well, the jig is up.  After all these years, it turns out that I was posting ShutterStock photos of bread all along.  Or at least it seems that way...

Two steps forward, two steps back.  Maybe no steps in either direction.  After yesterday's sad entry, where there were at least a few positives, emphasis on few, I decided to abide by MTloaf's suggestions to correct things.  Hence:

  • Removed the 0.25% Nutritional Yeast from formula.  Check.
  • Force a tighter pre-shape.  Check.
  • Proof seam side up on couche.  Check.
  • Room Temp proof.  Check.

 Additional changes:

  • Stayed with the 68.4% hydration rather than the 66% in the Bread book formula.
  • Used KA AP for the poolish as well as the final dough flour.  Up to now, and with a lot of success I'd been using my oversupply of Gold Medal bread flour for my levain builds.  Since the preferment portion of this bread is 33%, significantly more than I use in a levain bread, I wanted the protein from this flour replaced by the KA AP.
  • Kept to my very recent 200 French Folds regimen, down from my prior 300 FFs.
  • Stuck with BF of 100 min with a S&F in the bowl at 50 min.  Formula calls for 120 min. BF - but in a cooler environment than mine.
  • Final shaping was a little tighter also.  Not difficult to shape, but displayed signs of lack of extensibility again.  
  • Bench proofed for 60 min rather than the 60-90 in the formula.
  • Bumped up oven temp to 480dF to get a better initial temp "shock" for steaming portion and then back down to recommended 460dF for remainder of bake.

Results:

  • Dough was less extensible and a little more work to roll out completely.  Sprung back more than with the NY included.
  • Scoring still showed miserable results.  I don't even question the depth, angle and quality of my scoring blade tip and stroke.  It is too ingrained to have been so off from what is displayed these two days.
  • Difficult to obtain good coloration on crust.  Just will not darken unless nearing charred status. Too meekly colored for me.
  • Crumb was a little more open than yesterday and soft.
  • Crumb had a rich yellow tinted color.  Also yesterday, but I though that was from the NY.
  • Crust was thicker, not a crackly-crunchy snap as yesterday's bread had, and this had a more "leathery" bite.  One of the only things salvaged from yesterday's bake was the crumb (excluding scoring and grigne).
  • Taste was not much more than I'd expect from a good supermarket baguette.
  • Long baton shaping continues down the right path.

Overall a disheartening experience due to a 2nd run with changed parameters applied.  And one that I'll put behind me by baking something more reliable next time.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I don't recognize the signature. You know I never had that much luck with his recipe either. The color photos of baguettes  in his book are clean and tidy and ready for the judging table. The courone made with baguette dough is pretty spectacular though but they don't look anything like the ones from his videos. We all seem to be going for wands with the ear and grigne pronounced and an open crumb. We both are going to end up right where we started this trek. The Babouabsa magnifique. Cheers Friend it has been great baking with you on this baguette odyssey.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

now that you've really started to.  As you likely know, I'll take pretty much anything, any formula that piques my interest and try it out as a baguette.  Maybe I can hook you into doing the same too.

It's bakes like these past two that keep my feel grounded, I suppose.  When I went looking around at images posted on TFL and elsewhere of this same baguette, very few were worth writing home about.  So I guess I'm in the middle of all that company.

And agreed, that for my money also, the Bouabsa is still king of the hill. 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

"Well, the jig is up. After all these years, it turns out that I was posting ShutterStock photos of bread all along. Or at least it seems that way..."

danni3ll3 has been accused of that too. :-)

Benito's picture
Benito

That is so true, both Alan and Danni have been the absolute most consistent bakers on this site since I’ve been around.  It would be amazing one day to have that kind of consistency.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Like in the fun house, there's really only one boule but the reflections make it look like eight.

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

as I have been there so often in the last few months that I thought I had totally lost the ability to make decent bread.  A chance change of flour and it was if a magic dust had been sprinkled. I still struggle with baguettes and will put that aside for now, but I made the Hamelman baguette with poolish often in the past (as boule or batard) and could never get the really open  crumb or ear I wanted.  my experience matched yours.  Your usual baguettes are amazing and something to aspire too.  

this CB is incredible even if my own efforts weren’t - I have learnt such a lot 

bake happy Alan

Leslie

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I've mentioned to Dan, off posts, that it would make a great learning tool and manual for someone (not really me!) to piecemeal all the "lessons" that have transpired here on this CB.  Not just for baguettes, but for baking in general.  So much exchange of learned experiences here.

Yeah, when I'm used to getting it "right", even if I hadn't done it before, it comes out of left field (is that a kiwi expression too?) to be stymied.  And be unable to diagnose it makes for double-trouble because I can't point back to any event or step where I violated some procedure that muck the results up.  Oh well, back to some reinforcement - meaning things I've done that are not this formula!

Thanks for commiserating!  alan

Benito's picture
Benito

I’ve been reading up on TFL and found an interesting post by dmsnyder responding to Janedo about scoring and his observations.

” 1. The lame blade should be held at a 45 degree angle to the surface of the loaf.

2. The depth of the cuts does not have to be super deep. 1/4 - 1/2 inch.
3. The cuts should not be too long. About 5-7 cm seems right.
4. The cuts should angle only slightly from the long axis of the loaf.
5. The cuts should overlap about 1/4 of their length.”

”I downloaded most of the videos of Prof. Calvel's lessons from the CIA (Culinary Institute of America.) I watched him scoring baguettes over and over. He uses a French lame with a curved blade. His strokes are very fast and firm. He holds the lame with the concavity toward him. With each stroke, he does a little wrist turn which lifts the cut flap up from the surface of the loaf a bit, I think. I suspect that's the way to get an ear and good grigne. That's the next refinement of technique I want to shoot for.“

Based on his observations I am still scoring too shallowly and too parallel to the dough surface.  I will have to aim for the goals above and hope I get good oven spring to support getting ears and grigne.

Benito's picture
Benito

duplicate

alfanso's picture
alfanso

in terms of handling the scoring aspect. David Snyder was one of the earliest proponents and displayers of great scoring skills on TFL.   

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Bouabsa, T65, 66% hydration. This particular T65 develops gluten with little to no effort. It is a weak flour but at 66% hydration it was slightly elastic and could have used more extensibility. 2% more water and this dough changes dramatically. Future bakes with this flour will progressively increase the hydration and receive very little machine and/or hand development. Again, these are the lightest, crackly, crunchy baguettes. Unlike those made with any other flour.

I followed Maurizio’s advice to proof the dough a great deal in order to produce open crumb. So the BF went ~1.5 hours at 78F then retarded ~16 hours (DT 39F), then shaped couched and proofed ~1 hour at 74F. The dough felt somewhat airy, but not overly so. Slashing went well, probably due to 66% hydration.

The Demi on the top left was parbaked. (First 12 minutes). It was wrapped in foil and frozen. It will be re-baked at 350F for ~7 minutes as a test.

Considering 66% hydration, the crumb turned out very nice. Next time a little more water, though.

I met a baker on Face Time from China, Chen Sen. I was intrigued with his shaping, and asked for his help. I have a lot of work to do, but hopefully (with practice) I can learn to shape something similar.

He was kind enough to send this thumbnails. They are 350 grams and ~20.5 inches in length.

Benito's picture
Benito

I have to say that I like the shape of Cheng Sen’s baguettes.  If I can eventually figure out the right amount of flour for the counter along with getting the dough to be the just right extensible, I’d love to make those smoothly pointy baguettes.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, Have you tried shaping on a silicone baking mat? Doc mentioned the mat recently. I gave it a try and really like shaping on it. Spritz a little water on the bottom of the mat and lay it on your counter. It is marvelous!

I think shaping has a lot to do with the characteristics of the baguette dough. With the proper fermentation (not too airy) and the right extensibility, we have a great chance for success. It’s only a theory at this time, but I am focused on finding out if this is correct. Proper hydration is vital, I think...

Benito's picture
Benito

Yes I used the Silpat silicone mat the last two times that I shaped, I’m not convinced that it made it easier for me to shape, on the other hand, it did give me a guideline for how long to roll the baguettes to.  Hopefully I’ll figure this eventually I think I just still need more practice.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

You are in the groove Dan. There was a baguette baker in you that was trying to get out and you have released the beast. I really like how you are baking them now. You have figured out your oven an it is working well for you. Your scoring is exemplary and now pointy ends for a new point on the compass to follow. I have found the 73 DT to work well with the IDY and it does help with extensibility.

I did do some Bouabsas with ADY used like IDY today. The dough had risen too much in the fridge so I folded it and put it back in until this afternoon and they worked out really well so if that happens sometime just degas and delay. Then out of the fridge and into the oven in less than an hour.

I wanted to use the natural light from the window for a change. Someone please stop me. I can't find the off switch.

last Bouabsa

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Did you notice that he does his bulk ferment with the dough flat so that  divide produces a long piece of dough and preshape/shape does not have to do much stretching to get to final length? So you use the retard to fully relax the dough, then cut a strip off the edge that is almost as long as your final baguette.  That should provide a large amount of flexibility.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

It's hard to tell how long your baguettes are in your picture.  The tapering and scoring is first class.  For a guy who wouldn't sniff  in the direction of anything without pure sour baked into it, you've done a 180 and come around to the fabulous pleasures fo the Bouabsa. With a nice consistent hole structure to the crumb.  You're hooked, brother!  The simplest formula and at the same time best IDY dough out there.

If you want to try a dough that has an even crunchier and cracklier thin crust, then one day look into the pan de cristal - glass bread.  An issue is that it is so unmanageably wet that it resists anything but the most rudimentary shaping.  Basically gently pulling it into shape and then leaving it alone.  But a really open crumb and crust as described above.  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Don,
the red circle in the image below shows one of my major shaping goals. That is perfect! If only I can do the consistently on both ends. It seems that almost all bakers suffer the left hand - right hand problem, causing un-symmetrical shaping at both ends. I have go so far as to rotate the dough 180 degrees trying to solve my issue. Not a great fix.

Doc,
Did you notice that he does his bulk ferment with the dough flat so that  divide produces a long piece of dough and preshape/shape does not have to do much stretching to get to final length? Don, does something similar that I have adopted. Used to Bulk Retard in a round Cambro, but now use a rectangular vessel instead. This way when the dough is removed to the counter it is more easily divided and shaped into elongated pieces. This has become a great benefit. It also cools faster, since the dough isnot piled as high.

Alan,
Both Abe and I tried Pain de Cristal. We both failed miserably. BUT, check out the formula and instructions. That guy is a phenom!

It seems the full evangelization and conversion to baguettes has finally run it’s course. Yesterday, THIS ORDER was placed :-)

alfanso's picture
alfanso

although at a meager 95% hydration!  As you probably know, I'm not a fan of putting anything but the bare minimum of raw flour, if that, anywhere near my dough once it has been mixed.  Here's my most recent bake from last year.  I think mine is in the running with Fueled's video version. 

It's hard as heck to get a much better shaping without using some type of baking support "cradle".

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Look cool but they take up precious oven space. I have been so focused on getting an even barrel that the ends were not emphasized. I usually end up with sticky dough ends before rolling and it makes it harder to work but the last couple of bakes the dough was so nice to work with that I could give the pointy ends a go. The graceful taper is the most attractive and yet another level to attain. Keeping the base of the palms and the fingertips on the bench as Hammelman says in the shaping video has helped me lately.

foodforthought's picture
foodforthought

Dan,

Where are you getting the T65 flour? Is it European or domestic?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

This is my only real source in the states. KendalM (TFL user) is a baguette baker, extraordinaire. He told me about them. It is imported from France and the flour is milled from French grown wheat. A lot of french flour is milled from American and Canadian wheat, which would cause it to have different characteristics.

https://www.lepicerie.com/pastry-ingredients/ingredients/french-flours-traditional-and-organic/le-moulin-dauguste-organic-wheat-flour-t65/

Please consider joining the bake, Phil...

 

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

When we last saw the Pie King, a an epiphany reveled a revaluation. I had been over proofing my baguettes! Lets see if we can cure this malfunction! 3 levian builds will equal 3 @ four baguette bakes in the near future!  

The very active mother culture

Three stage #1 levian builds

Moving right along. The ripe Stage two levian

 Final dough, Flour, Water and Levian in Autolyse.

Final dough, Salt and .93 Gram commercial yeast kick starter.

 Zero of 120 Minutes

120 of 120 Minutes

Irregularly shaped/sizes baguettes to proof.

 

I love the sounds/smell of baguettes in the morning! 

 Not to disappointed, While these will not win any awards, they will make some tasty heroes! 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Will, So glad to see you “back on the horse” again! GettieYup...

Will. I think a concensus has been formed. The bulk ferment and followup bulk retard should not be very airy. If doing a Final Proof at room temp, that can go a little farther, but be mindful of slashing.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

We almost corralled the stampede but the herd is off and running again. They left a trail for you to follow. Ride'em cowboy

alfanso's picture
alfanso

or as full as my oven will allow.   No lucky rabbit's foot, but I think that I located my mojo this last bake, going back to more comfortable territory while still trying to learn the secrets of the longer baguette.

The details:

Yikes! I gave the wrong Letter Fold timing.  I was mixing a batch of rye dough at the same time.  That's the 20,40,60.80 min. folds.  This bread gets folds at 50 & 100 min. in my warm kitchen.

  • Nutritional Yeast 0.25% - looks to be the sweet spot.  Whisked into water before levain is added.
  • 70% overall hydration, 100% levain hydration.
  • 200 FFs with 5 min rest in between
  • 160 min. BF with folds as prescribed 20,40, 60, 80.
  • shaped directly out of BF.  Pre-shape and shaping were easy.  Rolled out to 21 inches, shrunk back 1/2 inch. 
  • Retarded total of 12 hours, with 40 min rest out of retard.
  • 480dF pre-bake, 460dF oven, 13 min w/steam, rotate 10 min additional, 2 min venting.

The takeaway:

  • Good overall shaping now, getting used to the longer length.
  • surprised that there wasn't a better overall bloom, but these are just delightful as is.
  • Still need to get a better open crumb on the longer baguettes.
  • Scores could open more, but I'm still a toddler when it comes to the longer baton.  All in due time.

The halfway point and starting to look good

 

a little thin, alla a ficelle

turned up noses

What it's all about

\

 330g x 3 baguettes (baked weight 247)

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Alan, that overhead shot is gorgeous! They a really beautiful.

How much WW did you use?

That sandwich looks goood.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

the remainder is just as written at the top of the whole shebang.  20% WW, 5% rye.

Between the tiny bit of NY and my getting familiar with the longer shaping, I'm certainly feeling the facility of shaping coming together.  For my "training wheels", just by good fortune, my hand peel is 21 1/4" long, so I lay that on the countertop closest to me and roll immediately above that.

The turned up noses that MT(?) first mentioned was an unanticipated bonus, I suppose.

Simple and just the right amount of meat and cheese for lunch.  However it kills my usual desire to have a yogurt or cottage cheese, as they get pushed to the back of the food line ;-).

One other thing.  Now that I'm not shooting the photos under the incandescent, the breads are looking too yellowish.  The mini-sandwich picture is the more realistic color.  Maybe for color saturation I just can't win. 

thanks.

Benito's picture
Benito

Alan, you’ll need to get either a camera with a ultra wide lens, longer arms, or a ladder to take photos of your new long and slender baguettes to fit them into a photo.  They are a marvel and really great looking.  Your new signature look.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

He mentioned that he "ape-long" arms, hopefully it isn't in his gene pool ;-) .

I thought that with the countertop rest of 40 minutes, they would have shown a bit more expansion in the oven rather than maintaining their super slender shape.  After the two previous bakes, the toast was actually quite good from that 2nd bake, I was quite pleased that I was back to game-on.  And this was definitely my best shaping of the longer batons.  Looking toward making a Vermont SD like this to see what it does.

Thanks.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The long skinny baguettes just have that special look. Soo french...

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Now that's a good look for a French sandwich.  Skinny crusty bread, and some, but not too much, meat and cheese.  I don't do butter on my meat sandwiches (or any sandwich), so I can't claim any real French-ness to it.  Dark deli mustard is my go-to schmear.

I'm looking forward to an almost all white bake, so I can see what's what with shaping and scoring.  And I think that the smidgeon of NY was the ticket.  Made the job easy.  In no way am I abandoning the long batards, and I don't imagine needing to mix the NY into those batches, but these are 50% longer so I'll stick to plan on the longer batons.

