The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguettes made with SF Sourdough dough

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Baguettes made with SF Sourdough dough

SF Sourdough Baguettes 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Baguettes 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Baguettes Crumb 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Baguettes Crumb 6-29-08

These baguettes were made with the formula for San Francisco Sourdough from Peter Reinhart's "Crust&Crumb." The firm starter was made with a mixture of Guisto's Organic (whole) Rye and King Arthur Bread Flour. The final dough was made with King Arthur European Artisan Flour.

The recipe makes 4-1/2 pounds of dough. I made two 1.5 lb. boules and these two baguettes. The dough was on the dry side, although I added about 1/4 cup of water during mixing. I cold retarded the formed loaves for about 18 hours. The baguettes were baked with steam for the first 10 minutes, then dry for another 15 minutes. The crust is crunchy, thicker than a traditional baguette. The crumb is less open than I wanted. The taste is typical of breads made with this dough - moderately sour and complex.

A word about the scoring, since that has been a source of frustration for me: These results are as good as I have ever obtained. I think the factors that contributed to it were 1) The dryer dough is easier to slash, 2) I was careful not to over-proof. They were baked 2 hours after being taken out of the refrigerator, 3) I consciously attempted to implement what Proth5 calls "Mental mis en place." I take this to mean clearing your mind of any other thoughts, then reviewing the procedure elements and visualizing the procedure before starting to slash, then executing the slashes quickly and smoothly according to the chosen procedure. I did not achieve perfection, but I feel I have progressed. What's needed is practice, practice, practice.

Here is one of the boules made with the same batch of dough:

SF Sourdough Boule 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Boule 6-29-08

David

 

Comments

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I looked very carefully at your slashing!  OK, I get the thing about over-lapping. This dough would be nicer to slash I think, as it is firmer. So, good for practicing the placement of slashes. They look lovely. (No comment on the taste...) Your boule is gorgeous.

I can imagine your freezer these days with all the baguettes neatly lined up waiting to be eaten. Or are you distributing them? Or eating lots of bread!

Do you think it would be worth investing in the BBA? Everyone speaks about it but I've never actually looked at it. Is it better than Crust & Crumb?

Jane 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

There are fewer baguettes in the freezer than you might imagine. I do eat lots of bread, but I'm truly not that fond of regular baguettes. Now, the ones I made from Nury's Rye and today's pain de compagne baguettes were not "regular."

We also use the regular baguettes in other ways. For example, tonight about half a baguette was made into fresh bread crumbs that went into the salmon cakes my wife made for dinner. The rest of the baguette I cut into cubes, tossed in olive oil and crushed garlic and toasted in the oven. So, we have croutons for a salad tomorrow for dinner.

Should you get BBA? Hmmm ... Well, it has a lot of good information, but you probably know most of it already. It does have pretty pictures of techniques and finished breads. It's a book I would definitely recommend for some one who is smart, serious about bread baking and a relative novice.

You would probably get more out of Hamelman's "Bread," if you don't already have it. For example, Hamelman has a series of photographs of baguettes baked with different techniques and another series of baguettes slashed correctly and incorrectly. As you may have gathered, Hamelman is a book to study, not just to find recipes in.

I bought BBA at just the right time in my own "education," but I seldom bake from it now. My impression is that you are already well beyond what BBA has to offer.

Others' opinions may be different, of course.


David

edh's picture
edh

Hi Jane and David,

As you can probably guess, I've been happily lurking on most of the threads you two have had going, especially if the name Nury appears in the header (I'm obsessed and I haven't even tried making it...).

I've also been enjoying the discussions about baguette technique as I'm perfectly happy with the taste of what I make (you're recipe for Kayser's Monge is still one of the top three in my house), but the appearance is still...eh.

About BBA; when I started this bread odyssey, I received both it and Hamelman's Bread for birthday presents. I read both of them cover to cover, but started my baking experiments with BBA. At a certain point however, I realized that I had, without noticing, switched over almost entirely to Hamelman. With a couple of exceptions (I really like Reinhart's bagels, but that recipe is posted on this site), I prefer Hamelman's formulas, and the way he explains methods at the start of different sections.

I agree with David; you're almost certainly beyond BBA, though it is still a fantastic book, well worth owning if you want to expand your library...

From fog-bound Downeast,

edh

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

edh -- I could have written that post. I too received both books for my birthday, and have baked from both. I completely agree that Jane would get a lot more from Hamelman. Since you have Crust and Crumb, Jane, try a different author. You will find that he gets you thinking a lot!

Mary 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Advice taken... I just offered myself a new gift (Bread). Amazon is DANGEROUS!!! But I have to wait 2 weeks for it to cross the Atlantic.

Jane 

proth5's picture
proth5

Glad to hear that you ordered "Bread..."  I think that you will find it most instructive.  But as I have said elsewhere - you have to do the work.  I don't actually bake Mr Hamelman's formulas.  What this book teaches - and what is so valuable to me - is how to think through and create one's own.

To take a view not widely held on these pages, I bought BBA, and, well, it was a book I just couldn't appreciate.  It could be that I have been baking bread for several decades or just that the style didn't speak to me. I am sure it is a wonderful and valuable book for many.  Just not for me.

I have recently gotten some great French books (and, of course, I have read Le Gout du Pain) on bread that have gotten me interested in different regional shapes and variations. When the weather turns cooler, I need to explore those. 

Happy Reading and Baking!

 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Which French books?

