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Sourdough Baguette success

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Pablo's picture
Pablo

Sourdough Baguette success

They've only been out of the oven for 5 minutes but I wanted to share.  I feel like I'm at the Academy Awards:  I want to thank Jane and Mark and Mini O and all the fine people at The Fresh Loaf...  I've been up since 6 to bake these, so many things to say.  If anybody's interested I'll write it up later.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Behold!

sougdough baguettes for Dr. Bark

:-∆aul

josordoni's picture
josordoni

They look like they will be very open textured, lovely!

Lynne

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Yeeeehooooo! Those look wonderful. I hope you'll show us the crumb. Did you check the internal temp? Sometimes they look baked but aren't quite.  Do them a few times until you find exactly how you like them.

Dr. is going to be thrilled with his gift. Aren't you nice!

And you are most welcome for the help.

Jane 

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

How do you people do it?  I *never* achieve that kind of gringe.  That's gorgeous!  Is it hydration?  Slashing technique?  Magic pixie dust?

Pablo's picture
Pablo

All of the above.  :-)

:-Paul

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Here's what I've come away with:

The dough must be fairly wet - this was 75%

When shaping keep in mind that with every fold you're building surface tension

Proof in a warm, moist environment (keeps any crust from forming)

The first 5 minutes of steam/baking is essentially the final act of proofing

Slash with confidence and move on.  The bounce will make them beautiful, no matter what they look like going in.

Preheat to a trillion degrees or as close to it as you can get.

presteam to get a little moisture in there before you add the baguettes

slide the baguettes in, thow in the water and close the door.

After 5 minutes it's done proofing.  You've got what you're going to get.  Now you finish off the bake and cool them, etc.

That's what I gleaned from this experience.  I hope it's useful!  Happy Baking.

:-Paul

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Write it up, when you get a chance. Pictures and words -- fine combination!

Another request? Your photos are showing up dark on my computer just lately. Did you change your camera settings, or is it something at my end? I don't wanna miss any of the details!

Carol

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I was pretty crazed this morning when I took that photo.  I can't guarantee what the camera was doing.  Does this show up any better on your machine?  This is a more carefully taken picture.

baguette 16-09-08

They're just a memory now.  4 given away and two consumed here.

:-∆aul

apprentice's picture
apprentice

And what a wonderful memory. More motivation to keep on baking....as if you need any! :) I think the problem was mostly my machine. But I'm glad I asked because now I got to see them right up close. Feels like I could reach in and grab one. I wish!

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I was cleaning my space today, not baking but reorganizing and I came across this reminder:

ghost baguettes

ghost baguettes

I'm done now.

:-Paul

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

 All your efforts have certainly paid off...good thing you made 6.  These won't last! Sylvia

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Paul.

Those baguettes look terrific!

I'd love to see the recipe you used and a photo of the crumb and a review of how you like them to eat. (Or are you planning to bronze them for permanent display?)


David

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Definitely bronze.  I'm planning on writting ad naseum later today, with the best 3 or 4 hundred photos.  Stay tuned.

:-∆aul

Richelle's picture
Richelle

They look great! I tried my hand at the Anis/Janedo recipe and workmethod but mine came out flat. Only the one I proofed and baked in a baguette pan got some oven spring. I won't even post foto's, I am just going to try again! Congratulations and I would love to see a crumb foto later on!

Richelle

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Richelle.

I've been making a variety of baguettes with high hydration doughs over the past month or so. I'm finding that differences in flours and very small changes in hydration make more difference than I would have believed.

I have no idea what kind of flours you have available in Spain or how they compare to American or French flours.

However, these baguettes are worth the struggle. When you finally find the right formula for your flour, it all comes together, and the bread is really excellent.

If you want to, let's take it to one of the "baguette quest" topics or one specifically on the Anis baguettes. We don't want to hijack Paul's topic!


David

Richelle's picture
Richelle

Hi David,

Of course I am aware that you have been on a baguette quest! I have been drooling over your foto's... Thanks for the offer and I'll get back to posting on one of the more appropiate topics when I've made another batch.