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

Have you ever had this Polish mustard. If not you must try it!  kosciusko mustard. The sticks/stilts, look amazing!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

across the bridge from LIC into Greenpoint two summers ago and stopped at a traditional pub for a light dinner at the bar.  Can't recall.   But I grew up on Gulden's Spicy Brown mustard.  That typical pale yellow stuff is vapid.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Gulden's Spicy Brown mustard is my favorite too so there is another thing we have in common. Nice looking samich.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

that i know.  I cant believe you got burst with them being so thin, but then again of course I 

Ftr wingspan is almost 8 inches longer than body.  Now do you believe me ? 

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

Benito's picture
Benito

Awesome lunch Will. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

The only thing missing, for my taste, is the sesame semolina bread.  But yours will do just fine!

Your bake came out pretty nicely.  As I can see, at least from these photos, the three score baggie was the weak link and least impressive of them all, but good shaping and otherwise pretty good scoring.  On the right track, you are!

alan

Benito's picture
Benito

I don’t feel that I’m progressing and improving lately.  This time I tried a different flour, it wa labelled as T55, but when I opened the package it had a fair amount of bran left in the flour.  I decided to use it anyways since I purchased it.  It wasn’t as dark as a whole red fife, but nowhere near as pale as AP or bread flour.

I used the same formula with some minor changes including going back up to 1% diastatic malt and increasing the hydration to 73%.  I did no slap and folds mixing the salt in with Rubaud kneading.  I did two sets of coil folds and the dough had developed a good windowpane after the 2nd set.  I did a bulk cold retard, this time it lasted 25 hours.

This dough was crazy extensible even without any NY.  Unfortunately I had decided to roll it when I realized how extensible it was.  I should have pre-shaped the 2nd and 3rd ones as boules to tighten them up, but of course I only thought of it after I had rolled all three.  After a short bench rest, not wanting them to relax too much I shaped them.  Again they were already quite long before I had a chance to even try to roll them, so in the end they were too long and I had to squeeze them onto the couche.  I’m sure I lost any surface tension in the skin that I may have developed during shaping because of this.

Baked with the steaming gear above the baguettes which I think is the way to go for my oven.  Baked @ 500*F for 13 mins with steam then an additional  13 mins rotating them.  They got a bit too much colour this time.  Oh I side loaded them this time.

I’ll cross my fingers that the crumb is fine, but I have my doubt considering the problems with them being too long and my having to shorten them on the couche.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, that doesn’t sound anywhere near T55. Don’t forget, you can lop off the length if they stretch out too long.

You might consider a little tape on the counter to show the desired length.

It is disappointing when you get the sticks dialed in and then the next few bakes you find yourself going backwards. But if you can learn something while headed in reverse it will be valuable. Bakers MUST be persistent...

The degree of failure, is in direct relationship to the ecstasy of success!

Benito's picture
Benito

No it doesn’t sound like T55 at all.  The store I purchased from both this time and the last usually sells this flour in bulk that you scoop out yourself.  But because of the pandemic they are bagging it up and labeling it.  Unfortunately it was in a brown bag and not a clear plastic one so I didn’t know what I bought until I opened it up at home.  Such is life.  Anyhow I baked it up and it will be interesting to see what the crumb looks like.

I keep forgetting to lop off some of it when it gets too long, duh, now that is twice you’ve told me, you’d think I’d learn.

Next time I will bake with the 12% AP flour and see what happens, at least I know it is a white flour.

I haven’t given up, I’ll keep at it until I get some level of success and eventually consistency.

Benito's picture
Benito

The crumb fortunately isn’t too bad and the flavour is actually quite good.  Not really T55 good but pretty good.  The colour of the crumb is almost like 95% white with 5% whole wheat.  There is density along the sides, it may have been when I tried to squash them shorter to fit on my couche in the cookie tray.

I may actually use this flour again and take into account its extensibility.  I may decrease the hydration down to 70% and pre-shape tighter and in a boule.  That’ll give me more room to roll and stretch during final shaping. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Looks good to me. How would you describe the crust, crunch, and texture? IMO, those qualities are extremely important for baguettes. Your flour sounds a lot like Geremy described his T85.

Benito's picture
Benito

I could see that this flour could be T85, it certainly has some bran in it that I wouldn’t have expected T55 to have.

In any event, the crust was once again crisp and thin, shatters when you bite into it.  The crumb was nice and soft.  In fact, we enjoyed the flavour of this set of baguettes.  My partner says they are the best so far for flavour LOL.

I’ve started another overnight 100% levain and will get the dough going again tomorrow using the same flour, whatever it might actually be.  I’ll hopefully deal with the pre-shaping and shaping better now knowing how extensible it is.

I wonder though, was my dough so extensible because in part the levain was past peak?  Being past peak having fallen about 0.5 cm it would have had quite the high acid load, this acid load being transferred to the final dough may have partially resulted in some of the extensibility, what do you think?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Don’t know, Benny. I have no experience lately with SD for baguettes.Bouabsa with CY only is the present pursuit. If the higher ash French flour produces the same crunch, crisp, and texture as T65 I would be interested. Im getting a sample of T85 next Monday. Excited to give it a try.

Benito's picture
Benito

Here is a close up shot of the flour.  It is nowhere near whole red fife for bran, but it is far from AP for lack thereof.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Looks more like a T75 than T55

Benito's picture
Benito

Having had only one experience with flour with a T rating, all I can say is that this wasn’t the T55 I had before that was amazing.  T75 it could be as well.  Either way, I will bake with it again as it actually tasted good.  I was worried that it would have a very whole wheat flavour which I don’t love in baguettes but it did not.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Equally doubtful but still could be T55.

There are plenty of tiny bran flecks in all the 00 flours I use.

🤷‍♂️

Benito's picture
Benito

I suppose it could be, my only experience with T55 flour before purchased sight seen didn’t have any bran in it.  It was lily white.  But good to know that 00 flours have bran in them. Thanks Michael.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

one would ever know that there was trouble above deck.  The crumb looks mighty fine.  And even the baguettes themselves look like they came out better than okay except for the fella that took the right turn at the end.

It's okay to beat ourselves up a little rather than be complacent.  A bad bake, which this one definitely is not, is a world of difference than coming home empty pocketed after a poker game with a card sharp.  Keep things in perspective.  

And yes, a brown sealed bag of flour is like a box of chocolates...

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Great Warriors are measured by the greatness of their foe. One of the many great lines from Jeremiah Johnson mountain man movie.

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

I have had that almost to long to roll shaping happen more than a ew times. I now pre shape to more of a tight little round ball! Oulala that last sentence gave me chills!

Benito's picture
Benito

Yes now that I know what to expect with this flour, I too will pre-shape to a tighter boule and then hopefully shaping will be better next time.  Will, I’ve had the too long to fit on the deck a couple of times now, you’d have to go back a couple of pages to see.

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

What I learned from over stretching then compressing into the Couche is, the dough can withstand a decent amount of abuse, and still turn out okay. As in respectable but not show quality. 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Benny - I have run three samples to assure that it is repeatable, but I found that I see no benefit in terms of openness of crumb from a retard that lasts longer than it takes to get the dough to a target temperature of 40°F. Leaving it longer does not seem to add anything to the bread (except for the possibility that I am getting a little more acidity).  But I have not run a TTA test on the final bread to measure how much acidity difference there is or see if it is just my imagination.

Have you tried that and have you observed any differences?

Benito's picture
Benito

Doc, the cold retard went so long for convenience.  Since I’m working I have to fit the baking around my schedule.  What is a TTA test?  I’m not familiar with that acronym, sorry.  I may be that the higher acidity of the resulting dough from the long cold retard is contributing to the extensibility though, what do you think?

In terms of how it tastes, I haven’t noticed much of a difference in how sour the bread has tasted from the shorter vs. longer cold retard with these baguettes.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I was wondering if the bulk fermentation is going too long and that is why you are not getting the ears but still a nice open crumb. Abel uses an 8 to 12 hour bulk retard in his method. I think the ears have as much to do with fermentation more so than scoring technique.

Benito's picture
Benito

I have another batch with a long cold retard that I will bake this afternoon.  I've dropped the hydration and I'll pre-shape tighter and I guess we'll see.  I've been trying to fit these bakes in during the work week so that is the reason for the long cold retard.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Alan - When do you start timing your BF?  When flour hits water or when mixing is completed or when autolyse is finished or something else?

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

  My M.O. is autolyse, final ingredient incorporation if called for, then mixing - almost always the French Folds on the workbench.  And then the BF clock starts ticking once the dough is redeposited into the mixing bowl.

These days, and for the past 2-3 years or so, I include the levain into the autolyse thanks to Mr Hamelman's 125% hydration regimen.  Just very recently - since watching the Martin Philip Isolation videos, I also include the salt.  So it may not be the pure autolyse to the letter of the law.  My take is the primary function is to begin the saturation of the raw flours and the release of the starches and their conversion to sugar before final mixing is initiated.  If the levain goes along for the ride, I'm all on board.

Timings in my kitchen are quite skewed from, say, Mr. Forkish's, where "everyone" now knows that his BF times are way too long due to his cool kitchen environment.  Mine is the opposite to most non-tropical region folks where my kitchen is almost always 78-80 even with the A/C on. 

Ahh, last night I saw your post and didn't know the Q was directed at me due to the indent position.  Now I know ;-)

BTW it seems like I may have struck gold by whisking the minuscule amount of NY into the water before anything else.   It dissolves pretty darned rapidly meaning no under-hydrated flakes or flecks.

alan

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Tried it today and it seems more effective than just grinding it up fine and mixing it into the dry flour.  Thanks for sharing.

Also, I shaped as soon as the dough was cold, and this time with the NY in the mix, even though I was cutting off an 8" piece of dough, I had to double it over before finishing the pre-shape because it was so extensible.  Then a 30 min rest and rolled it out to 20".  No rebound at all (w/ 0.25% NY). Very nice to handle.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Alan - Two references of interest for autolyse:

Sugars in flour

Autolyse in a commercial bakery process

The other piece that I do not have a quantitative reference for yet is the sensitivity of native amylase enzymes to osmotic strength (salt concentration).  Industrial enzymes have been developed that have much better salt tolerance than what we find in commercial flour but I don't know how much of a rate penalty you pay in conversion of starch to maltose when you add 2% salt to the mix. The fact that the industrial application of autolyse does not include the salt in the early phases of the enzymatic starch degradation is significant.  And what Martin Philips says is that yeast is not affected by salt.  That is not the same as saying that amylase enzymes are not affected by salt.  In fact it may be that for small values of pre-fermented flour where the yeast numerical density is low at the outset, there is no real loss of performance because there is a small amount of available sugar in raw flour which may be sufficient to feed the yeast until the native amylase enzymes have had time to produce maltose even in the presence of the added salt.  At higher PFF values, I suspect that this is not the case and sugar availability is a limiting factor in bulk fermentation for those formulas.  But this is speculation on my part until I get some quantitative sensitivity numbers for the native amylase enzymes.

The other function of autolyse is to give the flour time to become fully hydrated and 20 minutes is adequate (for finely milled flour - which excludes home-milled and stone ground and many whole meal flours) if there is sufficient initial mixing to eliminate even microscopic zones of water deficiency.

Doc

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The popular consensus concerning the speed at which the autolyse is mixed is slow. But according to the linked article, that was not originally so. Why is this so?

” The mixing of the flour and water only on fast speed on the spiral mixer. It is recommended 

that the hydration of the flour is achieved as quickly as possible during this stage, hence 

mixing on fast speed, and mixing is complete with the gluten is fully hydrated and a clear 

dough is obtained. {"clear dough" seems to refer to a dough that clears the side of the 

mixing bowl, i.e. pulls itself off the side.}”

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

In the absence of any analytical rationale or test results showing that slow mixing is better, faster mixing better fits the industrial timeline and capital equipment capabilties. The chemistry happens at nanosecond speeds, the physical process of hydration happens with minute-level time constants, and the biological process of amylase enzymes cleaving starch into maltose is in the 10's of minutes at reasonable temperatures (and generally warmer is better so a high intensity mix perhaps contributes).

Certainly hand mixing is slow relative to mechanical mixing, but the important factor is the complete wetting of the flour so that absorbtion of the water and hydration of the starch can happen quickly. It is for this reason that including the levain or poolish in the mix prior to autolyse is totally consistent with the objective of the autolyse process.  When using commercial yeast, it is unncessary to include the yeast but it is not precluded.  The caution that goes with including the yeast is that the hydration and temperature profile that the yeast sees as part of autolyse has to be considered when designing the production process and the controllability of a separate addition of a yeast slurry at the end of autolyse and prior to final mix may drive a commercial bakery to do it that way.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I read something similar on the pizza making forum. That the advantage of using a mixer was the initial rapid hydration of the flour and not so much the mechanical kneading.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

The baguette in the photo below is one of four in a batch that was split in half.  Two baguettes were baked as described in the image and two were put back into the retarder and the temperature set to average 44°F overnight (up from 38°F for the previous extended retard batch).  Those will be baked tomorrow after about 18 hrs of additional cold time.

The interesting thing in this batch is the relatively tight crumb on the left end of the loaf and the open crumb in the rest of it. 

The prior batch of four had one baguette that was only pre-shaped and not rolled out because it was already a little over-length, while the other three were folded in half and cinched for a preshape then rolled to 21" during final shaping.  The one loaf that was not rolled had a tight crumb and the other three had reasonably open crumb.

For this batch all four were folded and cinched for preshape then rolled out to 21" for final shaping.  This one (of the first two baked) had a big end and the rest of it was fairly cylindrical.  After cutting it open it became clear what happened.  The fat end has a more dense crumb.

There are two more that will be baked tomorrow and we will see if there is any visible difference between the short retard and the long retard as manifested in the openness of the crumb.  In the recent past I have not seen any significant difference between the crumb of a loaf that was retarded to 40°F core temperature (~3 hrs) and a loaf that was retarded for 16 hrs. So I don't expect any difference this time either but this trial has two baguettes in each batch and no difference between them so while not statistically significant in a strict sense it is a strong test for consistency.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Really nice pair Doc.  Looking forward the the final 2.  Yeah, it is bit of a letdown when the crumb looks so darned good thought the length of the baton for a 67% hydration dough only to wind up being pinched in the middle or compressed at the end, as you're is here.  

Curious how you feel about a 90dF post mix dough temp.  I never temp my dough at any point but I doubt that it ever gets above ambient temperature in the kitchen, if that.  But 90 seems higher than I've ever seen a dough get to.  Was that the plan?

The shaping down the barrel is quite good and consistent with one little flare and the big end is really not easily noticeable except to the harshest critic - the baker himself!  Good scoring and grigne.  Is your flour already malted and the additional 1% the boost, or is it unmalted?

Overall, these two seem pretty successful from my side of the laptop screen. 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

For the past couple of weeks I have felt like I was throwing stones in the pond and watching them splash rather than really hitting anything. Collecting data so to speak with nothing to show for it.  But listening carefully to those who have been baking nice baguettes and trying to analyse the common threads of success then validate them with my own experiments (I think of them as component tests) has helped me build a tool-kit and some design principles to follow.  The technique part still needs work (scoring and shaping) but the foundation feels firm.  Today was a batch that was really designed and only a couple of things changed: BF was shorter than I had planned because the dough was getting soft and puffy and I really wanted it to be relatively firm when it came time to shape so I went to retard 30 min ahead of the plan; then the post shaping counter proof was allotted 90 min and was very poofy after 60 so they went back into the cooler to get ready for the oven. Could they have gone longer?  Probably.  I am always more afraid of overproofing than underproofing. Because the dough temperature is so high I may take another 30 min off of BF next time and recover it in final proof, or what I really want to do is to find a retard temperature vs time chart that will give a more sour baguette without damaging the crumb and allow me to specify in advance when they will be ready to bake.  I now know that if they get down to 40°F then I can hold them there almost indefinitely.  Tonight I am playing with a +4°F higher retard temperature and will see in the AM if there is any significant difference. At some point I will get to the place where the yeast continues to make CO2 and it all goes into solution in the liquid phase of the dough then explodes in the oven when it comes out of solution - making for nice oven spring and tons of surface blisters. But that requires incremental testing rather than Monte Carlo.