Jane 

proth5's picture
proth5

Les 20 meilleurs ouvriers de France et médaillés d'argent se dévoilent et vous offrent leurs recettes choisies by L’Equipe de France Boulangerie 

And 

Le pain, l'envers du décor, by Frederic Lalos 

The first one really is just formulas.  The second one goes into more detail on shaping and technique (and is also a bilingual edition - French/English which make make it of wider interest.) 

I would say that neither is as extensive as “Bread…” but they cover specialized areas for traditional French breads that “Bread…” does not and that the author of “Le Gout…” considers we should already know.  

Hope this helps.

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Sorry, I didn't see your response earlier.

So, do you find that what ther French are doing in terms of formulas and techniques any different than what's happening over in the States? 

Thos are expensive books! Just went to look. But I put them on my Amazon "wish list" (told hubby about that the other day because he claims he never knows what to buy me). I'd be very interested in reading that kind of book. Much more interesting than Kayser. I wonder how much the French like to keep their secrets more than Americans who share more. We have WALLS here. Do they really tell all?

Jane 

proth5's picture
proth5

Well, there are secrets and then there are secrets.

The formulas are pretty straightforward in both books.

I would not compare these books with "Bread.." - they are much less comprehensive. They are not books of basic technique.  They are like French road signs - accurate in their way, but enigmatic.

I won't say that I have wrung 100% of the value out of "Bread..." but I will say that I am working on the incremental stuff - the special regional shaping - some inspiration from my beloved Alsace - you know, the little things.  And for that, they have been inspirational.

Expensive, especially if you pay for them in dollars.  Worth the price - for me, at this point in my baking life? Yes.

Hope this helps.

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Edh,

I agree with you on the BBA and Hamelman.  I too read BBA and Hamelman all the way through. Then, I went back to Hamelman's Bread and reread, highlighted and underscored, in red, what I considered the essentials from the first 86 pages of the book.  It's a real winner.

Jane, I think you know most of what is in both these book re: technique and the 11-12 steps (depending on how you count steps) of baking.  But for me, Hamelman offered a systematic approach to baking and that really helped me understand the entire process.  They're both great books, but as David said, you know most of the techiques.  The recipes in both are great.  I'm still trying to decide between Hamelman's light rye and Leader's Pierre Nury.  I just started another batch of Nury's light rye with a greatly enhanced starter.  We'll see how it goes.  I mixed it by hand and it looks much better than the last batch.  It has a completely different feel to it, a soft, lively feel to the dough. And I got good rise this time before retarding.  It's in the fridge now.

David, what can I say? You just keep hitting home runs everytime you step up to the plate.  Those loaves are beautiful; lovely crust, crumb and scoring. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

proth5's picture
proth5

And lovely bread.

But, as I said elsewhere, I merely quote someone more talented than I.  But I am glad it worked out.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I trust I interpreted your quotation more or less correctly. I'd say it is "working" out. The job won't be done until I've done it enough times so the process is transferred from the cortex to the midbrain as what we call a "motor automatism," like riding a bike or chewing.


David

proth5's picture
proth5

In terms of slashing, I was also advised to "practice with a fork - at the table." (seriously)

I briefly considered drawing perfect slashes on a piece of paper and during my (very rare) idle moments practicing "with a fork - on the paper." until I got the muscle memory.

But the doctors say that I must try to come to terms with my limitations before they can say that I'm cured...

Happy baking!

Janedo's picture
Janedo

You know that is not stupid at all! My husband told me that when they're shooting, they don't aim like they show in films. They actually repeat the action of raising the gun up to the chin a certain number of times (in the thousands) until the brain integrates it and it becomes a reflex. They don't have to think about where to hold it and aim at a target. Apparently it makes them much more effective in their gun position and aim. OK, a bit weird to talk about that, but I find the idea intriguing because slashing baguettes, it is that kind of repetitive, exact motion that should be able to become a reflex if done enough.

But I guess it would be really bad to do one motion a thousand times only to realise it's the WRONG one! Ha ha ha! For now I'll stick to serious reflection then slash until I actually get it right ONCE.

Jane 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

David,
I enjoy your SD breads and especially the Boule above. My Wharf bread has been very tasty since I started following your advice and retarding overnight. I think I'm starting to like a little more WW flavor than when I first started working on this. I'm so glad the warm weather arrived here in Wisconsin, my starter is even more active (although nothing like the show Mike put on) Hehe.

It does look like you are holding the cutting implement vertically, yes?

Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I'm glad you are enjoying your sourdoughs, as well as mine.

I don't like too strong a bran flavor in sourdough. I include the Whole Wheat only in the starter. Hmmm ... Maybe I should try making a batch with a whole wheat soaker.

Regarding scoring/slashing: For boules, I cut with the blade at 90 degrees to the surface of the bread. For batards and baguettes, I think somewhere around 45 degrees works best. I'm not sure because I've read instructions to use smaller angles, like 20-30 degrees. I haven't made a traditional batard for a while. I do like how they look and the crunch of the "ear."


David

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Nice slashing and the boule looks mouthwatering.  How was the crumb texturewise

Soft? chewy?  Most of my recent all-sourdough breads have had a fair amount of chew (I actually like that) but I'm not sure why this is so....Is it something to do with acid levels and elasticity? Perhaps it's simply the long rise? I've tried varying most other factors (amount of starter, flour type etc.) 

Anyway, enough of my ponderings. Let me say it again - really nice baguettes and gorgeous boule!

--FP 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Crunchy crust. Chewy crumb. That's the way I like 'em, too.

I find sourdoughs chewier than yeasted breads. I assume this is due to the effect of low pH on gluten. Some one else (Mike Avery?) might have a more authoritative answer.


David