Richelle

audra36274's picture
audra36274

They look awesome! You did an excellent job.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

This feels like a very good step for me.  It's what I set out to accomplish 4 weeks ago when I found The Fresh Loaf and started reading about artisan breads.  The challenge now, of course, is to be able to repeat it, and to improve it - make it more to my liking.  Here's the whole deal, way more than some of you will be interested in.  I'll just post the recipe first and then I'll talk about how it came to be, for anyone interested.  Ideally I can inspire someone and also people will make helpful suggestions to me.  That's how I've found this site and all the bread making books and sites that I've seen so far.  It's a wonderfully supportive community.  

All the flour is white, organic, unbleached.

preferment 1:  74g 100% hydration white starter and 24g flour.  Put the flour and starter on the countertop and mix and knead and put in a container to rise for 16 hours.  A biga.

preferment 2: 300g white starter, fed up and active

359g flour 242g water 10g salt

Mix all together and then do 2 stretch and folds at 30 minute intervals like Mark shows on the Back Home Bakery site.  A bench scraper or bowl scraper was handy for errant dough.  Put it in an oiled tub in the 'fridge for 15 hours.  

Take it out of the 'fridge, do another stretch and fold and recover.  Leave it at cool room temperature for 6 hours (it was midnight here, so it sat out from midnight to 6 am - no heaters on and the windows open).

preshape, shape, steam and bake.  20min. finishing on 465F.  Oven preheated for an hour at 550F.  Oh yeah, here's the crumb:

crumbcrumb

crumb2

That's the short version.  For them that's interested, here's the long version:

My goal was to create a 100% white sourdough baguette.

The reason that I did two preferments is that my husband is writing a web based bread formula calculator for me. I wanted to have fields for two preferments because every once in awhile I see 2 preferments being used.  So I took some of the starter and added some flour just to create a preferment with a different hydration level.  Since it's drier I think of it as a biga, although it is based on a starter rather than a fresh yeast mixture. 

I used 300g of starter because you have to use some starter for sourdough and I have no idea why to use more or less yet.  I just took a stab a it and used 300g.  Ya gotta start somewhere.  I wanted to leave plenty of room for adding flour and water to the dough.

I ran the groovy program with the above info and it told me that to get 1000g at 75% hydration I would need 359g flour and 242g water.  I have been using 80% hydration doughs but I also have been having a lot of trouble with shaping, so I thought to cut back to 75% in the hopes that it would be easier to handle.

I mixed the biga with water first as a result of my disasterous earlier experiece with an autolysed mixture that did not incorporate because I just dumped it in with the flour and water.  I find Mark's video of stretch and fold really helpful and I try to emulate his big stretching on the countertop with my dough. 

I took the dough out of the 'fridge and left it at room temperature overnight because I wanted the fermentation to move along a little quicker.  During this odyssey, in the early days, oh way back 3 or 4 weeks ago, when I got my internal probe themometer, I checked my refridgerator temperature by putting the probe in a glass of water that had been in the 'fridge for several hours.  It was mid-forties.  I read on the web that the ideal is about 38F so that's what it's running now and that's cold.  Hence the room temperature final fermentation. 

Again, a stretch and fold between the 'fridge and the final leg of fermentation.  And something happened.  The dough felt really good.  Jane had suggested using cold dough for shaping and on this stretch and fold I got a really good vibe from the dough.  I have been struggling with shaping and I watched the Danielle Forestier video on the PBS website and I followed her demo with all the patting down of the dough.  It worked OK, but I didn't like it.  Even though I didn't use her complete technique, it was very helpful to do all that patting and folding because it makes it obvious about the folding without having the additional burden of trying to save the bubbles.  I wanted to coddle the bubbles and Jane had the same attitude.  This dough felt coddleable.  Interesting.  

It was now midnight.  I had a deadline because I wanted to take 2 fresh baguettes to my Dr. and his receptionist at my appointment this morning.  I figured to shape and bake in the morning.  I don't set an alarm.  6 would have been the ideal time to start based on my calculations of how much time I'd need for shaping and proofing.  As it turned out I was awake at 6 so that was great.  I hopped up and got to it.