The 90°F dough temperature is my starting point since everything comes out of the gate running hard.  I have run a few experiments at 100°F and they work just fine from a microbiology perspective but the physical properties are not what I want them to be (the higher temperature should work even better with instant yeast, but I am sticking with levain until I get as good as I think I can).  Even a 67% hydration dough behaves like it wants to be made into ciabatta. But the dough temperature quickly comes down into the high 80's even in my kitchen which like yours sits at around 78°F in the summer. I have run some tests in the winter at dough temperatures in the mid 60's but it takes a whole day to do what otherwise can be done in 5 hrs and I don't really see a significant difference.

Yes, the flour is malted and has ascorbic acid as well so I don't need to add any to counteract the nutritional yeast. And I do it to get adequate browning without requiring too much extra oven time.  I would like to find a way to reduce the bottom crust browning, but that is graduate work and I don't want to change more than one thing at a time since we are trying to do science as well as art.

The fact that to get the very open crumb requires that the cell structure receive some significant manipulation during final shaping is a new concept for me. So I am trying to understand how rolling serves to collapse and consolidate alveoli. I need to sleep on it and roll it in my mind while watching the cell walls contact each other and see how they merge then figure out what defines the boundary of the successor cell.  It seems most likely that the process is driven by surface tension but what allows it to be so uniform and what is the range of conditions that allows it to happen without totally collapsing the loaf (which it obvioiusly can if you make an error).

Then I want to step up the hydration a tick or two after I get this process to be predictably repeatable. And there are a few points on the flour protein scale to be investigated.  The ~12% that I am currently using is higher than the ~11% that others are suggesting so I am compensating by under-mixing which in this case worked well.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Doc, how do you account for the tighter crumb n the bulbous end? You’d think that the less compacted (bulbous) area would have the most open crumb. 

The crumb of a baguette is clocked in some mystery, at least for me.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I think that you have to compress the dough enough to disrupt the cell structure and cause some of them to collapse making larger cells in the process.  If you don't manipulate it hard enough or the dough is too strong (perhaps because the cells are too small) then you don't get the cell consolidation and it looks like the crumb in the fat end.  If you damage it enough to get it to partially collapse then you are left with an open crumb. If the dough is too flabby when you shape it, and work it too hard, it collapses completely and you have to start all over.

Put this in the category of speculation for now.  What I know is that it has been repeatable with N=2 and I have not gone back into the image history file to look for previous occurences that were not recognized at the time.

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

I just love the prefabricated levain method I invented! (That's quite enough beating my own drum)

 Todays bake will be a one day affair. For this bake the major change will be the changing out the 8% rye four for 8% Italian semolina. Other than that, the procedure will be mostly the same. That being said since it's a daytime bake, I will be able to keep a closer eye on the cold proof. No need to photograph each step. I will see you all at the slashing stage. Peace out, thanks for reading.

First impression. while mixing the dough I notcied that the 65% hydration mixture looked much drier, that the 8% rye dough. I slowly added in 30 ml (g) of additional water. bringing the total hydration to 68%. 

Photo #2 After three hours o cold proof. I don't know why at 41.5F,  the loafs are proofing so fast? In any event I am planning a 5PM bake. 

 Photo #2 (Three hours cold proof)

 

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

In the process of searching the Internet for information about French Baguettes (in this case with poolish), it became the obvious that many of the bakers that have participated in the Baguette Community Bake are, in actuality producing products that are in the very top percentile of even experience bakers.

Take a look at THESE IMAGES.

Our’s are really exceptional when compared to those throughout the world. And, we are still eager to improve...

alfanso's picture
alfanso

but way more are on the horrific scale.  Now I'm not making fun of them - because I'm really not.  There's a lot of wiggle room between not so bad to okay and then to pretty decent.  And that's okay, folks are free to show off their wares.

However, if someone is going to demo or instruct someone else how to do something, then they need to bring the guns and ammo with them.  And there is where I don't respect a lot of what's posted on those pages.  

gavinc's picture
gavinc

It's so prevalent on some FB bread groups that I have stopped commenting and giving advice. I'm no expert but I have been a home baker for about 30 years and am very careful to make sure my advice is in accord with a recognised expert, eg. Jeffrey Hamelman. However, my comments are swamped by people who disagree and have other advice inconsistent with what I've experienced. While sometimes there is more than one way to "skin a cat", obvious bad advice overtakes the good and leads to confusion. Frustrating.

Cheers,

Gavin.

Benito's picture
Benito

For this 10th set of baguettes I used Abel’s formula with these changes from previous.  Used the T? flour again that definitely has a small amount of bran in it. No NY used, 1% diastatic malt dissolved in the water.  Hydration dropped to 68%, Rubaud after salt added followed by 2 sets of coil folds until aliquot jar had risen 30%.  Cold Retard for 25 hours to work around my work schedule.

Pre-shaping done in a tightish boule started with the pre-heat of the oven.  Rested and shaped.  With the lower hydration these had more elasticity.  Shaping went much better, I think I have to stay with hydration in this area.  Scoring using the lame around 45-60* from horizontal and using quick strokes.  I tried to go for the pointy ended shape and was more of less successful.  They are probably a bit too fat, I will work on my shaping and hopefully improve if I can keep the dough consistent with the same flour and hydration from bake to bake.  Changing flours so often leaves me with too many changing variables and with my nascent skills it too hard to deal with.

Preheated the oven 525ºF Silvia towel in for preheating.  Dropped temperature to 500ºF when baguettes side loaded x 13 mins.  Then removed steam equipment and dropped temperature to 480ºF and baked until browned.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, some definite improvements! Like the pointed ends. I can see where you are working your way towards some sweet shaping. The crust looks thick. Is that the case? Nice ears, for sure.

I am learning more and more how very delicate french flour really is. 66% hydration and the dough is definitely too dry. But 68% and the dough is very, very wet. Even after 300 slap & folds the 68% remained very slack. It seems closer to Ciabatta than baguette dough. My conclusion, this french flour is super intolerant of variances in hydration.  Have no experience with American pastry flour, but I can say for sure it is much weaker than KA AP by a lot!

So, if the 68% is in fact too wet, then 67% must be the sweet spot...

Benito's picture
Benito

I’m just happy to have improved a bit this time from last.  It is easy to get down about your baguettes skills with the level of difficulty.  I had my ruler out and they were stretched out to 16”, but then they contracted in the couche while back in the fridge.  Oh I didn’t mention that I left them on the counter in the warm kitchen for 15 mins after shaping before putting them into the fridge.  I wanted to give them a chance to puff up a bit but then cool down for scoring.  I think I wasn’t  getting any tension on the skin the last few times especially when you over stretch and then squash them to fit.  This time I felt that there was some tension in the skin.  The skin took to the scoring better.  I don’t have as much angle on the blade and I’m scoring more deeply.  I wonder if that is making the crust look thicker or if in fact it is thicker.  We’ll know at dinner time when I cut one open.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

It looks like you are on the correct road as far as scoring goes and figured out the angle.  Vast improvements on most everything.  I like like the pointy tips, reminds me of the late 1950's Chevrolets front bumpers!  https://www.classicdigest.com/cars/cadillac/eldorado/155906.

Perhaps a bit too thick a crust, but beautiful coloration and dark bake, just my style.  What is the weight of these babies?

Benito's picture
Benito

I hope the crust isn’t too thick, they might turn out to be and that would be a pity, another step back because I had been pretty steady with the thin crisp crusts.

I like the pointy ends, but I wasn’t actually going for only slightly elongated footballs which is what I achieved.  I’ll get there eventually, but it is nice to see some ears now.  It think the issue was lack of tension on the skin, angle of the lame and depth of scoring, at least that is what I’m thinking, I may not be correct.

Edit:

Sorry I didn’t answer Alan’s question about dough weight, they were about 285 g each.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I’ve done some thinking about crust thickness on baguettes. It seems the ‘French Style” baguettes have very thin and crispy crust, and I believe it to be a result of weak french flours. If we study the true french baguette, most images will show a crust that is thin, very light and crackly, but the ears are not nearly as prominent as our objective goals are. alan has spoiled us for large prominent ears. Both styles of baguettes are to be considered complete successes, IMO. 

Geremy proved that nice ears are possible with french flour but they are not the norm. The image below was accomplished with all french flour (I think T65). That loaf is truly phenomenal! So, even though prominent ears are almost impossible with weaker french flours they are a possibility. Were it not for this image, I could rest with the better results of my present breads. But... if it can be done, and the image below shows that it can, I sure would like to produce it. That darn Geremy!!!

Benito's picture
Benito

Geremy’s baguettes are incredible and something to strive for, but I won’t be too hard on myself if I never achieve it.

My baguettes didn’t have a thick crust, maybe slightly thicker but not much.  Still far far thinner than any sourdough batard’s crust that I have ever baked.

As you can see in the crumb there is bran, not a ton, but it is there.  So this isn’t T55 or T65, maybe it is T75 as someone has surmised above.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, the thin crust report is good news. The bridges between the scores are so nice and prominent. To what do you attribute that to?

What angle and how deep did you score?

Benito's picture
Benito

I believe my scoring was deeper than before maybe 0.5 cm. From horizontal the angle was about 60 degrees. I think those two factors along with more skin tension from better shaping and maybe lower hydration have contributed to the grigné and ears. 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Nice Benny! The thicker ears must come from a new scoring technique. Did you change your stroke. Change the launch angle to hit more home runs. A deeper cut with some extra length? 

You may have to scale to a smaller piece to get the slender look and less crowding on the steel. Nice job of working with a new flour.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks Don.  Yes I changed my scoring and I’m using quick slashes at about 60% from horizontal and going deeper to about 0.5 cm.

I think part of the issue with browning must be crowding on the steel.  I probably should only be baking two at a time, unless I can get them slimmer then perhaps there might be more space on the steel.  I will continue to work on the shaping and try to get them slimmer next time.  There is always something I want to improve upon with everything that I have ever baked.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

The second half of the batch was retarded overnight at ~44°F and baked this morning after ~16 additional cold hours. The result is supportive of the theory that retard time has little effect on crumb openness and that I am inconsistent in shaping baguettes. The image below illustrates the different zones where the dough was compressed during shaping (surrounded by the blue ellipses) and the areas that were not (enclosed in pink boxes) where the crumb remains fairly uniform and somewhat dense.  The green arrows point to the smaller cross-section produced by the compression during shaping.

Other than the inconsistent shaping, the general appearance of the crumb is quite similar to the loaf above.

The photo below illustrates an esthetic benefit of a long retard at a slightly higher temperature (44°F vs 38°F in this case).  There is prolific blistering of the crust, though there is still a lot of experimentation to nail down the specific conditions that lead to this end point.

And the crust is slightly darker than the loaves baked (with minimal retardation) yesterday (when the retard was just enough to cool off the dough so that it was easier to handle). This is a little surprising, but attests to the low temperature activity to the diastatic malt (added for its alpha amylase enzymes).

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I just che ked and the post count for this CB was 999. So I thought I’d make it an even 1000.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

I just looked up the baguette photos in some of my books: Local Breads by Leader, BBA by Reinhart, and Bread 1st edition by Hamelman.

Dan is right.  All of all y'all's "dialed in" loaves are equal to or better looking than all the baguettes  in those books.

The Village Baker by Ortiz has one grainy B/W photo with baguettes, and all y'all beat those hands down.

congrats, ladies and gentlemen.  

alfanso's picture
alfanso

"Noun

The practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet."

And there we have it.  The dedicated exchange and wealth of information and input from folks with varying degrees of background and practice in baguettery.  

All with one goal in mind, okay maybe two or three.  Basically to raise awareness and interest to the joys of baguette baking and its challenges, and to increase the skill set of those who wished to participate or just tune in.

I doubt if there's a single participant who isn't a better baker at some level due to the own participation.

"a rising tide lifts all boats"

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I see references to blade angle without enough information for me to recreate it.

I use two angles to describe blade orientation:

Starting with the handle of the lame aligned with the axis of the loaf and the flat of the blade vertical (even if it is curved, assume it is curved symmetrically about the center of the blade after the blade is oriented vertically). Now the elevation angle is formed by lifting your wrist and the back of the lame so that the handle forms an acute angle with the axis of the loaf.  This is really a dive angle if you use airplane coordinates but we will call it the elevation angle and it is positive as the handle is lifted higher and higher toward the vertical.

The second angle is the rotation of the blade about an axis parallel to the loaf axis so that the path of the end of the lame handle lies on a circle, the axis of which is parallel to the loaf axis. I refer to this a the roll angle with clockwise roll being positive.

If there is a different preferred coordinate frame I am happy to adopt it but I don't know what it is.

It was just pointed out to me that there is another angle to capture, and that is the direction that the blade curves.  Let's use the right hand rule to describe blades that have the belly of the curve on the right side of the handle when the blade is vertical to have positive curvature, and blades that have the belly of the curve on the left to have negative curvature. Some right handed users may prefer to use a negatively curved blade to assault the dough and may use a negative roll angle to go with it.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

French flour is giving me fits! Went 68% hydration this time and it was way wet. Decided to give it 300 uninterrupted  slap & folds hoping that they would bring strength to the dough. Shaping was a challenge. The dough was super slack and very sticky.

Since the bake before this was too dry at 66% and this bake is too wet at 68%, the only assumption it that 67% should be the best. It’s hard to believe that this flour is so water sensitive. Think about it, 14 grams of flour is the difference between sloppy wet and super dry. Geremy just got his T65 and he tells me that 72% is probably just right. Either he knows something I don’t or we have very different flour.

The dough was scored at approximately a 60 degree angle, but with such a slack dough, ears were not to be. Same old, same old. Bread always turns out a great texture and taste. Were it not for that, I abandon it in favor of the good ole USA flour.

Making small strides towards sloped ends during shaping.

Benito's picture
Benito

That is crazy that 66% was too dry and 68% too wet.  Was it the same batch of flour or two different batches of the same flour?  Perhaps the flour used from this set was stored somewhere very humid or the previous somewhere really dry before you received it.

I like your shaping with the pointy ends, very very nice.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Since phillippe was waiting on a huge shipment (hence the delays).  Best thing to compare now maybe is if you stand mix it using the same timing and settings that i do and see what you get then.  Maybe its getting overworked.  As mentioned before the amount of mixing is really light and totally predictable.  I juat did the following.

- 500g + 320g water 4 minute slow mix.

- 30 minute autolyse

- 8 minute slow mix with .5g IDY and 10g salt

- 2 mins high speed and gradually adding the remaining 30g of water.

From here Im fermenting for 1 hr then i will FF and ferment again for 30 mins then bulk in fridge.  Also its rather cool here around 75F so i will likely add some time to the 1.5 hours on the bench but otherwise ... so far it looks like the dough i know ;) 

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Geremy, my Kitchenaid is laid up with stripped gears. Maybe I’ll borrow my neighbors and follow in your foot steps.

If I remember correctly, you don’t use any retardation. Is that correct?

Please try to spell out your method and process. Images would be nice and I’ll follow along. Hopefully tomorrow.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Both will make a difference.  IDY really wants to be rehydrated with 125° water, and if you use room temperature water the performance will be significantly different.

Gluten development is determined by the shear energy absorbed by the dough and the dough hook puts less energy in than the paddle so you just have to be consistent.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Danny - Make sure you know what your flour moisture content really is.  You live in Louisiana  and that is not the same as Paris (or Lyon). Weigh out 100g on a baking sheet and dry it in the oven at 140-160°F until it stops losing weight, then reweigh the pan + flour and calculate how much weight it lost.

I notice a lot of variation in crumb openness that is quite similar to what I experienced, with your skinny loaf  showing a more uniformly open crumb than the fatter one.  To what do you attribute this?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Doc, I attribute the tighter crumb on the ends of the smaller loaf to pressing down in order to form the tapered ends.

I will need to heat some flour and test the moisture content. 

kendalm's picture
kendalm

...from the air ?  Seems that if i ordered 2 sacs of 50lbs each and sent one to cali and the other to new orleans i would be really freaked out if the one in new orleans absorbed even 30g of weight from the air.  Is that really something that matters as a factor when deciding hydration ? Really curious.  Seems to me akin to weighing a battery before and after it depletes to figure how many electrons rushed out and converted to energy ! 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Put 100g T65 into the oven set at 170F

  • after 4 hr - weight 89.22g
  • after 7 hr -  87.77g
  • after 8.5 hr - 87.71g

Moisture content determined to be 12.29%

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Set an alarm so that you do that again in January next year.  Then we can see how much difference you observe.  You might try a different flour as well to see if there is a significant difference in that dimension as well.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I ordered a bag of this flour and it should be here later in the week. I look forward to comparing my experiences with yours and to see how it compares with the Wheat Montana AP I have been using that I think has a nice flavor.

