The Fresh Loaf

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Today's baguette bake

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Pablo's picture
Pablo

Today's baguette bake

After my last photogenic success with baguettes, I realized that I needed to follow someone's recipe to get good flavour.  (thank you Jane)

I started with the BBA basic sourdough recipe.  He encourages us to change things and make it our own so I did a little.  He uses a barm as part of a starter, but says that we can do it all in one step if we want, so I did.  I wanted a dry pre-ferment for flavour.  I wanted the dough at 75% hydration for my baking style.  Here's what I came up with:

15g rye starter

146g white flour

75g water

This yielded a 55% hydration pre-ferment.  It took about 24 hours to double at room temp and in the oven with the light on.  Then I added:

535g white flour

431g water

2t salt

My mixing technique:  I added 100g water to the starter to get a slurry that was easier to mix with the remaining flour and water.  I autolysed all but 50g of the flour with the remaining water for 25 minutes and mixed the salt with the 50g flour and mixed the three together.  When I do it over I will reserve more of the flour as the autolyse was a little difficult to mix since it was a little dry.  I think I'll reserve 150g of flour the next time to mix with the salt.  2 stretch and folds 30 minutes apart.  Cool room temperature ferment for 8 hours.

Then I divided it in two as I wanted to experiment with baking techniques.  One half went into the 'fridge.

The first bake went well.  Preheat to 550F steam/bake 5 minutes then 465F bake for 15 minutes on the stone.  I made 4 baguettes of 150g each.  I spaced them equally apart on the stone to test whether they would brown on the sides if they weren't so close together.  The answer is yes.  David, you were 100% correct. 

20-09-08 bake 1 crumb

20-09-08 bake 1 crumb

I was hoping for more oven bounce, though.  I thought the yeast was a little under-active, so that was either under-fermented or over-fermented.  If it was over-fermented there was nothing I could do (that I know of) so I decided to process the second batch of dough as though the previous timing had under-fermented it.  I took it out of the 'fridge and put the tub that held it in a tub of cool water for 5 hours.  I wanted a cool environment, I felt that room temperature was too warm and the 'fridge was too cold, so I went for the bathtub and cool water (66F).

For the second bake I made 3 200g baguettes.  I proofed them for 2 hours.  The first batch I only proofed for 1 hour.  I wanted a little more colour so for the second bake I did the same 550 preheat and 5 minute steam/bake and then 15 minutes at 485F (20F hotter) and not on the stone.  I removed the stone.  I had to put a piece of parchment paper on the top during the last 2 minutes as they started to get too much colour.

20-09-08 bake 2 top

20-09-08 bake 2 top

20-09-08 bake 2 crumb

20-09-08 bake 2 crumb

By the way, they are delicious.  I'm happy to answer any questions and receive any comments.  I wouldn't be here if people hadn't poked at my methods before, so THANKS.

:-Paul

PS  I have a double load of barm/starter in the 'fridge and I'm mixing the dough tonight.  I'm going to bake twice as much tomorrow as I did today.  I figure to do a lot of baking right in a row with the same recipe and I can try adjustments while it's still fresh in my mind.  I think I'll try pushing the ferment time more and more until I get baguettes that expode out of the oven or I reach yeast exhaustion and then that will be some information.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Paul.

Those look wonderful. You must have a great, soft touch forming the baguettes to get that open crumb.

I have a suggestion for scoring: To get the classic baguette look, try somewhat shorter strokes - maybe 4 inches long - with the cuts more parallel to the long axis of the baguette, and overlap the cuts 1/3 (not too much). It looks like you have the lame angle just right.

Disclaimer: I talk as if I know what I'm doing, but I'm still learning too!


David

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks David, great advice.  I'll put it to use tomorrow.  Stay tuned for more photos.