Last night I had just read in the BBA step 1 of the 12 step process.  Getting your area together.  I have had lots of times of frantically looking for the bench scraper or the bowl scraper while I'm trying to do things.  I already get in a panic while trying to shape so it made sense to me to first off, get my space cleared off and my tools available.  

Also I put on Vangellis "1492", and my favourite Enya album "Watermark".  

I weighed dough before with a metal bowl on top of the scale.  Sometimes the dough sticks a little and I tried sprinkling a little flour in the bowl, but it tends to slide down the side and I get more in there than I want, which translates into more being incorporated into the dough and nobody wants that.  I just bought a couple of proofing baskets from the SFBI, they have a cloth lining that I have rubbed with flour.  The big one shaped my apple-leavened loaf.  The small one sat nicely on top of the scale and worked great for releasing the bits of dough that I hacked off and threw in there to get the right weight.  (1000/6 = ~166g per +/-)  When I took the dough out of the bowl I was careful to keep all the bits (not THAT many) in the middle and pull the dough around it to start some surface tension and put the preshaped dough, gathered side down to allow them (and me) to rest for 5 minutes.

Shaping went really well.  Not perfect, of course, but way better than I've ever done before.  I kept my eye on the unfloured top, and let my top be my top, so to speak.  thanks Jane.  I had to use a little flour on the counter top and on my hands, but I kept it minimal.  Also, instead of grabbing wildly inside the bag as I had done in the past, part of my "mise en place" was to have a little tupperware container of flour available to just grab a little and fling it.  Boy, that Danielle Forestier does that great on the Julia Child video - a puff of flour just DUSTS the coutertop when she flings it.  So I did use some flour, but hardly any.

Sorry these pics are a bit dark, I would take a break and push the button.  I had the camera on a tripod.

Back to shaping.  I started with the little boule preshape.  Keeping the top the top, I pulled it down 2/3s and sealed it,

shape 1

shape 1

pulled it down 2/3 again and sealed it

shape 2shape 2

then made a trough in the middle to facilitate the fold and pulled it down the entire way and sealed it. 

shape 3shape 3

Turned the seam up and pinched it carefully and thoroughly.  Watching how careful the fellow is on the Breadtopia video of making a Tiara was helpful to me.  Just to watch how carefully he handled the dough.  

Once the folding and sealing and pinching was done I rolled them on the surface to extend the basic shape that had been formed - to elongate the baguette.  

shape 4shape 4

And once I had rolled it as much as I was comfortable with I held them up and gently shook them while gently holding the other end and working on extending them, ever so gently.  The ends I dealt with as best I could.  On the last two I folded the two sides in just a tiny bit before I began the main folding down process.  That kind of worked.  Actually, on the baked baguettes I kind of like the pointy ones too.  So I'm still conflicted about the ends.  But the shaping in general went great.  The cold dough, having my space all in order, keeping in mind where the top was, using as little flour as possible, keeping in mind the basic idea of building surface tension as I folded.  Watching videos is so helpful, even if I don't do that particular bread or technique, I often pick up something.

I got some lightweight linen from Gary at the Super Peel web site.  I rubbed it good with flour and then gently shook the excess off it for a couche.  I put a favourite book on the counter for the couche to lean against to start it off.  (I told you I'd go on about everything, but I think having an appealing and functional space is important, and if that includes your lucky-book couche-starter, well good for you!)  As I complete rolling out the baguettes I placed them on the couche and made another fold.

couchecouche

So, now I have formed baguettes.  Where to proof them?  Somewhere moist and warm I figure.  I put a piece of 2 x 8 across the bathtub and half filled the tub with hot water.  Then I slid the loaded couche on a peel and set the whole thing, covered, on the 2 x 8.  It's a small bathroom and the water heats up the room nicely with a little help from the wall heater.  I don't know the exact temperature in the room, but I imagine that I will pretty soon, the way things are going.