The tapered ends look nice on the outside but I was surprised to see the effects on the crumb.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Don, the good news is, it is very possible to shape the baguette with gradually tapering ends and still produce completely open crumb throughout. Benny and Maurizio prove that out,

So much to learn...

I look forward to reading your results with T65!

Benito's picture
Benito

Surprisingly the tapered end didn’t have that tght a crumb. Along the sides are tighter than the centre. I haven’t been able to attain the super crumb from a few bakes back, but I also have had to change flours which may have affected it. 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Suppose you have 1000g of flour and in one case it is dry and in the other case it is 15% moisture.  The bread you make requires 670g of water for flour with 15% moisture. How much water do you need to add to the dry flour to produce the same resulting dough?

There is 150g of water in one batch to which you add 670g resulting in 820g of total water added to 850g of dry flour (96.4% hydration)

To yield the same moisture content using dry flour you have to add 964g of water which would normally be excessive but it produces the same dough and adds an additional 294g of water to achieve the same result (though the batch weight is greater by 294g as well).

Real world results are not that extreme, but the calculation and the necessary adjustments are arrived at by the same methodology.

So it does matter, even if you don't think so. I think everybody has a favorite hydration that works for them which implicitly accounts for the moisture in their flour. But I suspect that you can count on the thumbs of one hand the number of people you know who routinely make the adjustment. And that estimate may be high. But it is not irrelevant if you are using an unfamiliar flour, and that may justify actually making the measurement.

Interesting perspective here

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I am still in baguette mode so why not post it. The Bouabsa recipe again and the last of it's kind for a while because I will hopefully be working with the french flour next weekend and we will see how it compares. Wheat Montana AP with 78% hydration because it is really dry here now. I just rolled up the dough in a tube shape and rested seam up. I think I will switch to a fat oval batard type pre shape next time because they end up too skinny in the middles otherwise. I did get a nice double taper on one of them anyway. Used ADY again and retarded for 21 hours. I should have added some malt because they didn't want to brown. The crooked one got stuck on the stone when I went to slide it in place and it wiggled out of line and affected the crumb at that spot. Otherwise the Super Duper Peel is working smoothly now with the right belt tension.

B baguettes

B crumb

The french flour must really be something because these taste really good. I saw a great T-shirt yesterday that said 

Montana

social distancing

since 1889

 

 

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

As per the rules skiers are able to discard their worst run. Well bake two of three is that run for me. I hate making excuses, however, three late afternoon Dewar's on the rocks, may or may not have contributed to the horrific slashing job. Truth is the bake was doomed for the initial mixing stage. I took a tried and true formula messed with it with little before thought. I will revisit the semolina baguette, but not without some thought. Smile...While batch number two turned out well below my normal, average sticks, they were quite edible. ( Bake three of three is set for 8:00PM bake off)

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

What lesson did you learn from this one?

Will, I wonder if the loaves would have blown out or not if they weren’t scored? If they didn’t blow out, maybe they would have produced Ciabatta-like crumb.

I imagine high percentages of Semolina in baguettes is a unique challenge in itself.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Broke protocol (not to use this new oven for bread but more to join the action.  No steam just mist on the surface.  First loaves in about 2 years - ok results but working on the newer bread dedicated unit - 

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Like the Demis. How much do they weigh? Shaping those don’t come easy for me.

Pretty good after a 2 year sabbatical!

kendalm's picture
kendalm

The demi is really a mini and it's whatever I had left over, maybe 150g 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Can't wait to see the brand when it makes it mark. It must have been difficult holding back for so long watching us from the sidelines. So ready to bust out that a gas oven had to be used. I hope the new oven works as anticipated. I look forward to any help you could provide after the T65 gets here. We will probably be on pg 5 by then

kendalm's picture
kendalm

The Louis Lamour method (for Dan) and will post sometime before you T65 arrives.  I'm really interested to see how it works out for others ! 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

As strange as this sounds, the raw T65 flour taste a little sweet to me. It is milled super fine, like talcum powder.

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

Some good, back sliding in other areas. Slashing mostly failed, shaping was a big disappointment because I was improving. Still in all, I am happy with the oven spring, and ear on that one stick! Additionally I am getting closer to the chubby 400G at 17" sticks I am striving for. I'm not going to give to much worry to the color, other than remembering to spray the skin. 

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

Another element in the plus column. Overall I rate this bake a "C" passing, but I can do so much better! Please excuse the low quality photograph. 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Multiple variations on the theme this time. Switched to KA AP flour. Stayed with 4 x 390g, 1% diastatic malt + 0.25% nutritional yeast dissolved in 20ml of the water. Dough temperature was a little lower (85°F vs 90°F). Moved some of the fermentation time from bulk (90 min) to final proof (2 hr) - to the detriment of the final results.  Retard at the end of BF was 2 hr - just enough to get the dough temperature down to 45°F to improve handling during shapping. Baked two pans of two baguettes each at the same time (with noticeable differences in oven spring and browning with the upper set turning out less brown but with increased oven spring). Crumb (bottom photo) is not as uniform and noticeably tighter than the last batch (I attribute this to the shorter BF).  Shaping was similar to last batch: cut off a strip of dough, fold it in half, cynch it up (net about 10" long), rest 30 min, tighten once more and roll out to 20".
Proof on the counter 2 hr, retard 45 min to stiffen the  dough then bake - so this was eight hours end to end.

The lame was rolled over further (maybe 15°) for the two at the bottom with a noticeable difference in the ears, but they were also baked lower in the oven which becomes a confuser.

I think next round will increase BF to about 3 hr and push the final proof as far as I think I can before chilling and baking.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

The top two have a better rise and ear and overall nicer appearance.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Right now I am attributing the difference to oven position and possibly to lame technique.  Next batch will be four sticks, two high/two low in the oven and one of each slashed with a higher blade roll angle

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

The shape and crumb are really nice. Are you using the higher DT to promote a more sour taste? If so would a longer retard do the same thing?

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

While the LAB does have a marginally higher growth rate at elevated temperatures, 90°F is not enought suppress the yeast which is what you need if you want to see any real acidity increase.  I do it for timing, and so long as the dough rheology is not making it terribly difficult to handle, warmer means a shorter overall process.

A longer retard can do that for you, but at low temperatures it is not the relative growth rate that I would worry about so much as the really slow rate of the LAB acid production that makes it take a long time. I think the ideal temperature is perhaps right where the yeast effectively stops fermenting sugar while the LAB continues to make acid - and that is a strong function of the specific yeast you are using and thus not something that we can provide general guidance on (except that you have to figure it out for yourself).

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Doc, do the top 2 loaves have thinner crust than the bottom 2?

The top 2 look a lot like MTLoaf’s baguettes, which I am becoming fond of. Thin crispy crust is a big thing with baguettes for me. That’s why I’ve been using CY only for the last number of bakes.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

These are sourdough with no commercial yeast.  I may get around to that but the space to be explored has too many dimensions already - I don't need another one right now.

I really want a baguette that has some sourdough in it, so if I go to CY it will likey be via Geremy's practice, a small amount as a booster rather than as a replacement.

The crust is typical sourdough crust - chewy, crackly, intensely flavored.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

You may like to check-out Hamelmans's sourdough baguettes. only 0.2% yeast and 0.1% malt powder.

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Thanks.  When the time comes that sounds about right, though the malt would not be enough to do much, unless it is non-diastatic malt and there to give the yeast a little boost.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Following on from my baguettes made early in this community challenge from the Pain au Levain with whole-wheat, I wanted to return to a simpler baguette and introduce hand kneading with stretch and folds instead of letting the mixer do the work. Previously, I have made baguettes with poolish quite a few times and have that experience as my baseline to compare the results.

Hamelman’s formula is 66% hydration with white bread flour. I have to settle for 340 g for each baguette dough as that is the max of my oven depth. The flour available to me now is a Lauche white flour of 11.5% protein. I am pleased with the overall results, but my shaping went a bit askew in one of the baguettes. I could feel that I had too much dough in one end after I had rolled it out to my maximum length of 30 cm. Even though the formula is 66% hydration, the dough had a very soft feel and I could easily straighten them up on the wooden peel while holding their shape. Scoring was easy without any drag.

Baked in a pre-steamed oven at 237 °C for 24 minutes. Steam for the first 5 minutes and finished in a drying oven.

After the bake, I could see which baguette had the shaping problem with uneven spring and inconsistent size lengthwise. Hand kneading resulted in a lighter, more open crumb and bigger oven spring than using my mixer. A nice rich russet crust with a creamy open aromatic crumb.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Interesting change with the hand mix. Was the goal a less developed gluten to open up the crumb? It is quite nice for the lower hydration and the oven spring was impressive.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Gavin, from my point of view your shaping looks very good. We are our own worst critics.

You mention, “hand kneading”. I’m thinking like you. If we develop the gluten completely, it could hinder the oven spring and maybe tighten the crumb. Haven’t proved that out,  but it is my present thought.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

This experiment was to test whether gentler handling of the dough resulted in a better product in volume and crumb. My mixer is a Thermomix that has an aggressive kneading action compared to other mixer types. To give you an idea of how aggressive; when determining the desired dough temperature, the friction factor I must apply for 2:30 minutes is 55°F, whereas most mixers are around 24°F to 26°F to moderate gluten development. The chance of overmixing is a real threat using my Thermomix.

Since reading the posts here, I realise that many do the slap or stretch and folds.  I have tested this over the last three weeks with my sourdough, that has seen an improvement.

I am pleased with the results yesterday with the baguette.

Cheers,

Gavin.

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

Hello, friends.

 I am in the research phase of planning my next baguette bake. I settled on a very interesting bread by None other than the queen of Italian bread, Ms. Carol Fields. If anyone is interested in her exact formula, I picked up the PDF of her book "The Italian baker" pretty cheap over at Amazon. The durum wheat bread I chose is called Altamura bread, from the Puglia region. I am a little confused by her description of shaping the traditional pompadour shape? No worries I plan on shaping this 89% hydration bread into rustic baguettes. Below, is interesting information I gleaned from the internet. Ah, that bring me to one other note. I plan on using Italian mineral water for the bake, Fiuggi water (Acqua di Fiuggi ) if I can find some. I think, midweek I will start the biga. 

 

Altamura bread is particularly special, as it is the only bread in Europe that has Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, which it was granted by the EU in 2003. The bread is therefore highly regulated; if bakers want to use the name Pane di Altamura DOP, they must meet all PDO benchmarks to ensure that they are using traditional methods and ingredients. These requirements include using particular varieties of wheat, a certain specification of water, a consistent production method and a final crust which must be more than three millimeters thick. That’s pretty precise!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I look forward to seeing this one proceed. It sounds super interesting. Like the background info.

What is the percentage of Durum?

Does it use sourdough?

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

The bread is 100% durum wheat flour. No sourdough, the biga has 1/2 teaspoon of C.Y, and the final dough has another 1/2 teaspoon.  Very interesting indeed! 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

bread fascination.  Indeed a 100% durum wheat bread, we "all" also used a 100% durum levain rather than a different pre-ferment.  There's a lot of TFL info available on this bread.  I was a participant as well, and in my often typical wayward ways, I deviated enough from the traditional shape that I had to move three times, and change my identity to avoid the personal ire of any adherents!

My post has links to other earlier baker's attempts.  The neighboring Basilicata town of Matera has a bread in the same tradition.  

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

As it happens, I was just now checking out the bakes by Dr. Snyder and Franko! My wife picked up the Fiuggi water at the Italian specialty shop on University. so this is already taking shape! The durum flour I have is a very fine grind. Ms. Fields, call for fine, so I think I am on the right track as far as ingredients.  

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Yeah, I know that it's not but I usually forget their real name, as since the day they opened, that's what I call them.  A fairly good source for the sometimes harder to find items but you need to know the price of things before they go into your basket!  When down there, I find myself shopping in Gristedes, a necessary evil, although there probably isn't a single thing about the store that appeals to me except the Utz Dark Baked Pretzels, and I can get those at CVS across the street when I knuckle under to the desire.  Way way back, the Knickerbocker Grill was a wonderful AND fair priced place to catch a Village meal in style.  No more!  One last piece of history here, the former home of the bank on the corner of 8th and University, was for decades The Cookery jazz club and restaurant, where we went a number of times to see the late great Alberta Hunter.

Not much to do with bread here, but when I saw you mention Sacco & Vanzetti I had to comment.  Okay, I'm done...

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

I want to say, when I moved to the Village 20+ years ago that spot was a woman's clothing shop. Then BBQ's for many years (lots of liquid lunches at that spot) Yes, it's imposable for us to do a big shopping near home. We go to queens, or even the LES to load up. So, couple of two three years ago, I needed a bluefish on the bone for one of moms signature recipes. (Daughter of a poor fisherman) My bride and I walked to Chinatown to look for the fish. Alan, I tell you what, I would not feed the fish I saw there to my dog! So we walked back and went to the "Valente &...spot" All they had out were filets, The dude must have thought I wanted him to hack up a bluefish for one steak. When he realized I wanted the whole fish he came up with one! I didn't even care about the price. Sometimes when it comes to my cooking, price is of little consequence! This was the resulting meal. 

Bluefish on the bone

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I'll follow your adventure in Altamura bead with interest. I have Daniel Leader's book "Local Breads" and he devotes a complete chapter on the bread from the small town Altamura. I haven't made any bread from his book yet but it's an excellent read.

Cheers,

Gavin 

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

There have been may passed posts, that used the local breads formula, with very impressive results. In fact in a post directly above, Alfonso shared the link to his 100% durum bake, following basically the local breads formula! Fingers crossed that thing normalize all over, maybe we could do a C.B. on durum wheat bread! 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks to Geremy, I am getting a better handle on the French flour. I followed his instructions verbatim. Even borrowed my neighbors Kitchenaid mixer to duplicate exactly what Geremy was doing. The bake used all CY @ 0.32%. Past Bouabsa bakes were difficult at 68% hydration but with the new instructions 72% was very doable. I am wondering if the fact that I was mixing the IDY with the dough water may have had a detrimental affect on the dough. That seems strange, but recently read that IDY should be mixed dry with the flour, which I did for this bake.

Although the dough was not super strong, it was definitely more manageable. Shaping was better, but nothing has shaped nearly as well as Hamelman’s Pain au Levain. None came even close! If I were into Instagram fame, there is no doubt, Hameman’s Pain au Levain would be the choice. Great bread for the Baguette CB, Alan! The dough was chilled after the final proof and before slashing.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Dan, your grand-daughter could sell those at her lemonade stand and you two could make a fortune.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Seeig that shaping and handling was challlenging.  Not sure about the IDY and water theory - who knows.  Btw on the steam - i mentioned to go easy probably because you recent 60 degree slash bake didnt bust and suspected maybe you over steamed.  I find that its kinda sensitive but if you figure the ideal steam blast this ia where you can really develop good gringne.  Too much steam and the loaf is too soft, too little steam gets a duller crust.  Now, while on the topic of ovens, wheres my friggen electrician at - hes late !!! 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Moulin Auguste
I have a mix started after it arrived this afternoon. 🇫🇷 🥖

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Looking forward to seeing and hearing your results.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

oh, wait.  I've been retired since 2003...

Beautiful bake Dan, corner bakery window dressing for sure.  Is it just the lighting or are these lacking some caramelization sheen from the steaming?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Can we assume from the image below that the stone should be raised to subject the crust to more heat?

I ask because if you examine the crumb it is obvious that bottom has a nicer crumb than the top. These leads me to consider that more heat from the top may do two things.

  1. enhance the crumb on the top to match the bottom
  2. produce nicer oven spring and ears?

As an example, let’s look at Doc’s crumb shot (below). The cell structure appears to mirror the top and the bottom. Should this be considered an indication of even heat distribution between the top and bottom of the loaf?