I think it helps that I was a bodyworker for 13 years - "people who knead people".  Somehow something just clicked recently about working with wet dough.  Teeny bits of flour - not none, but not much.  I still can't figure out how to roll them very well.  I've got the folding down to my liking, but then the sort of "final" shape for the baguette is still a challenge.  Today I tried letting the dough rest a little after the third fold in the baguette forming process.  I started to roll it a little and it seems to me that at that point the dough is fighting a little.  So maybe it needs a rest.  Unfortunately today when I did that it dried out a little during the 5 minutes, I guess at least partly because of the little bit of additonal flour that gets incorporated into the outside as I work the shape.  If I try it tomorrow I'll try covering it, but then you don't want anything to stick to it...  I have an old hippie aversion to plastic wrap.

It's SO MUCH FUN I can hardly stand it.  

:-Paul

josordoni's picture
josordoni

It is amazing what we have learnt here.  When I was making bread before, I would never have even thought about the dough "fighting" and so needing resting.  Our technical knowledge now is just awesome.

I just need the experience now to immediately know what the feel should be at each stage of the game, that is the bit I am now trying to fathom.

 

Lynne

 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Lynn,

As a fellow novice here's my take.  I'm doing the same recipe repeatedly to try to get a feel for the dough in this recipe.  It occurred to me at some point that all the breads are not the same.  I know, that's like "duh", but, especially with baking, I had been viewing all breads as sort of "magically" needing the same baking techique as baguettes.  Baguettes being the bread I have chosen to focus on.  One day, looking at a photo of one of FLoyd's beautiful loaves it dawned on me that his bread was so "calm" and these baguettes are twisted, tortured products of maximal preheating and a steam inferno with dough so wet that it will barely keep itself in a shape.  They are, at the very least, two different baking styles, and two different sets of ingredients.  I'm thinking there's something fundamentally different about them.  I don't like my "calm" breads at all.  I don't really know what I'm doing there.  I'm getting a feel for these rock and roll, lock and load, take no prisoners, baguettes.

Anecdotally I do feel I'm getting a feel for the final baguette dough in the recipe that I'm using.  It's "buttery" for want of a better word.  My current dough feels nicely buttery and it's almost a miracle.  It's been a difficult birth.  Briefly, right after the words "oh, I know how to do this baguette now, no worries here, I've got this one down" approximately, disaster struck.  My reciped calls for a very dry biga (55%) and an autolysing which then get mixed together with the remaining flour and salt.  The biga stayed in the 'fidge 48 hours and formed a crust on the top.  I added 200g of water to the biga to work it into a slurry.  I used my hads and I just couldn't get all the bits of the dried crust to incorporate.  I had just gotten this lovely "encyclopedia of breads" at the used book store and thumbing through it was inspiring about what constitutes a "successful" loaf and I read about a rye bread that incorporates the crusts from the last loaf, so I figured I was fine to incorporate these.  But how?  I ended up with the KA immersion wand blender and I went at it.  This dough is tough stuff, it was a battle and drew to a tie.  Some lumps taken care of, some not, but the KA was tired.  So I went ahead and mixed the dough and left it in the bowl for the first half hour, before the first stretch and fold.  First stretch and fold: lumpy squishy mess.  Before hanging out on this forum I would have just thrown it away and maybe a sponge or two along with it during the clean up process.  Instead I did a bunch of frissage.  It was messy and counter-intuitive to that this mess and spread it out even further, working through it and smashing/sliding it into the counter.  But I did it a bunch and then used the counter scraper to scrape it all back up into one dough.  It always amazed me how dough comes back to a whole like tht.  Put it in the oiled tub, but the top on and found a nice cool place for it to spend the night.  I just did a stretch (5:30am) and fold and it's like butter.  It's speaking nice to me.  I don't know exactly what happens or why - I need to do some more reading, but this is one instance in which i can say I notice a "correct" feel and that that feel has developed through time and stretch and fold techniques.  the last stretch and fold of this 2000g of dough was beautiful and windowpaning to beat the band.  And that was after some abusive treatment.  Maybe it likes it!

 So, I hear ha, I don't think there's any substittute for baking frequently and paying attention  while you do.  I keep a journal of all my bakes.