I need to mention my oven now, because it is preheating.  I put the stone on a rack as close to the top of the oven as I can get it and still have room for the risen bread.  My goal is a steam inferno.  Heat rises, steam rises, I wanted the bread as high in the oven as I can get it.  I preheat to 550F.  I put a pan of rocks on the shelf where I am going to bake the bread after the initial steam. 

oven

When I put the bread in the oven I turn the oven off.  I don't want the top elements incinerating the loaves while I'm trying to steam them.  I have a piece of paper that says "OVEN ON/OVEN OFF" to remind me to turn the oven off and to turn it back on - there's a footnote on the note to remind me that the steam coming out is hot and I don't want to burn my face (again) being overly eager to see what's going on)  Between the heat mass of the oven itself, the stone and my pan of rocks, and the fact that I've preheated to a higher temperture than I bake at, I find that after 5 minutes when I take out the pan of rocks and move the stone to the lower shelf and turn the oven back on, it's usually at or above baking temperature already.

OK, back to the bread. I proofed it for an hour, so it's now around 7:30 this morning.  I brought the peel with the loaves back to my fabulously tidy workspace and slid the laden couche onto the counter top.  I have precut a piece of parchment that is the same size as my stone so I  know they'll fit once I'm ready to load them into the oven.  I want to get the tender little proofed baguettes from the couche onto the parchment paper.  Again, watching Mark's video of moving his Ciabatta loaves was inspirational.  Uh oh, I don't have a little piece of wood, eek, what am I going to do?  AH!  I remembered some thin, stiff cardboard in the office, like what's at the back of a pad of paper.  Perfect!  So I cut a piece of that.  Again, remembering the Breadtopia guy got me to be gentle as I lifted the linen to ever so gently get the baguette onto the little cardboard transfer peel.  I gently and slowly (but not too slowly) kind of lifted the linen to roll the baguette onto the cardboard, keeping in mind which side was up (seam side) so that I could be sure to roll it seam side down onto the parchment paper.  They didn't stick to the linen, thankfully I had floured carefully enough.  They didn't just roll off either, I had to gently, gently kind of roll the top with my fingers to encourage them to roll onto the cardboard.  But patience paid off and they all rolled off and got transferred with only a minimal amount of sticking.  That's as opposed to the hunk of linen that is in my garbage can, stuck thoroughly and completely with a previous learning experience)

I have always been a little suspicious of the first moment that I put things on the stone, before I steam.  This time I presteamed.  I threw just a little water on the rocks in the pan, maybe 1/8 cup, just to get a little steam started, then I slid the baguettes onto the stone, threw 1 1/2 cup of water onto the stone, shut the door and turned off the oven.  I set a timer for 5 minutes.  I tried to relax.

I put two cooling racks on top of the flat top stove.  After 5 minutes I opened the oven door and removed the pan of rocks and put them on the cooling racks.  I moved the stone from the top of the oven to the proper baking shelf.  I closed the door and set the oven for 465F and I thought "Did I really just see what I thought I saw?".

I baked them another 15 minutes, turning the whole load 90 degrees every 5 minutes.  I sat in front of the oven and looked through the window and fretted.  I think I gave them another 2 minutes.  While they were baking I moved the pan of rocks somewhere else to cool.  When I decided to take the baguettes out I put them on the cooling racks and moved the racks outside.  I wanted maximum air flow around them as they cooled.

cooling

That's my story.

Some odds and ends - I would like to achieve more even browness.  The bottoms are quite browned and two of them are nicely browned both top and one side.  The rest of the sides are not particularly browned.  That sounds like there's something where maybe the two that were on either end during the steam maybe got some extra heat or something.  I wonder if I should bake less per stone load.  I wonder if I could turn them on their sides during baking.  I wonder if I should use a higher oven temp or move the shelf up a notch.

baguette bottomsbaguette bottoms

The flavour is pretty good.  But I want more sour.  I think a longer fermentation will help there, also maybe using a bit of rye, from what I've read here.  I feel terrific about the basic dough at this point.  It was possible to handle and I got lots of bounce.  Now I want to twiddle with it and hopefully maintain this oven bounce.

I don't have a single bad thing to say about the bounce.  What a thrill!  I think having the right hydration, handling the bubbly dough very gently, warm moist proofing, again very gently transferring to the parchment paper, steam inferno for the first 5 minutes.  All of these played a part.