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

The hot air is flowing both over and under each loaf from the side, so the biggest difference I see between two side-by-side loaves is due to flow blockage by the up-stream loaf, and since I reverse the pans (rotate each pan 180°) half way through it pretty much balances out.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Time to put aside my pain rustique experiments and get down to biznez again.  I asked my wife what's up on her desired baking wheel of fortune, and she chose these, which are likely our most baked bread other than maybe the Vermont SD.  The semolina here is actually the finer durum, although I'll probably call them semolina until the day I Croak Monsieur!

60% semola rimacinata, 40% AP, the hydration on these is a modest 67%.  And while I get some open crumb, the high percentage of semolina does not play fair when it comes to open crumb. 

0.25% NY mixed into the liquid, 100% hydration AP levain & salt aded at autolyse time, a shortened 20 minutes affair.  2 hrs/ BF with folds at 40,80 & 110.  And then retarded until divide and shaping somewhere about half-way through the retard cycle.  460dF one, 13 min. steam, rotate and 13 min more, 2 min oven venting.

The Nutritional Yeast likely provided the extensibility that the dough needed, and again, it did not shrink back much if any.  I'd like to see some better, more consistent shaping throughout the barrel of the baton, should have been a half shade darker, and perhaps should have ben a thicker barrel.

But I can't complain about the scoring or the overall bake.  At all.

My couche was initially cut to accommodate the length of my long batards, too short for these.  A few years ago my brother brought this back from Paris for me.  An all cotton kitchen towel, it seems to not only do the job, but also be a most appropriate couche.

330g x 3 baguettes 

dbazuin's picture
dbazuin

That a coincidence, I have a boule with 45% semolina rimacinata en 55% White wheat in the fridge. 
The first time I am using more then 20% in bread. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

A recent, past few decades, hybrid grain of wild barley and durum wheat was developed in Spain.  It is available in some countries in Europe, although I'm not sure about the Netherlands.  It has a number of advantages over traditional grains, and can be found on websites that promote the grain .

I've baked with it and it is vey similar to semolina/durum.  Something you might want to look into as an alternative to semolina. My most recent bake with it was in April.  And I like it, but it isn't available here in North America yet.

 

dbazuin's picture
dbazuin

There is at least one wind mill here in the Netherlands thats sells it in there shop and on there site. 

The also sell kamut but that is really expensive. Like € 7,05/$ 8,30 1 kilo.

dbazuin's picture
dbazuin

There is at least one wind mill here in the Netherlands thats sells it in there shop and on there site. 

The also sell kamut but that is really expensive. Like € 7,05/$ 8,30 1 kilo.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The seeds really glam it up.

Was it difficult to roll the shaped baguettes in the seeds?

Was the dough firm, similar to Pain au Levain?

alfanso's picture
alfanso

A little rubbery during the French Folds, but it smooths out and becomes incredibly extensible by the first letter fold, even when not using the NY.

The only difficulty in rolling it in the seeds is that my standard, and perhaps longest tray is a few inches too short for the dough.  So I had the somewhat bend the dough for it to fit.  Not hard or inconvenient, but not right either.

Benito's picture
Benito

The seeds on the outside of the baguettes look amazing Alan.  At this point in my baguette skills I don’t think I’d be up for rolling my shaped baguettes on a damp cloth and then in seeds, I’ll leave that for you experts.  Sesame seeds on the outside of a sourdough baguette are one of my favourite types of baguettes though so someday...

alfanso's picture
alfanso

just keep a wet towel, aper or otherwise, large enough for the shaped dough to fit on.  A quick roll back and forth, and then the same in a tay of seeds.  No pressure applied at either movement.  You can do it.

Benito's picture
Benito

duplicate

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

You mentioned divide, shape and couche  mid way through the bulk retard. Looking for specifics of the seed application.

  1. Did you roll the shaped and cold baguettes on a wet cloth and then through the seeds? Then sore and bake cold?
  2. Did the seeds have a negative affect on the scoring? (Beautiful, by the way!)
alfanso's picture
alfanso

first wet cloth, then seeds.  Just a short back and forth gentle movement on each.  The scoring was done right out of retard and just before loading the oven.

I don't think the seeds are heavy enough to matter on the scoring or eventual grigne and they don't get in the way of the blade at al.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Do you apply the seeds after shaping and then put the dough back into the fridge, or are the seeds applied after the full retard is complete?

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I never considered whether to do it at the end of retard, but at that stage I want to do nothing else manipulative other than move the dough from couche to oven peel.

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

Amazing bread! Professor Cavell .would be proud of the artisan bread baking effort! Kuddos.

 Now all that being said, I just know you and Mr. Wilson are warming to a 100% durum wheat bake! Smile... 

P.S. Counting down to the biga build!  

alfanso's picture
alfanso

not a particularly difficult task.  I don't know about Mr. Wilson, but I do think about Me and Mrs. Jones .

Have some tasty fun with your formula.  Having grown up a stone's throw from both Jewish and Italian bakeries in the Bronx, I find that rye with caraway and sesame semolina breads, both my favorites,  are on my short rotation.

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

I make a very decent low % deli rye also. I would be curious to see yours.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

These days I use 100% hydration AP levain vs. what is in this post.  Also currently use  25% rye flour and 0% WW, and it doesn't really matter what hydration % starter to build the levain.

This is what that looks like from a bake a few weeks ago, without the cornstarch glaze.  There are also caraway seeds mixed into the dough.

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

All of a sudden, I am in the mood for pastrami with brown mustard on rye! Lenny's? Hmm, maybe.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

We typically fly home on a late afternoon flight.  A stop at Lenwich for an airport gate lunch is an essential part of the get-away day routine!  Sometimes also a diversion to Bleecker St. pizza on the way to the A or E.  That means JFK or LGA for the uninformed!

There no longer is a "typical" flight for the foreseeable future for us.  We each had 3 flight reservations that we had to cancel in the early Spring.  As Dylan sang "We ain't going nowhere".  I won't get a plane until there is a vaccine.  And I'll assume that we codgers will be on the first half of the line-up for the injection.

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

they closed the 6th av. location. They reopened on University and I want to say 11st? I was thinking it was a new satellite location. Until I notice the 6th av. spot is closed. I am 90% sure the new spot is open, Last time I passed it was either just open or still coming soon.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I have always had a fondness for semolina sesame seed. Glad to see you back on your game. Now we are off to explore the flours of the world while making baguettes. Durham flour! I haven't seen it in the shops around here only semolina. Will that work? I hope so or my delivery driver is going to hate me.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Some Canadian mills make an Atta Durum that mimics semola rimacinata.  I found it and took the plunge with a 20lb. bag I saw, and was not disappointed on the first bake.

Semolina comes in a few different grinds, and even the finest of them, #1 I think, is too coarse for bread.  But that's what I believe without ever having experienced it myself. 

This was the first bake with the longer baguettes where I felt comfortable with this new length, basically 50% longer than my standard "long batards".  Nothing like feeling that hint of confidence at addressing the task at hand.

Thanks, alan

Benito's picture
Benito

The Atta Durum is widely available here in Toronto.  I’ve seen it at many of the largest supermarkets in the “ethnic” foods section with the Indian foods.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I have always wondered about the flours I bake with that come from the shelf of most supermarkets. I try to buy the best available which used to be King Arthur but it has been gone from our shelves for a while. I am fortunate to live near wheat country and the local flour is pretty good (Wheat Montana) and it goes along with the effort to purchase locally. However the boys in the band were singing the praises of this flour and I saw it as a rare opportunity to bake with really good flour for once. I don't know if I will ever make it to France but I have one more good reason to go now.

I used The Bouabsa formula of course and mixed it in my normal way a 20 minute autolyse with the 1/4 tsp SAF IDY at 70% water. Added the salt and 15 gr more water and mixed Rubaud for a minute or two rested for 10 and mixed another minute. Two coil folds in the first hour and one more an hour later as I put it in the fridge for the night, two and a half hours after starting. The dough had a silky texture but very sticky at the same time. When I looked this morning the dough had doubled and was domed so I punched it down and did another coil fold and went to work. I took it out of the fridge after 18 hours and divided it folded the ends in and rolled up a loose tube rested seam up. Shaped 15 minutes later and proofed 40 minutes. The dough was sticky and needed a lot of the precious flour on the bench to work with it but it was a pleasure to roll with even though quite delicate.  The skin was not very taut and the scoring was jagged but that may have something to do with the warm afternoon. Baked at 480 for 23 minutes with steam under the stone as the change to allow smoother loading with the super duper peel. The smell from the oven was very different from the normal aroma.

Voila

French flour baguettes

They look very similar to the other sticks I posted

french flour crust

The crust was worth the price of admission alone.

french flour crumb

The crumb was lovely and soft and melted on the tongue.

The flour didn't disappoint on the flavor and mouth feel. The crust was the best I have ever had. It was like deep fried cotton candy if there was such a thing. The flavor lingers with a long finish. A real eating pleasure.

I have enough flour to make baguettes 19 more times and will look forward to everyone of them. Thanks again to Kendalm for hooking us up with the good stuff.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

So glad to got to try this flour. It was obvious from reading your previous post that this flour was right up your alley. It is the best baguettes I’ve ever eaten, by a long shot.

They came out super nice!

It is very different from American flours...

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

but the best hunk of bread ever period. There was a very refined feel to the flour but it was similar to working with KAFAP and weaker than the Wheat Montana AP. Hydration was in the neighborhood of 73% as Kendalm suggested and it handled like 75+ It just felt better at every step along the way. It seems intolerant of continuous mixing and more suited to the brief mixing with pauses that I prefer.

Yes, it seems we are too homogenized here to make specialty flour widely available. There must be someone on our side of the pond who is growing and milling a flour with these traits or my next order will be the 50 pounder.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

That I have tried the real thing. It describes our plight. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/04/13/baking-bread-in-lyon

alfanso's picture
alfanso

flour envy.  I'm not sure that I'll also take the plunge, but I really enjoy living vicariously through your group bakes, trials, tribulations and subsequent successes.  For the first time out of the gate, these look wonderful and display your signature signature!

I wonder if, when the formula was first developed by janedo and dmsnyder, whether they pumped up the hydration to accommodate North American flours.  But the flour really was designed to be in the upper 60's to about your 70% hydration.

Don't bother wasting the precious flour by dusting the workbench with it.  Why not use more pedestrian flour for the simple tasks?

Deep fried cotton candy - watch for it at a State Fair near you!

kendalm's picture
kendalm

I think phillippe is shipping smaller quanties now so i think pick up maybe 5kg and he ships from the east coast so you can really benefit on shipping cost.  aside from the really egg shell crust and tender crumb, it is the aroma and flavor that is something else.  i have a hard time describing the aroma - its sort dampness that is really distict and inviting.  eating-wise, dont expect flavor to hit you like a ton of bricks, it develops in your mouth as an almost dairy experience.  you introduced me to hitchock - i humbly return the favor and well, kinda insist ! 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

There is an ice cream quality to the crumb. I could still taste it hours after eating it. That's how long it haunts you. The texture and flavor was sublime right out of the oven but there is a period during the day old bread phase that crust has lost it's distinction but the flavor is at it's strongest. 

You guys on the east coast should not hesitate to procure some of this flour. Gold Medal be damned.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I am noticing something that piggy backs onto Doc’s idea. Almost all of the TFL bakers baby their dough after BF. Doc mentioned a few post above how he “beat” the dough down and still got nice crumb. Don, pretty much a “crumb master”, takes his dough out of a 21 hr retard and “punched it down and did a coil fold”. <ouch!>

But take a look at his crumb. Are we babying our dough too much?

Don used CY and Doc used SD, I think.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I just degassed folded and put it back in the fridge for another 8 hours. it looked proper by then and was handled carefully after that. I think you can be more forceful with yeasted dough up until the actual final shape from then on any rough handling will show up in the final product.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

For me its kinda a secret i dont want to share but for real enthusiasts we gotta keep lepicerie.com thriving.  to my knowlege this is the only source of true french boulangerie bread flour here in usa.  the reason i bake these is because i must have that same experience from the first bite I had in antibes back in the mid 80s.  that alone speaks volumes.  forget the fact anytime i was in france i stuffed my luggage them and froze them at home about 14 hours later.  this is the real deal and so glad you like the results ! 

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

Nice web site! I almost gave up when I clicked on the four tab and the page was empty. However I persevered and found the goods. I need more diastatic malt anyway, so I may as well give the T65 a whirl. Before I lock it in, I have a question are you guys using the organic or the regular, is there a difference? Should I go ahead and save the 5 bucks? Thanks for your help in advance. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Went with Organic because there was so little price difference.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

and I am still here. It ships from Rhode Island and was $40 bucks for shipping alone to get it in Montana. You could probably take a bus and get it yourself.

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

The wife and I have not been on a nice drive/daytrip in ages. Sounds like a plan! Fyi, seems his diastatic malt has sucrose, I'll stick with my friend Mr. Ginsburg, over at the NY Baker, for that ingredient.  thanks guys, I guess I best stick with the regular, I don't want to shock my system with to much natural stuff! Smile...

kendalm's picture
kendalm

never purchased the organic mostly because i so satisfied with the regular.  side note i have a small bag of canadian T55 which im really excited to try.  if theres one other place on planet earth where you can get amazing baguettes its in canada and more specifically montreal   now that i have a new dedicated bread oven will hopefully have some flour reviews on the way. 

Benito's picture
Benito

I’ll be very interested in your review Geremy since I live in Canada and should have access to these flours. The first T55 flour i did use and haven’t been able to get again was Canadian it turns out and not French. 

kendalm's picture
kendalm

hust waiting for a rofco steam tray to arrive then will give it a shot.  outside of france wiuld have to say Canada has some amazing baguettes particularly in monteal.  i think you are in toronto right ? 

Benito's picture
Benito

Yes I am in Toronto Geremy.  Funny back in the day, it has been some years, when I was in Montreal last, the only bread I had was bagels.  Montreal is really known for their amazing fire oven bagels, I didn’t know and have never heard that they were known for their baguettes.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

its of course a known that montreal bagels are incredible.  theres a place in plateau called monsieur pinchot that used to have amazing baguettes but recently got new managment and not so great anymore.  last time inwas there in november i went hunting and discovered several other places.  off the baking topic though schwartz's smoked meat - incredible ! 

Benito's picture
Benito

Schwartz’s is so well known for their Montreal Smoked Meat on Rye sandwiches, yumm.

Benito's picture
Benito

I decided to bake another set of baguettes using a new AP flour I found that is a bit lower in protein listed as 12%. In the end the T55 which probably was mislabeled had a bit too much of a whole grain flavour for baguettes for me. 

i followed Abel’s formula again this time with 67% hydration. I dissolved the 0.25% NY, 0.5% diastatic malt, 0.07% IDY and Levain 9% PFF in the water rye mixed the flour. 20 mins later adding salt and mixed for 5 minutes with Rubaud. Then two sets of coil folds at 50 minute intervals and ended BF when 30% rise. Cold retard en bulk until next day. Preheated oven 500ºF and divided and preshaped dough in a loose boule. Rested 10 minutes then shaped. Shaping went well except that they did contract and shorten so aren’t as long as I had hoped, seems to be the way with my baguettes either too long or too short. Next time with this flour I would shape as a loose roll instead. I left them to bench rest 20 minutes in the couche then put them in the fridge. Once the oven was ready they were scored and baked at 500ºF with steam for 13 minutes then steam vented and convection turned on leaving the temperature at 500ºF. Baked another 13 minutes. 

Not the best crumb I’ve had that would have been with the T55 flour but overall steps forward with shaping I think. I’m doing better with the right amount of flour on the bench now. Scoring was ok could have been more consistently deep will need more practice but scoring quickly seems best. I like the small blisters from brushing water on the dough. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

So is the crumb, the shaping, the coloration.  Just the darker tips.  People would kill for a a crumb like that.  I understand that we are often our own harshest critics, but what more could you be looking for, especially if you think back a mere ten bakes ago.  Don't undersell your skillset at this point, these are beautiful.

A suggestion on the pre-shape.  You may try pre-shaping gently but with a longer barrel.  That way you already have a head start for extensibility.  I'm really surprised that you didn't achieve a more extensible dough length with the NY.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Alan, I know I focus on the negatives or what I perceive as the negatives on my bakes.  It is true, I have come a long long way.  Because I was expecting these to be pretty loose and extensible, I decided to shape into loose boules.  It turns out that even though I did so little to develop the dough, and despite the NY, it was still a bit more elastic than I was expecting.  I will repeat this with the same flour and pre-shape as a longer barrel so will have less stretching to do.  I will say that I think that my shaping has improved gradually and I am feeling a bit more confident with it now.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

They look pretty good to me Benny. How would you describe the taste?

Cheers,

Gavin

Benito's picture
Benito

They do taste good, but not great like the ones I made with the Canadian T55 flour, they were the best I’ve made so far in flavour.  I hope I can get my hands on that flour again sometime in the future.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

It seems most baguette bakers that are looking for the classic baguette bite and chew favor weaker flours. It is there that the French flours excel, IMO.

Benny, 12% may be a little high in protein for the french style baguettes. Hamelman would consider that Bread Flour.

If you use that flour again I have 2 thoughts for your consideration.

  1. Mix flour and water and autloyse overnight in the fridge.
  2. Or up the NY to 0.5%.

I did both of the above last night and for KA AP (11.7%) it was too much, I think. Haven’t shaped them yet. NOTE - if the dough is super extensible at shaping, I plan to stretch the left and right sides of the dough and fold back into the middle, then continue as usual. Hopefully this will add some elasticity during elongation. A number of bakers not on TFL are into overnight retarded autolyse. Next time I may leave out the NY and try the cold autolyse only. The dough was mixed at 68% (used Hamelman’s Pain au Levain in the original post as is), and it was completely different (extensibility wise) from previous bakes and very manageable. It seemed 4 or 5% wetter than it actually was.

It is amazing how sensitive gluten characteristics are to slight changes.

Benito's picture
Benito

There’s something about the torpedo shape that I like so I’ll keep trying to shape as torpedos.  

Increasing the NY to 0.5% is a good idea Dan I think I may do that next time.  I’m not sure about the extended cold autolyse.  I’ve been doing fermentolyse dissolving the IDY, diastatic malt and NY in water then mixing the flour.  Salt added 20 mins later.  I’m hoping that the loose roll pre-shaping and increased NY will help with extensibility.

Good suggestion that if the dough is too extensible to fold the ends in to shorten and then continue shaping.  So long as there isn’t too much flour on the dough that shouldn’t be a problem and should work.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Have you tried something like this?

https://www.amazon.com/Onwon-Powder-Sugar-Shaker-Lid/dp/B07L72F1FZ/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Powder+Shaker&qid=1596154798&s=home-garden&sr=1-3

The little shakers put down a light dusting with an even coat. Very little flour is on the counter, but because it is so evenly dispersed it works very well.

Benito's picture
Benito

I use a small sieve to lightly flour the bench now and when shaping the baguettes, I don’t flour the bench.  I’ve been keeping a small amount of flour that I will briefly place the dough onto to lightly flour it instead of flouring the bench.  This has been working better than flouring the bench when shaping.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I've had a brain fart! I don't know what NY means.

Benito's picture
Benito

Nutritional yeast.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Thanks Benny. Other than nutritional value, what effect do you expect to have on bread dough?

Benito's picture
Benito

The group has found that the addition of small amounts of NY helps with extensibility of the dough. However, at higher percentages some have found they didn’t like the flavour it contributed. 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Thanks, I couldn't find the answer.  Cheers.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

while on the topic of canada - seems all the baguettes ive had in canada are torpedos.  go figure.  yours look great ! 

Benito's picture
Benito

My favourite local bakery Black Bird does a wonderful sesame coated sourdough baguette which they shape as torpedos, I’m sure that they are the reason I’ve been trying to do a torpedo shape.  Ironic that the baguettes you’ve seen in Canada Geremy are torpedos considering the fact that we as a country probably have very few actual torpedos.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

You have really taken to the challenge and making some great looking baggies. I like the graceful shape and your usual excellent crumb with a bold bake thrown in to boot. They are always a work in progress but the flaws disappear with the first bite and chew. I think water does a more predictable job of adding extensibility with less impact on the flavor than NY.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Don. You’re right when I went with higher hydration the dough was more extensible, but it was also more difficult to shape. With more practice I might deal better with higher hydration just as I’ve been able to do somewhat better with it for my hearth loaves. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Just read an article published by the San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI.com). It makes the case for liquid levains when extensibilty (baguettes) are desired. 

When a sourdough process is used to make the final product, the dough automatically develops more strength, due to the higher level of acidity produced by these preferments (because of the activity of the bacteria present in the culture). This increase in strength can be an advantage for the baker who decides to retard some dough (stronger dough will retard better).

As explained previously, liquid sourdough promotes dough with better extensibility. Its use in the production of “long-shaped” breads like baguettes is recommended.

Since we are adapting Hamelman’s Pain au Levain for baguettes (which was not his intention), it seems a 100% hydrated levain would be best.

For those that would like to read the article in it’s entirety-
Dough Strength: Evaluation and Techniques

Benito's picture
Benito

So based on that then firmer starter increases LAB activity compared with more liquid starter?  Are they implying that having less acid is better for extensibility, this would make sense since acid tightens up the gluten.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Acid’s affect on SD has been somewhat confusing to me.

I think -

  • acid has a tightening affect on the dough
  • but too much acid that can build up after fermentation will degrade the gluten, ultimately produces a soupy mass.

So, too much of a good thing can be bad...

Benito's picture
Benito

Yes it is confusing.  I wonder if it is that proteolysis increases with increasing acidity and that is what causes the gluten to breakdown?

Benito's picture
Benito

Here’s a comment about nutritional yeast in that newsletter.

” To improve dough extensibility without using an autolyse, deactivated yeast can also be used. It will increase dough extensibility, improving dough and bread characteristics. Because deactivated yeast is a natural product (therefore maintaining a “clean” label) it is used more often in laminated dough and formulas of “long-shaped” breads like baguettes. It is important to remember that this type of yeast won’t generate any fermentation activity.”

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Went back to basics. Baked the formula in the original post (Hamelman’s Pain au Levain). No deviation except 0.5% Nutritional Yeast. After mixing the dough, even at 68% hydration, it was a dream to handle. Slap and folds were a joy, very unlike earlier attempts without NY. I did an overnight autolyse in the fridge using only water and flour. Before retarding I was concerned that the dough was too extensible. But after removing from the bulk retard to shape,  the dough handled quite nicely. There was no CY added, only raised with SD.

I love the loaf on the bottom. Would be thrilled to consistently produce loaves like that. The scoring was varied on each loaf. Still looking for the perfect slash!



Benito's picture
Benito

Your persistence and practice has really paid off Dan.  Your baguettes are really looking so perfect now.  Great ears, grigné and beautiful even shaping, really stunning.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

That bottom baguette is a dream.  All you need to do is get that same consistency of scoring and Eric Keyser will be knocking on your door.

The others are no slouches either!

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Appearance wise those are real beauties. Are you on to the next phase? Having previously captured taste and texture with the french flour and IDY. Is appearance the next trophy? I wonder if a taxidermist could preserve the bottom one to be hung above the mantle.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Don, just wanted to go back to my start. They look good but the eating is no where near French Flour.

For those seeking Instagram, don’t use French Flour. Save that for eating :-)

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Is so much better now than in days past. Whatever your doing now seems to be working. So what are you doing differently? I set mine to 480 and leave it be. Doc is playing his like the Delorean time machine. Kendalm is withholding his bread until the oven is proper. Stone, steel and steaming, It's funny the different ways we cope with our ovens and how important they are to having the final say on how our bread turns out.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Don, truth be told, I’m not a fan of dark bakes. Sometimes they are pushed for neighbors and/or visual appeal. Dark has never been a problem for me. My baguette bakes start @ 550F. All baguettes bakes run between 16 - 19 minutes.

Since they are baked with huge amounts of steam, browning is also enhanced. My problem is blisters. And I have no idea why they are so difficult for me. I have the ability to throw as much steam as I wish and for as long as needed. There is something else that is hindering blisters in my case.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

This is a first for me.  A batch of all sourdough baguettes with a decent open crumb, distinct ears, balanced coloration top and bottom, acceptable shaping, and a nice thin crackly crust.

Process capture:
388 levain  (28 starter + 186 H2O + 186 BF) ;  406 H2O + 50 w/ 5g NY;   777 AP + 10g DM;  19.4 NaCl
1655g total dough weight
67% hydration, 20% pre-fermented flour
0.5% NY (5g),
1% DM (10g),
2% salt,
dissolve NY in 50g water
Add 388g levain [built with 12% protein bread flour], water, NY, DM, flour (777g Freedom’s Choice AP with 10.5% protein) (average protein 10.7% including protein in levain flour)
50 min fermentolyse w/ 110°F water (500ml; microwave 45 sec)
5 min mix, Dough temp 83°F (might get by with 4 min after the 50 min autolyse)
2:30 hr BF (from combine) w/1 fold after mixing
2 hr retard @ 40°F (to a core temperature of ~45°F)
divide into 4 x 409g aliquots
pre-shape gently
rest 30 min
Shape - not easy to roll out, lumpy and resistant to stretching
proof 1:45 at room temp
retard >45 min (1:30 this time)
transfer to pans, brush with water, sprinkle with kosher salt (1g/baguette)
bake (preheat to 525°F, 2 min @ 390°F for steam, 6 min @ 500°F 100% humidity/low fan speed, 9 min @ 430°F/20% humidity/low fan speed)

The low net protein level made a big difference and I was able to fully develop the gluten before BF requiring no folds.

Shortened the BF to 2:30 (measured from when water hits flour) because of the high dough temp and to allow for some continued fermentation during the first part of retard.

Shaping was still not what I want even with the nutritional yeast it was fighting me. Maybe I need to let it rest longer after pre-shape (suggestions here welcome).

Chilled dough handled well on the way to the oven.  Don't fully understand why the bottoms are not as brown as prior batches run with the same oven program.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

In a good way.  

I had to look up aliquot, thanks to you.  I more often find myself hitting the auto-dictionary button when I read Op-Ed pieces, and not baking blogs or comments, but always willing to try and add new vocabulary.

I'm surprised that with so much NY you had difficulty getting extensibility, especially with a gentle pre-shape.

But these look really good, and we'll both have to work a little harder on a consistent barrel where both ends have the same diameter.  Otherwise a fine bake and lovely open crumb with a thin walled crust - something that you stated was less likely with a levain formula.

Recently our beloved Danni resurfaced and commented on my bake elsewhere, and this is what I wrote back:

  • While you were taking a mini-Rip Van Winkle, a small group of dedicated baguette geeks have been diligently working our ovens off.  The Community Bake has garnered over 1000 comments and still has legs, although getting a bit wobbly at this juncture.  The group learning experience has been extraordinary.  I'd say that if anyone not named alfanso had the gumption and dedication, a serious book on baguette baking could legitimately be written.  I really mean that.  Dan even got Jeffrey Hamelman to poke his nose into the CB once or twice.

And I think that is true.  If the collective wisdom from our collaborative experiences could be harnessed into a tome, it would be close to a definitive book on the art of baguette baking.

As the recently departed and great man John R. Lewis said "Get in good trouble".   Which is what is going on around here 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

10.7% protein, all white flour, and 67% hydration. PLUS 0.5% NY. And still not  extensible. Have you used Freedom’s Choice before? Bread baking is scientific, but every bit as much art.

Last bake I tried an overnight cold autolyse, and the results were promising. Up until the dough was chilled it was way too extensible. But when it was removed the fridge for shaping it felt right and was well behaved.

Benito's picture
Benito

Trevor Wilson will sometimes do an overnight autolyse cold, but he includes the salt when he does that.  Did you include the salt in yours?  Saltolyse.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

A resting period after the flour has been saturated with water probably does not qualify as an autolyse if there is salt in the mix because the salt slows down the amylase enzyme activity that converts broken starch into maltose.  On the other hand if you wait long enough you will still get the effect even with the inhibitor acting. In the past a baker we all know has preached that autolyse was about protease enzymes breaking down gluten, and I spent many months trying to track down any science that supported his hypothesis and came up empty. I know that many baking schools still teach it, but it just ain't so. Native protease enzymes in wheat are inactive at pH >4 and wet flour has a pH of about 6 so even though there are some, they are not active until way late in a sourdough maturation process, and even then most dough never reaches a pH of less than 4 before it is baked (a levain will but not dough). In fact I think that is probably what is going on when your old starter gets very thin after you leave it out (covered) on a warm counter for 24 hrs. The pH gets down below 3.8 (often 3.6 or slightly below) where the protease enzymes become quite active and chop up the gluten.  You can stimulate it by adding a little citric or malic acid to a flour/water paste.  It doesn't take very long for it to turn to goo.

So no, I don't add the salt until after the flour and water have been combined, but I do toss it on top of the combined ingredients so that I don't forget it when I mix.  I do include the levain because I find no reason not to and it gets all of the liquid available to hydrate the flour which is what Professor Calvel said was important about autolyse.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

thanks for this comment as it reinforces what I have learned over many years. I have to make sure I measure the salt and leave it next to the mixer while waiting for the autolyse. I note that Hamelman instructs to include a liquid levain (100 - 125% hydration) into the autolyse, but he holds off including a stiff levain (60% hydration) until after the autolyse. I suspect it for the reasons you have identified. The liquid levain contains a fair bit of water from the overall formula.

 

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Good to know that the proteases only work when the pH is < 4, I didn’t know that.  Thanks Doc.  I’ve only added salt to my saltolyse one time, I otherwise do try to follow proper autolyse with only flour and water.  

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Doc, be careful what you say and how you say it. 

For the record I don't agree that there is no observable dough degradation above pH 4. I mean have you ever worked with semola rimacinata?

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

@Michael - perhaps I missed something in the literature. I would really like to find a test that I could run that would exhibit a degradation that can be attributed too native protease enzymes and run it over a range of naturally occuring pH values to find the boundary.  Would greatly appreciate any pointers you can provide.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Rheological testing could be used to highlight degradation over time. And testing for free amino acids is at least one way to measure any proteolytic action.

There is a paper I recall which might be useful and when I track it down I will link it...

Regarding semola rimacinata, on my thread here, I have included a snippet of a paper which shows alveograph data for this flour at 28 minutes and at 2 hours. In that short amount of time its performance has degraded significantly.

mwilson's picture
mwilson
Benito's picture
Benito

Interesting paper Michael. The proteases of the LAB are intracellular in nature.  So they wouldn’t have an effect on gluten degradation at all.  The LAB rely on the proteases in the grain to break the proteins down to amino acids and polypeptides which can then be transported across the cell membrane of the bacteria.  Then the intracellular proteases break the peptides down to amino acids for the bacteria’s metabolic processes.  The LAB are said not to have any extracellular proteases and therefore cannot affect gluten directly.

I never realized that it was the grain’s proteases that led to gluten breakdown.  It is interesting also that these proteases really aren’t active until a pH of 4 or less is attained..

Another interesting point was the chart about glutathione which the nutritional yeast is rich in.  It seems that high glutathione levels lead to gluten depolymerization, increase gluten solubility and increases the gluten’s susceptibility to proteolysis.  This would explain why adding nutritional yeast increases extensibility in our doughs.

Also of interest to me as a physician is the fact that the proteolytic enzymes in grain are able to break down the gluten to a level theoretically low enough to reduce their effects on patients with Celiac disease.  Of course they wouldn’t have any effect in commercially yeasts breads since they do not reach a pH level < 4 so commercial breads would be worse for Celiac patients.  However, we do know that even sourdough bread isn’t safe for patients with true Celiac disease and not just gluten intolerance.  If all the gluten was broken down then the bread might be safe, but then the bread wouldn’t be bread without the gluten.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thanks Benny, I have read this paper a number of times previously and so I have a good grasp of the details. I might point out that as a student of oenology I have studied yeast and LAB processes at length and so I understand the distinction between intracellular and extracellular.

However, perhaps more pertinent is the table I copied in which details several native cereal enzymes including those from germinated wheat. The pH ranges for most operate above 4 and are said to display activity against gluten proteins.

Also it should be noted that the gluten matrix is considerably complex and there may be small but influential effects from other native proteases that help to create extensibility without completely degrading the gluten. This is the point I have been attempting to make. On a related note one can invoke proteolysis (specifically glutenin depolymerisation) with shear forces alone, as this is what happens when dough is mechanically overmixed.

If a starter culture never dips below 4 then LAB wouldn't be able to utilise gluten proteins which would beg the question from where would LAB attain a source of Nitrogen?

The more one looks, the more complex the answers become!