I did well with using minimal flour during the shaping, I feel good about that.  I think that was possible because of the hydration level of 75% and having the dough cold.  I'm still not happy about the rolling/shaking portion of the process, but I think it will come along with practice.  I got very little "brains" on the bottom of these baguettes - those wrinkly areas where the dough got wrinkled during the shaping process.  By far the best that I've done.

OK, I think that's about it for this session.  Any questions, don't hesitate to ask.  Any advice gratefully accepted.

:-∆aul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Paul.

Your baguettes are beautiful. The crumb is absolutely spectacular! But what impresses me most is how quickly you gathered tips, assimilated them and applied them.

You are one fast learner, my man!

I can't wait to see what will be coming out of your oven in another 3 or 4 weeks, at the rate you are going.

Keep baking. You're an inspiratation!


David

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks David.  I can't tell you how much you and the other posters here have given me.  It's a thrill to hear that my baking is an inspiration to others.  Obviously I have been inspired!  I feel like I made it to step 1 of my journey with these baguettes.  I achieved a level and now I'm going to take a rest - do a victory lap.  I'm going to take a couple of days and not bake, although I imagine I'll get something fermenting in the 'fridge.  I think I'm going to try to apply the "mise en place" concept to my kitchen.  All this bread baking activity was not planned for.  When I look around the kitchen I see all sorts of opportunities for rearrangement.  It made such a difference to get myself and my space really ready before I attempted shaping my baguettes.  I find the BBA deeply inspiring so far.  I'm only up to step 1 in the text but reading the intro stuff in the book was just wonderful.  

Now, a practical question.  I was thinking about the browning issue.  I'm wondering if there's any need for the stone after the first 5 minutes of steam.  It seems like the crust is set, so maybe, when I swap out my pan of rocks and baking stone, I should just slide the baguettes onto the oven rack nude.  Then they'd have more even heat all around them.  Sound reasonable?  

:-∆aul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Paul.

I would continue using the stone. I find there is more oven spring for over half the bake, and the stone may help. Or, you could do two batches and test the effects.

If I understand your browning issue, it may be due to how close the loaves are together. I find loaves may be under-browned and soft on the sides when I bake loaves too close together. I would hypothesize that, as water evaporates from the loaves, if there is not enough air circulation, the moisture gets trapped somewhat between the loaves and cools the air in that micro-environment.


David

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi David,

Having to loaves too close together would account for the evidence.  The sides of two of the baguettes were nicely browned, but all the other sides, those that had another baguette in close proximity, were light.

I'm envisioning the heat from the over wafting up in currents like a mirage on a hot day out in the San Joaquin valley (I'm a Bakersfield Boy).  Say Blackwell's Corner in mid-summer.  As i envision  the heat currents rising in my oven, I see them run into the stone and go around the edges, browning the edges of the outside baguettes.  I could be completely wrong in reality, but that's the picture in my mind.

I read in the BBA that "there is no advantage to steaming late in the process nor even after the first few mintes and the crust has set".  The bottoms of my baguettes were a little darker than I'd like, indicating that they got plenty of heat from the stone - maybe too much.  I'm going to try dumping them onto the rack directly, if not right after the steam, then 5 minutes later.  I'll keep you posted!

:-Paul

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Another possible cause of the lack of browning could be overfermentation.  Overfermentation depletes the dough of the residual sugars that are necessary for the proper browning to take place.

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks for the thought, Steve, but two of the baguettes did brown up nicely on their sides.  That is, one baguette had one side nicely browned whie the other had the other browned.  I couldn't say with absolute certainty that they were the outside baguettes, but I can say that they had the same fermentation time as the rest.

baguette browned side

The side of this one, for instance is nicely browned.  I could live with all the sides looking like this.

:-Paul

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

Great looking baguettes you have there, Paul.  The crumb looks very professional!!

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Wow Paul. With your description I got a wonderful idea of you making your bread.

OK, one thing that I was wondering, what temperature do you think the dough was sitting in while it waited from midnight to am? That's quite long for a "final fermentation". Why do you think it needed to ferment even more? You put a large amount of sourdough in your dough and that is a long time to sit out because the goal is just to come to room temp. then be shaped. The final fermentation should be just the last hour of rising. Unless of course the temp in your kitchen was quite cold and it took a very long time for it to warm up. Anyway, this could really affect the flavor (negatively) if the sourdough develops TOO much, see what I mean? I understand your time constraints, not easy.

Maybe that is something to play with next time when you don't have to produce fresh baked baguettes for 7:30am! :-)

They're really beautiful and they have an incredible crumb. I see this has been a huge and fun learning experience for you and it looks like you're having a great time. Your learning curve is impressive.

Jane 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Jane,

Yeah, I really don't know what I'm doing with the sourdough.  In the past I've fermented 16 hours in the fridge, then another 12 at a cool, not cold temperature.  I do have a scale, but I'm termometer deficient.  Why the long ferments?  Because I read something somewhere sometime.  The web, you know, you get to clicking on things and something just sticks in your mind.  Or that's how it happens for me, anyway.  So I did those two long ferments with the second one at cool room temperature a couple of times and I was happy with the taste, more so than with this one, actually.

I don't know how to control the sour at all.  I need some good, authoratative reading.  I have 3 Peter Reinhart books but I've been so busy baking that I have only read part of the BBA, although I've loved what I've read and been surprisingly moved by it.  I think it's time to put a bit more "science" in the "art and science" of my sourdough.

Someone had the astounding idea of using the library.  Duh!  Why didn't I think of that?  As you know, we can pull from the entire BC library chain here at the local Penticton library.  Actually I'm closer to Naramata, if you know where that is.

So, if you know of a good sourdough reference, I'd love to hear.  I'll let you know if I can get it at the library. 

:-Paul

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Paul,

You can do looooooong ferments, but keep the amount of sourdough down. All those beasties will eat everything up, otherwise. But then don't confuse retarding (long, very slowed down fermentation) with long fermentation (warmer temps).

For instance, with yeast (to go back to original Bouabsa baguettes), the full process is 25 hours. If there was 1 1/2 tsp of yeast, by the end of the process, the dough would be disgusting, over developed. But by reducing to 1/4 tsp, the yeast needs all that time to do it's work. Even in the sourdough yeast ones there is only 100 g sourdough and 1/4 tsp yeast.

So, if you let an almost 100% starter to flour proportions, you have a lot of beasties that are at work. If they get too warm and happy, they'll create an over developed dough. You could try the inital mixing, then 30 min rest, folding, 30 min, fold, 30 min THEN in the fridge. Keep it in there over night and then only let it rest a bit out of the fridge, shape, then about an hour (David does less) before going in to the oven.

For the sour... there are very conflicting opinions. Over here, I get sour if I use a liquid starter and then let it retard in the fridge over night. Many say they get sour if it a firm starter. I have a couple of books that agree with me, others people don't. Sort of strange, but I can only go with my experience. You could try to add some rye to your biga and it will get sourer. Don't put too much, though, or you won't have baguettes anymore! :-)

Have you tried the Pierre Nury's light rye? You'll probably love that bread. It gives you an interesting starting point for many different possibilities.

Have you looked at Proth5 's recipe for sourdough baguettes? 

But all that said, if you are happy with the taste what can I say? That's what counts! 

Books, there are so many! Hamelman's Bread is a sure thing. I've got my nose in Local Breads and love it (that's a cultural thing, there is lots about France!). They treat yeast breads but there are a lot of sourdough breads. I remember Canadian libraries were great that way, you can order anything!

Jane 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I Jane,

I'm going to be looking for some charts.  I want to see times and temperatures of commercial yeast poltted against natural cultures.  Of course there will be slop, but I want to get a feel for the relative strengths and fermentation times at various temperatures.

I wonder if those doughs you referenced would accept a longer ferment without the addition of commercial yeast.

What did you mean to not add to much rye or I won't have baguettes anymore?  Is that a functiion of the action of the rye or an edict of the French government?  I was thinking, there's the old urban legend that Native People's of the North have 35 words or so for "snow" because it's so important to their lifestyle, powdery snow has a different name than wet snow, etc.  I wonder if it's similar in French for bread terminology.