Benito's picture
Benito

Michael, I didn’t mean to suggest the points I brought up as things you didn’t know but instead things I didn’t know and found interesting, sorry if I implied otherwise.

It is all very fascinating to me and as you said, very complex much more so than I had previously thought.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge and the research that is the basis of it.

Benny

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

No salt, just flour and water.

Benito's picture
Benito

Wow, they look great Doc.  Thin crisp crust with sourdough only, isn’t that nirvana?

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

@Benny - I suspect that the key bit that made for a crisp crust was the low protein flour.  This is the first time I have gone below 11% and fully developed the gluten.  In the past I have been stopping the mix early to prevent full development of the gluten in 12+% flour and this time I went the other route and used a low protein flour and mixed it all the way until there were very few gluten balls on the surface of the dough. It was very extensible when I put into retard and not so extensible when it came out.

I am going to try a batch where divide and shape the room temperature dough and then proof it, and retard at the end to get it stiff enough to handle when it goes into the oven.

The flavor was great (in four parts by my analysis): the crumb tastes of the wheat, and the crust contributes flavor from each shade of brown (toast/char bitter from the darkest brown, Maillard products from the lightest shade of brown and caramelization products from the intermediate brown). The crackling crispness is the sound of really fresh bread and the aroma of the acids and fermentation products that comes with the soft crumb is just intoxicating. 

I took three loaves to our Friday evening happy hour block party (socially distanced on the sidewalk and only ten at a time), and gave one to a plastic surgeon/neighbor who missed out yesterday because she had a surgery that went long and didn't respond before I had given it to somebody else.

Benito's picture
Benito

I am still on the lookout for lower protein flour and hope to find something appropriate soonish. First I will try again with the current 12% with more NY. 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Try one of the commercial AP flours that is not labled with a protein level. Gold Medal, Pillsbury, or a super market house brand should be candidates. You may be able to find out what the protein level is but the manufacturer does not make a big deal of it.  For the typical customer it is "flour".

Benito's picture
Benito

Being in Canada we have different flour than you guys have in the US. I saw an AP flour the other day organic that was around 10-10.5%. That seemed like it might be ideal. 

Benito's picture
Benito

I just got back from doing a grocery run and grocery stores are finally getting their shelves restocked with flour.  I had a look at all the all purpose flours on the shelves.  All the Canadian all purpose in stock were 13.3% protein.  To get a Canadian flour around 10% you have to buy cake and pastry flour but what they had was bromated.

I did find one bag of all purpose that is unbromated and 10% protein, it is actually a Canadian brand but I noted that the flour was American.  They described it as really finely ground and sifted.  This might be a decent flour for baguettes.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Benny, check your local asian markets you may find some good quality Korean flour.   Beksul is a big brand. they are intended for making noodles and have around 10% protein. I've made some good bread with it.  there was one that was particularly light.  let me see if i can find the packaging for that.

 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

This one.  package says 3g protein out of 30g service size.   i think it's a finer grind.

Benito's picture
Benito

Despite my being Asian, I never thought to check out the Korean grocery around the block from my house for flour. Great idea James, thanks.

Benito's picture
Benito

I had a look at the Korean shop near me and unfortunately they did not have any soft wheat flour.  There are others in the city that I will have to check out.  I’m hoping that the new flour I am working with today for the first time will give a good result with only 10% protein.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Congratulations on the thin and crackly crust with SD. I was somewhat astonished to see 110 degree water used. I was under the impression that water temperature at those levels would harm if not kill SD culture. Is speeding up the process part of the plan to create the texture you are after. The lower protein flour is the key to thin and light as you stated. The crumb is really nice considering the lower hydration. Do you find the crust baked to golden brown instead of a mahogany russet color to be a factor in the crackly crust?

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Duplicate

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I have never had a problem with using warm water to get the dough temperature up to 90°F, and 110°F won't kill off either the yeast or the LAB.  It might slow them down for the few seconds it takes for everything to come to equilibrium but it won't kill them. Of course every yeast and every LAB has its favorite growth temperature, but usually the LAB prefers it warm and will continue to replicate at temperatures above what the yeast will tolerate.  That is actually one way to adjust the relative activity during BF and proof. I seem to remember that the Laraburu process called for a 105°F proof which (so far as I know) nobody every got to work for them.

I think that the lower protein flour probably is a significant contributor to the thin crust.  And I am not so sure that the physical thickness is so thin since that is controlled by the depth to which the temperature gets up to where Maillard reactions can do their magic, but it is very crackly and behaves more like the baguettes I remember in Europe (easy to bite).

As for color, I like to have three colors of brown on a loaf because I associate each color with a different flavor.  Very dark brown is on the edge of bitter and tastes of well toasted bread. Intermediate brown is where the caramelization of sugars may be the driver of flavor.  And the lightest brown colored crust seems to be dominated by Maillard products and has a more complex flavor profile.  Somebody should write an article on how to taste bread.  I like to try to take it apart as the various components of flavor are solublized and come to both the tongue and the nose (from behind).  It takes 45 sec to a full minute to find all of the pieces (if they are there).

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

We all seem to be heading off on different tangents or retreating to our corners when it comes to baguettes. Our quest has led us to different personal goasl of what defines the ideal. I guess having a choice is why they make so many different flavors of ice cream. Baguettes are a labor of love to make that comes with some heartbreak and ecstasy. I make them because they look so cool and I enjoy eating them. The three main reasons for me are breakfast, lunch and dinner.

nutella french toast

BLT Pulled pork

Keep up the good work and enjoy the rewards.

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

This was a repeat of yesterday except that I did not fully chill the dough before divide and shape. Because I had something come up when I would otherwise have been doing divide/shape I stuck it in the retarder but at 65°F and not at 38°F, so I figure that it was equivalent to a 3:30 BF with a dough temperature of 67°F (vs 40°F) when it was time to divide. The desired result was achieved in that the warmer dough was more extensible and easier to pre-shape and shape. And instead of trying to fight it for final shaping I did it in two steps with a 10 min rest in between. Another small thing was to roll the dough in only one direction when stretching it (away from me) rather than comressing it in both directions. These small changes appear to have made a significant difference in the uniformity of the barrel diameter.  When I got done shaping I was somewhat concerned that all of what appeared to be surface bubbles would make for malformed loaves.  But as they proofed (for  1:00 on the counter and then retarded at 50°F for three hours while I was off doing something else) the irregularities disappeared.  They were easy to load, easy to slash and baked up with the same crust coloration as yesterday (a slightly lighter bottom crust than I had seen prior to yesterday, and excellent coloration on top) and with nice ears and I think somewhat better crumb than yesterday. So all round a pleasing day.

The fermentolyse today was 20 minutes (vs 50 min) and I saw no difference in outcome which adds weight to the claim that 20 min is enough time to get the benefit of autolyse (no salt).  The diastatic malt was also added along with the salt just to see if there was any noticeable difference and I observed none.

Tomorrow I am going to take the last step in dropping the protein content by using 100% 10.5% protein AP flour in both the levain and in the final dough. 

After tomorrow I have a number of single parameter changes that I want to search through to see what the partial derivatives are in those dimensions: oven fan speed, loaf weight, slash variations, water temperature, BF duration, PFF, and mix duration/speed.  And by that time my new Famag mixer should be here and the conversion from Assistent to Famag needs to be done with a stable baseline.

And here are "tomorrow" baguettes in a place where it is easier to compare with "yesterday" baguettes.

The difference is that the levain was made with the same AP flour that was used for the dough (as opposed to using a 12% protein bread flour).

The thing that I had not thought about until after these were shaped was that the bread flour that made up 20% of yesterday's batch contained ascorbic acid and the AP flour contains none.  So how much of an impact can that have?  At the moment I am not sure, but this batch (using 0.5% nutritional yeast and flour containing no ascorbic acid) was almost plastic and were gently pre-shaped, rested for 30 min then shaped in one stage. So my hypothesis is that there was insufficient oxidizer in the dough to cancel out the effects of the glutathione that was introduced with the nutritional yeast and thus the dough remained compliant all the way to the oven. I think the crumb is slightly more open, but not significantly so. The flavor is good, crumb texture is good. Color is good, and without the need for a 3 hr retard they were out of the oven quite a bit sooner than yesterday. I did retard them for a couple of extra hours @ 50°F while I did a Zoom chat but that was just to hold them until I could bake them rather than an essential process step. So they could have been done in six hours from flour hits water including 45 min retard prior to oven entry (plus 10 hrs to build the levain).

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

How do you roll them in only one direction? Do you roll them out and then pick up the dough and re-position?

They look good in all aspects...

I hope, once you get these tweaked to your satisfaction, that you splurge for French Flour. The flavor and texture is not possible (according to many bakers who have tried) with American flours. You and your wife deserve the best...

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

The stretch is done by moving your hands outward as you roll, at about a 15° angle I guess. But adapted to the willingness of the dough to be deformed. I use my thumbs to roll the part between my hands. I found that I needed just the right friction on the bench to get what I wanted. The rolling action allows the dough to stretch itself without you putting too much pressure on it. Adjust the direction and pressure as required. The part that is new for me is trying to do it only when I push since my thumbs are more effective in that direction.  I may make a video clip if I can get organized.

And I have done the French flour thing but it was a few years ago, and I was not making baguettes. Your description of the problems you experienced mirror my experience quite accurately.  As Michael points out, it may be a P/L difference.

Benito's picture
Benito

Really beautiful baguettes Doc, I’m really impressed with the how incredibly consistent the three of them are, really impressive. 

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I mean Doc Consistent. They look nice and have a very precise look to them as you crank them out. Nothing beats practice and the process of elimination. Why are you passing on the mixer that I wanted and getting the one I could only dream about. I will be looking forward to your impression of the spiral and giving my Bosch the stink eye although we have learned to get along.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I got my Assistent N28 in Feb of 2011 as an upgrade from a 1974 Kitchenaid K4a (then made by Hobart, with a mechanical governor/speed control) which I have overhauled once and still have (and use). I had acquired a KA Pro 600 which I hate for a number of reasons explained elsewhere, but which I still have and use only once a year to make Liege waffles (while wearing my shooting muffs to attenuate the sound level). But while I like the N28 and can make batches of 1800g using the roller and scraper without too much trouble, I have not had good luck using the dough hook for larger batch sizes.  When the Famag became available I looked at it and decided that it was too big for my available space but would be something to continue to think about.  Then Danny ordered one and I decided to wait to see what his experience was. My objective is to be able to make enough dough to fill up my combi oven.  With two 400g (large baguettes/small batards) per rack x 6 racks I need something that can mix 5Kg of dough. The Famag will do that. The IM-8 would be a better match but it really is too heavy to handle; the IM-5 at 66 lb is big enough (and small enough that I don't have to get the engine hoist into the pantry every time I need to move it), and I found a place where it will fit next to the oven near light and water and power and it does not need to be moved. So it went from unsuitable to promising, to wish list, to planned purchase, and now should ship in the next week or so.

I put a photo of today's batch of baguettes into the post above just so it would be close to the one from yesterday, and now that you point it out, there is really not much difference between them, so it really is about process consistency to get product consistency.  Not perfect yet but that is why we keep at it, for the pure joy of making gress (hopefully pro-, but always mixed in with some di-, and some re-).

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

My Ank barely handles 5K. BuT even though I haven’t mixed large doughs in the Famag, I think will handle the dough much better. This is expected due to the dough moving around the ANK in a “ring” versus the rotating spiral hook and rotating bowl which will knead the dough into a tight and uniform “pumpkin shape”. You will find the Kneading process to be very thorough and gentle on the dough. The gluten development will amaze you!

These mixers are not for everyone. As stated they are super heavy. Over 4 times the weight of an ANK. The foot print, not to mention the height is not compact by any means. I broke down and pulled the trigger once it was decided that the mixer would live on a compact SS cart.

Doc, if you are often moving this manually from one place to another, you are definitely in better shape than me. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

A few years ago now, i posted whatever baguette I was making at the time and stated that consistency from bake to bake was one of the most important aspects of the entire baking realm for me.  To be able to do that from one bake to the next is one benchmark of quality and care.  

So it's nice to see a couple of other old duffers on board here.  Add to that Benny and Dan, who are both showing serious consistency from bake to bake, and we have enough to start a basketball squad with plenty of other bench help here on this thread.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Don, the Ankarsrum is a fine mixer, that should last a lifetime. There is nothing “light duty” on the machine. It’s light enough to move around at will and can sit on a home counter without hogging too much space. Mine is stored in the bottom of a cabinet in another room. Moving it to the kitchen counter is a breeze.

The Famag is so rugged it uses a chain drive instead of a belt. Think Harley Davidson...

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I am working too much for an old man who would rather not be, so I have to cram all my bread baking into a weekend. In some ways it's nice having three separate doughs to focus on nearly uninterrupted rather than having all that down time waiting on a single dough. Sometimes it all goes smoothly and the breads hit the oven on schedule and then there are days like today where they came out okay but missed the mark for a variety of reasons.

threesome

Pain Au Levain, Approachable cinnamon raisin, French flour Bouabsa 

I finally had one of those baguette doughs that was too elastic to shape and work with that you guys are using NY to combat. In my case the bulk ferment went too far. I should have folded it again in the fridge last night. The dough was quite strong for weak french flour and not pleasant to roll out. They weren't a disaster but not what I was hoping for except of course the flavor and texture and the crust that is in a league of it's own. I tried to use shorter slashes and do an extra cut to keep the crust shackles from bursting and tidy up things a bit. It almost worked and might work better next time with a better shape and proof.

six slash  6 slash crumb

Mashed a couple of ends and wrestled too much with them and was surprised to see any crumb intact.

A work in progress I wish I wasn't

alfanso's picture
alfanso

 

I fished some of my pedestrian  2 year old T65 French flour from the pantry for this run.  Relied on input from Dan and MT's experiences, albeit with a much higher grade of flour on their part.

  • Dropped the hydration down to 70%
  • No Nutritional Yeast.
  • 20 min. autolyse.
  • Small bassinage with salt.  
  • 100 French Folds, 5 min rest, 100 FFs.  Into container.  
  • Standard Letter Folds at 20, 40, 60 min.  
  • Retard for ~20 hours.  
  • Divide & pre-shape, 20 min rest, shape and onto couche.  
  • 35 minute proof.  
  • 480dF oven, 13 with steam, 13 min after.  3 min. venting.

Notes:

  • Dough felt soft and silky during initial hand mixing, and had a grayish cast to it as soon as I started mixing.  The drop in hydration was necessary.
  • Felt good and had routine extensibility during Letter Folds.
  • Fairly easy to shape and roll, had to ensure a pinched seam.
  • Rolled out to close to 21 inches, but retracted to 17 inches post bake.  That seems like a lot.
  • pre-bake weight of 325g, post bake weight of 245g each.
  • Clean and consistent shaping down the entire barrel has always been a small problem for me, and could use improvement.  More obvious on these longer batons than on my long batards.
  • Scoring was easy and opened well, although somewhat inconsistent.
  • Perplexed at the crumb's general tightness.  If you have any ideas, I'd like to hear them.

Overall, I was pleased with this bake, especially understanding that this was probably the most basic T65 flour anywhere in France.  Just remembered that the flour does not have any malted barley and didn't think of adding any diastatic malt powder. 

Concerns:

  • Batons losing length during their short time on the couche.
  • Tight crumb!  Especially when I see the progress made by you folks on this front.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Alan, my guess would be that the flour is stronger than what we’ve been using. I say that because the lack of extensibility and also the strong “bridges”between the scores and the well defined ears (typical alfanso). It would be great to find that your are able to produce your typical baguettes using high quality french flour. It would surely give me something to shoot for. The baked loaves look great to me.

How would you describe the bite, crumb texture, and flavor?

alfanso's picture
alfanso

The flavor is nothing particularly noteworthy.  Tasty, nothing wrong with it, but doesn't carry the "sparkle" that the typical Bouabsa bread does, and certainly not in the same universe as what you L'Epiciere folks report.   The crust is as anticipated.  Quite thin and very crunchy, both positives, and the crumb is soft and not chewy at all.

It was a delightful dough to handle at every stage, and by the time that they came off the couche and onto the oven peel, they had already pulled back in length, probably exacerbated a little more by the bake.  I wonder if this dough could benefit from even half the 0.25% N.Y.