I'm going to give the library a try for Hamelman's.  

I'm plotting my next bread.  I did Mark's Rustic White from Back Home Bakery but I didn't give it a fair shake in the proofing/baking stages.  I got out of synch and my timings were off.  The bread itself tastes fantastic.  I think I'll give that another go, maybe tomorrow.  It's a poolish based on a tiny bit of rye starter and uses some commercial yeast in the final mix.  I need a different baking technique than the steam inferno of the baguette birthery.  I like the calm appeal of Floyd's deep scored French bread.  I may try to produce Mark's recipe with Floyd's baking technique.

Bake on!

:-Paul

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Paul, as Jane points out, their are a number of interelated factors that need to be taken into account when deciding how long your first fermentation should be.  The quantity of yeast (or in this case sourdough) is one of them; all other variables being constant, the more sourdough starter being used the shorter the first fermentation time should be.  Other factors to take into account include temperature and even mixing time; the longer the mix time, the more the dough is intially developed and therefore the shorter the first fermentation should be.  All these interelated factors are described in books such as Hamelman's "Bread" and Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry".

As an aside, the "tiara" or diadème shape was described not on Breadtopia but rather on Bread cetera:

http://www.breadcetera.com/?p=105

On the same site, there is also a video of baguette shaping that you might be interested in:

http://www.breadcetera.com/?p=8

Have fun with your bread baking journey!  

SteveB

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks Steve, In my mind I, obviously, keep getting Breadtopia and Breadcetera mixed up.  I appreciate the clarification.  The Breadcetera baguette shaping technique is very similar to Danielle Forstier's.  Personally I don't go for the slapping and patting down.  He was gentler than Forestier anyway, but he's certainly not coddling the bubbles present at the preshape. I'm a coddler, at least for this stage of my development.

I'm going to attempt a tiara Tuesday night for a special dinner guest.

I see an instant-read dough thermometer in my near future.  

This "Hammelman" name comes up again and again.

:-Paul

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Paul,

If I read your method post correctly above, you are loading the bread on the stone on a high level rack and then turning the oven off during steaming, then lowering the level and turning the oven back on? 

I try to think about how a professional grade Artisan bakery would do things when thinking about home technique. The baking process needs to be simple, as it would be in a old world basement bakery. Load the bread, add steam, vent the steam and let the bread bake until done. Home ovens have a tendency to cook hot at the back so rotation near the last 5 minutes may be required.

If you want to try something that will both surprise you and produce great results, try baking your next batch on parchment paper on a sheet pan. No stone, no pre heating for an hour. No steaming and shifting trays and turning the oven off and on.

Prepare the dough as usual and place on parchment. Turn the oven on to 500F. The oven will heat quickly without any steam pans or stone to suck the heat up. Spray the dough with a light misting of water. As soon as the oven is up to temperature, load the bread.  After 5 minutes, lower the temp to 450F and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Rotate the loaves if needed and as quickly as possible close the door. Continue baking for another 10 minutes or until crust is caramel color and internal temp of 205F.

Now, I'll grant that the bottom won't have exactly the hearth type crustiness and a look at the cross section may show a slightly less browned bottom than the rest of the crust. But that's the only difference. For all of the people who like a less tough bottom crust this will be a welcome change.

When ever I am baking a single session as in 2 loaves on a sheet pan or 3 or 4 loaves in pans, this is the method I use. As the cost of energy rises I am not happy about needlessly wasting the energy it takes to create a pseudo hearth oven environment. You have seen my breads, trust me this works.

Eric 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hummm, interesting.  Can you point me to a baguette photo from this method?  I actually find that the bottoms of mine were too dark - almost the "b" word.  But I'm desperate to get that monstrous oven spring.  My dream baguettes are well-sprung and uniformly browned with some darker, grigne of course.  show me! show me!