I have enough of this flour left for a few more bakes, but not necessarily next up.  Have something else in mind.

thanks, alan

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I went from trying to under-mix a strong flour to fully mixing a weaker flour and I like the results better. Just my opinion, but it seems that the fully proofed baguette made with (just barely) fully developed but weak flour is less resistant to the pressure of expanding CO2 and I get a better ear, a larger diameter and a more open crumb as well as a more crisp crust and a less chewy crumb. But I don't have any quantitative data on that.

Tomorrow is a batch with a shorter BF and a little longer final proof and I am trying to hold everything else constant.

Benito's picture
Benito

That makes sense Doc.  I have been doing very little to develop gluten in the past several bakes, not doing French folds and instead doing Rubaud kneading to ensure that the salt is well incorporated and the crumb has been good.  Now these have been with relatively high protein flours.  I have the levain fermenting now for my first time using this 10% protein flour and it will be interesting to see how this one bakes up.  This potentially maybe the first time baking baguettes with low protein flour.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Where all our baguettes look like how we make them no matter the recipe. I could match the photo of the baguette to the baker without a doubt. There is an individual expression to batons unlike any other bread. Boules and batards they all kind of look the same but baguettes are a form of hand writing not easy to change or forge.

The only advise I could offer to open up the crumb would be a little more proof, a little more water and about 195 fewer FF's My french flour like my american flour develops quickly after a short mix and a couple of folds before retarding. In hot weather like now a fold in the fridge has become necessary to keep the dough from blowing up. The long time in the fridge will develop gluten on it's own without a lot of kneading that can make the dough too tight and elastic and cause it to retract. 

You really should try the Kendalm flour. The shipping cost from RI would be minimal compared to moving to France like I am contemplating.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

For those desiring very open crumb in a baguette, there is much to be learned from Don’s post above. If you take the time to search out his bakes it becomes obvious that not only are his baguettes uniquely his, but the crumb is consistently open, and the cell structure is evenly dispersed. Many of us are attaining open crumb, but few are consistently producing even distribution.

The 2 most important takeaways 

  1. Don’t over develop the gluten
  2. Thorough final proofing

And really a third, Don has consistently mentioned this throughout the CB. “Increase the hydration”.

My thoughts and response to each.

  1. It is true, that developed gluten will strengthen the cell structure enabling more gas to remain trapped within. BUT, if the gluten is too developed the excess strength will inhibit individual cell expansion and ultimately reduce oven spring. Is it plausible that highly developed gluten produces highly developed ears, but at the same time hinders even and open crumb? IMO, a major detraction to overly developed gluten is the possibility of noticeably reduced flavor.
  2. Fermentation, a catch 22. If we BF too thoroughly, it gasses up the dough, making the difficult job of shaping much more difficult. Since the shaping process of baguettes are more hands on than other shapes, preserving the cell structure and fermentation gas are challenging. With that in mind, is it better to limit the BF? Then handle the dough during division, pre-shape and shaping with the idea that the Final Proof is where the cell structure and gas are produced with the possibility of leaving most of it intact?
  3. Hydration - Since I have little experience with that pertaining to baguettes hopefully others will interject.

The above are my current thoughts. But like all other current thoughts, these are subject to change whenever more convincing ideas come to light. Please share your thoughts so that together we can improve our baguettes skills...

Danny

My personal challenge is to attain a consistently open and uniform crumb as Don’s, BUT at the same time produce gorgeous and pronounced ears similar to Alan. This will be no small feat. And, I’m not sure both can be produced simultaneously. That explanation would require a separate post.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

2.  Fermentation, a catch 22. If we BF too thoroughly, it gasses up the dough, making the difficult job of shaping much more difficult. Since the shaping process of baguettes are more hands on than other shapes, preserving the cell structure and fermentation gas are challenging. With that in mind, is it better to limit the BF? Then handle the dough during division, pre-shape and shaping with the idea that the Final Proof is where the cell structure and gas are produced with the possibility of leaving most of it intact?”

So, how do we score these warm and fully proofed dough? I envision warm, slack, relaxed narrow and long baguettes daring me to touch them in any way. Knowing that as soon as the blade is pulled across the skin it is going to wrinkle, stick, and resist in every way possible.

I say cheat! Put the shaped and couched dough Back into the fridge or freezer until it firms up. I’ve done it. It works...

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

I think ears and an open crumb are not mutually exclusive. You can have both and that is my goal as well. As far as hydration goes all other things being equal otherwise the higher hydration will have a more open crumb. It's a balance point just like the fermentation is. The french term of la pointage  for the bulk is a perfect description of the point in the curve when the dough is right for the bread you are making. With yeasted dough that is a sharper point than with SD.

I don't consider my crumb to be that much more open than some of the other CB bakers except for what the slightly higher hydration I use provides. The real masters like Kristen from Fullproof ( it would be interesting to see her tackle baguettes someday) or the Tartine bakers use an even higher percentage of water. An open crumb has to be the goal going in to succeed at it. It rarely just happens. Unless your name is Benito ;-)

Scoring a chilled dough is not cheating in any way. I just don't have the room for it in our fridge. I worry that the crust could be affected by the chilling or drying so I just gash and hope. I do shoot for a less than full proof with baguettes. When I see faint gray bubbles inside the dough that is when they hit the oven.

Benito's picture
Benito

I have been under developing the dough, only using some Rubaud kneading to ensure that the salt is fully incorporated then doing just the two coil folds.

Regarding bulk fermentation I have been bulk fermenting to 30% rise in the aliquot jar and given that there are only two coil folds, this should correlate quite well with the rise in the main dough.  I do have a dough in cold retard now that I will bake later today that I allowed to bulk further to 35-40% rise to see if that has any effect.

In regards to hydration, when I have tried hydrations over 70% for baguettes I seemed to have more issues with shaping because of stickiness.  Then overflouring the bench/dough to resolve the stickiness and having the dough slide on the bench.  As a result for now I will stick to hydrations closer to 68% until I have more experience shaping with more confidence. 

I’m still hoping that with good fermentation, good shaping building tension and then good scoring I too can attain good ears and open crumb together.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Too much to digest on the screen, so I just printed out this piece of the thread to review, cross reference and highlight.

And this, damas y caballeros, is what TFL renders.  Where else, okay maybe somewhere else, on the internet can we find a detailed discussion and problem solving session dedicated uniquely to baguettes?, although the implications are further-reaching*.  

We seem to have whittled ourselves down the the last remaining bastion on this long-playing focus, although I'm certain that others are still peeking in from time to time.  The "hard-core" tenacious few.  There likely isn't a book in print that delves so deeply into this one aspect of baking, and books certainly don't afford an interactive discussion on the merits and downfalls of run after run.  And I doubt that an in-person training session or class would bother to be so baguette oriented run after run after run.  Bravo to us!

Thanks all - you know who you are.  alan

*farther vs. further.  Had to get the distinction clear and this is what I found.  But will I remember it?...

"People use both further and farther to mean “more distant.” However, American English speakers favor farther for physical distances and further for figurative distances."

Benito's picture
Benito

AP flour 10% protein (PC brand)

No NY used, 1% diastatic malt, IDY and levain all dissolved in water.  Then mixed the flour.  67% hydration approximately.  Rubaud and bowl kneading done x 5 mins.  Two sets of coil folds done at 50 mins intervals good windowpane after second set.

Aliquot jar rise to 35-40% then into fridge for cold retard overnight.

This flour without the NY is quite extensible. Next time pre-shape as a loose boule instead of loose roll. 

After shaping left 20 mins room temperature rest in the couche. 

My final shaping is much more successful when I pre-shape as a boule.  With this low protein flour I think I can get away with it and still get the baguettes long enough without needing to pre-shape as a roll.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Looking forward to your gorgeous open crumb!

Benito's picture
Benito

OK here’s the crumb.  Fortunately despite the meh shaping the crumb is good.  This flour is pretty good all around.  Nice clean wheat flavour with a thin crisp brittle crust, I’m pretty happy with this.  I’ll keep my eyes out for good and proper T55 or T65 but I’ve been looking and not finding.

One thing I’d love to see one of you guys do, is see you do your pre-shape in a roll.  The way I’m doing it is causing problems with shaping such that the only times I happy with the shaping is when I pre-shape as a boule.  For this flour being quite extensible I think will work out fine, but less extensible flours my pre-shaping leads to fat ends and thin mid sections.  I did bulk fermentation this time in my square shallow Pyrex dish which I use for my usual sourdough because it is ideal for coil folding.  The idea being that I would divide them quite evenly in three rectangles which then could be rolled.  So how would you go about turning these into a loose roll as the pre-shape. I’ve been folding the ends into the middle and then rolling, I don’t think this is working because when I go to shape and stretch it out a bit the overlapping ends open apart leaving my with less dough in the midsection leading to the fat ends in then final baguettes.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Even though the images don’t have enough resolution to examine the cell structure after zooming in, it looks like your crumb is once again outstanding. You and Doc have made great strides In that area. Don has produced very nice crumb for quite some time. But to be honest, your crumb is my goal. And IMO, your ears are the nicest in combination for the excellent crumb. You are producing something that I want to emulate.

Please go into extreme detail as to how you think this crumb is produced. I’m going to have to break out the aliquot jar again...

Benito's picture
Benito

I think a few factors go into getting the crumb based on what everyone has contributed in this massive CB.  The basics I believe are lower protein flour and less dough development and then in final shaping iron fist in a velvet glove.  With Abel’s formula and Alan’s instructions, I dissolve the levain, IDY and diastatic malt in the water then add the flour.  I mix the flour until it just comes together, I don’t do any kneading of any kind.  After a 20 mins rest, sprinkle salt on and add some water to dimple and squeeze the dough until the salt is added, then Rubaud kneading gently for about 3-4 mins and until I cannot feel any salt.  I remove a small portion of the dough at this point for the aliquot jar which then sits next to the Pyrex dish the dough is then placed in to rest 50 mins.  Then two sets of coil folds 50 mins apart.  That’s it for dough handling.  Then I wait until the aliquot jar this time reached 35-40% rise, up to now I left it until 30% rise but I wanted to see what the dough handling would be like going further and also see if the crumb would be more open. Then cold retard.  

Because of work schedule, the dough was left in the fridge set to 2ºC for about 24 hours.  I set the oven to 500ºF and then take the dough out of the fridge and divide.  This is where I run into problems with pre-shaping.  I think I’ve done best for final shaping when pre-shaping a boule but this time with the dough in a square Pyrex I decided I’d try to do a loose roll.  Flipping the dough out onto a floured counter I divided into three equal rectangles weighed and portioned to be about 280 g each.  I then do a letter fold with the ends to the middle and then rolled loosely.  Left to sit on the counter in my warming kitchen for 20 mins.  Each pre-shaped dough is flipped stretched trying to achieve a rectangle and then shaped fairly firmly attempting to get a bit of tension on the shaping.  For two of the doughs unfortunately the ends were much fatter than the centers in shaping so I had a bit of the dumbbell shape happening.  The third one seeing this was happening I letter folded each end in to try to get it more even before shaping.  This extra manipulation ultimately degassed that one baguette a bit too much and one of the finished baguettes was flattish on one end.

Each was placed in the lightly floured couche and left to bench rest for an additional 20 minutes at which time I was going to place them in the fridge until the oven was up to temperature but the oven was ready within 10 mins of the bench rest starting.  They were flipped out onto the transfer board and placed onto parchment.  Flour was brushed off and they were scored.  At this point I had intended to brush water on to get a bit of a shine but I forgot.  They were loaded onto the usual baking steel setup with the steaming gear on the upper rack.  Baked for 13 mins at 500ºF then steaming removed, temperature dropped to 480ºF and convection turned on to ensure steam released fully.  After 5 mins turned and switched places on the steel, doing this again after another 5 mins.  Temperature dropped to 350ºF and finished baking after another 3 mins.

I’m not sure what it is that I am doing that is different, but that is what I did with this bake.  The crumb is a bit better than the last couple and perhaps pushing the bulk a bit was helpful for that along with the longer bench time after pre-shape and shape.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Wow!  What crumb.  I'm thinking of jailbreaking, coming to Toronto, and holding you hostage (I travel with my own masks!) until I can learn the secrets of your crumb.  And regardless of what you say, the overall look of the baguettes is fabulous and the crumb is consistently the equal or superior to just about anyone else's - anywhere.

You've achieved in making a pan de cristal with a way lower hydration.

Boy, talk about fast trackers.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Alan, I’ve witnessed this very same metamorphosis with Benny’s batards. One day he is struggling with the rest of us and then, what seems like all of a sudden he is producing superb results.

He seems like an “overnight wonder”. It just took him a year or so of persistence to get there... :-)

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny, talk about the degree of Final Proof. you are clear about the 30 and 35-40% increase as observed in the aliquot jar. 

You have produced uniform and open crumb with various flours, so it seems that either your shaping and/or your Final Proof is the key. Please elaborate.

One other thing. And quit possibly the most important. You have consistently mentioned that you are very conscientious of not over developing the gluten. As a matter of fact is appears closer to no-knead than anything else. It is possible that the lack of gluten development is allowing cell expansion during the bake.

Give us the scoop, Doc!
”inquiring minds want to know”...

Benito's picture
Benito

So final proof after the cold retard, which I suspect the length of which doesn’t do anything specific, at least I don’t think so.  I’m thinking, without any scientific evidence, that the warmth of my kitchen during the bench time of dividing, pre-shape and then shaping and resting in the couche could be allowing the yeast sometime to get active again and create more gases to raise the bread and create the openness.  

I wonder about the gluten development and was thinking that developing the gluten less might allow more open crumb for baguettes.  However, I did do windowpane tests after each of the two coil folds and the first almost pulled a decent windowpane and then the second one I was able to get a good windowpane.  So despite doing so little to the dough, it still had good gluten development.

I’ve mentioned before that whenever I feed my starter only white flour that it rises much more slowly than when I feed it anything else.  So with this bake I added a tiny amount of rye to get the levain to rise better.  Even with that and the tiny 0.07% IDY the dough takes its time to get to 35-40% in the aliquot jar.  I didn’t time it, but I know that my other sourdough breads with more whole grain in it take less time to get to 40% rise in the aliquot jar than these baguette doughs. So I don’t know if that contributes anything, but the bulk fermentation is a bit on the slow side, compared to what I think most others would see using this formula.

Not sure what else to tell you, I’m really happy with how far I’ve come along, but sometimes I think I’m an imposter/pretender and that you guys will figure out soon that I really don’t know what I’m doing.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Is that the rye from your starter I see in the crumb? Or is my screen that dirty? The crumb looks more like SD than a yeasted bread. The long retard must help to aerate the crumb is my guess. You are definitely creeping into ciabatta territory. Nice work they look like the definition of open crumb.

Benito's picture
Benito

Don you have a good eye, my starter is 100% whole red fife and I did spike 5 g of whole rye into the levain build for this bake so although your screen may be dirty you did spy some rye in the crumb.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

@ Benny - your crumb is beyond compare.  I am working to emulate your results.

Here is today's run.  Better shaping and a little more open crumb (chasing Benny).  The upper two were baked on the baseline oven program while the bottom two were run on high convection fan speed for the first 8 minutes and they were in the oven for only 10 min of the baseline 17 min profile (which means they did not get the last 7 minutes @ 430°F/low fan speed). They were getting too brown so I pulled them to cut my losses.

The formulation was the same but the bulk fermentation time dropped from 3:00 to 2:30 with the additional 30 min added back to final proof.
The dough was still quite soft and somewhat difficult to handle, there was no preshaping to speak of, just fold them over and let them sit for 20 min so that they were fully stuck together at the fold, then tighten them up and roll them out.  Two of the four needed a short rest and a second stage of lenthening to reach 20", but a one minute rest was enough and once they got to 20" they did not rebound.

Note that the slash did not open well on the two that were baked at high fan speed.  I think that the surface may have been so well cooked by the time the heat got in deep and the oven spring started to expand strongly that it could not break open at the slash.  So this might be a case of too much early heat and might suggest that a lower start temperature or fan off in a convection oven might produce a better result (let oven spring get started before increasing the heat transfer to the crust).

Benito's picture
Benito

Doc your shaping looks great, I’m amazed that you achieved that nice even cylindrical shaping with so little manipulation in shaping and essentially very little pre-shaping. 

Very interesting that you baked them two different ways and the resulting differences in the final baguettes.  I didn’t think that you could maintain enough steam in the oven if you had the convection setting on, is that not correct?

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