:-Paul

ehanner's picture
ehanner

This is an article from last year when a late convert who is a very good baker finally tried the method. If you look at her stone baked breads, the bottoms are black so she likes that flavor which I don't care for.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3047/giving-no-preheat-try

Eric 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

They are lovely loaves Eric, no doubt about it, but I'm on the baguette quest now and that means big, wild girgne to me.  I don't see it in her pictures, but then they weren't baguettes, either.  Again, the loaves are beautiful, and what I would call "calm" looking, soothing.  I'm looking for that wild, back alley, street fighter baguette, birthed in an inferno of steam and it shows, - a wild explosion of dough frozen in time.  I just don't think I'm going to get that without all the heat sink and steam methods, however unfortunately energy-hogging they are.

 Los Chicos Malos

Los Chicos Malos - The Bad Boys

:-Paul

leemid's picture
leemid

I believe the issue with lighter colored sides of some of the loaves is proof they are too close.  When I bake larger loaves on a baking sheet they are closer that on the stone and they actually grow together across the two inch gap.  They never do that on the stone, I believe because of the considerably greater amount of available heat (at the same temperature but stored in the stone). 

Your idea of heat waves rising around the stone and missing the dough is not correct.  The stone is radiating the heat that bakes the loaves, but the baking dough absorbs heat and if two loaves are too close, there isn't enough heat to equally brown them.  Make certain there is sufficient distance between. 

Next, I wouldn't over-heat the oven so much or move the stones. I over-heat only by 25 degrees to allow for loss from opening the door and the cooling effect of the water vapor. You also don't need to rotate the loaves more than once during the bake. 

I like your idea of a pan full of stones for steam generation. I just toss water on the floor of the oven every minute of the first 5 which results in large volumes of hot air escaping. But discovering the amount of water needed for up to 5 minutes of steam would be a superior method. Also, I would not remove the rocks after the steam period, because they would help stabilize the heat. If you discover the correct amount of water, you don't need to open the oven until mid way through when you need to turn the loaves. I reduce the heat after the first 5 minutes as you do.

Your loaves look great. Increased sourness is a matter of fermentation but you can also increase it using a little rye as you suggested. The best way to make better bread is to make more of it, more often, give it away and try different things to see what improves. And when you get great bread, or even great looking bread, it's worth all of the effort, and endorphins erase the bad memories. But if you don't post pictures of your success on TFL, underworld entities will infiltrate your dreams...

That's my story,

Lee

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hey Lee,

Thanks for the thoughts.  My next baguettes I will put my theory into practice and we'll just see, eh?  My thoughts are, yes the stone is hot, but you've got conduction going between the bottom of the loaves and the stone and convection going between the sides and the heat rising from the stone, yes the stone is hot, but somehow, inside where intuition lives, I feel that the quality of the convective heat rising from the entire oven will be different than if they're sequestered on top of the stone.  I belive in experimentation.  I'll keep you informed.  I've really kind of thrown down the gauntlet to myself with this batch.  I hope I can repeat this bounce and get it to be something that I can count on.

The deal with removing the stones is that I put the loaves as high in the oven as I can to concentrate the steam around the top of the oven cavity and have the loaves in that concentrated, hot inferno.  I actually turn the oven off for that 5 minute steam.  I don't want the top element to come on with the loaves so close to the top of the oven.  Once that 5 minute period is over I have to lower the stone to turn the oven back on.  As you say, if I had the ideal amount of water, there would be none left in the rock pan, but I never do.  I'm afraid that the continued steam leakage from the rock pan after the 5 minutes of steam is unwanted moisture.  The rock pan contributes to the oven holding it's temperature during the 5-minute steam as well as providing a source of the steam.

As I see it, we want 5 minutes of hot steamy inferno and then the remaining bake time with no steam so the moisture can leave the loaf and we're more likely to get a crispy crust.  I like what I'm doing now.  I feel like I've reasoned out all my steps.  There sure are a lot of different ways to do this!  And, of course, the proof is in the bread.

I have a word of caution for you, by the way.  I used to throw water on the floor of my oven and after awhile it warped the bottom of the oven.  Then I started using a heavy cookie sheet and it got warped as well, but not nearly as expensive as a stove!  I prefer to keep the water off the bottom of the oven as much as possible.

:-Paul