As far as the fighting goes, I do notice that traditionally there is a rest betwee preshape and shape.  Why?  We have the experience of the dough changing remarkably during the stretch and folds of the main body of the dough.  It goes from sticky pancake batter to a folded loaf pretty quickly.  If you do another stretch and fold right then, it's hard, the dough is fighting you, but if you let it relax a bit, it again allows the stretch and fold.  So, my thought was that after workig with a small bit of dough, which was initially relaxed, I may be pullig it around so that it gets in that folded up state and needs to relax.  When I'm trying to roll the final baguesst shae and I roll and stretch, it seems like the doug was more willing to take that, more will to assume the longer, slimmer profile after having rested.  It wasn't so much fighting to retain it's mass in the current shape.  Or so it seemed to me.

I'm excited to be baking 12 baguettes today, 3 groupsl of 4.  I'll be trying something diffeent with each one.  for one thing the dough will be continuing to forment between loads and i woder what differences will be.  I'd expect more oven bounce right up to the point that the yeast reaches exhaustion.  Where that point is will be intereting to discover.

Long, rambling answer that might have been on target with your observationsl

 :-Paul

josordoni's picture
josordoni

I am doing the same thing as you I think but with a different bread. My base bread is pain levain ala Jeffrey Hamelman, but I have been tinkering with David Snyder's take on Janedo's take on Anis's baguettes, translated into pain de Campagne  - or Pain de Chingford by the time it gets to my versions, although that is not a name that would have people running to buy it on Amazon.

 Today I have been out all day, so the levain has had since this morning to mature, I made it quite stiff so it might well be crusted. 

Not sure what my variation for today is that I might try, but it will be interesting to note.

Lynne

 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I don't have the Hamelman book yet.  It's on my wish list.  I wish you better luck than I've had today, although it is interesting   I just made this recipe yesterday, so I know what the dough should be like, but I had this dough emergency around midnight and I don't know how much it's recovered.  Maybe the room temp is a bit different, since there's a little rain this morning and it felt warmish last night from the cloud cover I guess.  Both doughs were left out at room temp all night and I baked in the am.  Yesterday's dough was much easier to handle, today's is much wetter.  It's kind of a challenge and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to pull it off and that I'll get great oven spring, but we'll see.  I just got them shaped and that was harder than usual, I had to use more flour to keep things from sticking.  I was playing John Denver "Rocky Mountain High" at the time.

I'm considering putting the dough in the 'fridge to get it colder and therefore easier to work with, on the other hand it's good practice to work with really wet dough and I don't want to retartd the fermentation.  I really want to see how the fermentation changes as I dip in to the same dough over the course of 10 hours or so.  Prey for oven pop!

Can you describe your recipe and where you are with it right now?  Real time baking.  We need web cams!!!  "At 10am PST Sunday, Sept. 21 Paul will be trying to rescue his sourdough baguette dough"  hummmm....  

:-Paul

josordoni's picture
josordoni

It was John Denver that did it.

Try something with more soul next time.

Do not under any circumstances play Leonard Cohen to your bread.  Your dough will have the same suicidal tendencies that LC engenders in humankind.

Lynne

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Watch it, you!  This is Canada!  eh?

:-Paul

josordoni's picture
josordoni

ooops sorry.

 At college in the UK in the late 70s we referred to LC as music to slit your wrists to...

actually, I quite like him now.  Perhaps he is a musical style to grow into.

 

Now back to the bread..

I hum Joni Mitchell to mine.  It reacts very very well to Carey...

 

 

 

 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I'm a US ex-pat, in Caanda for three + years.  We're still in the stage where we worship all thing Canadian, including LC.  e.g. "Everybody Knows"- fabulous song.  I like Joni too, but I'm not familiar with her albums, certainly "Paved Paradise" rings true today.  I was a Jackson Browne man in the 70s, that and John Fogerty.

:-Paul

josordoni's picture
josordoni

in realtime...

 Last night I bulked up my white starter as I was meeting a friend who had been on holiday and was starterless and I had promised to take them some.  So I fed my tablespoon, that went back in the fridge, split the rest, added 50g white flour and 50g water to each. Left overnight.  This morning one half went with me to the Glass Fair, other half had 50g of rye flour added, and sat all day.

 I am about to make dinner and will mix all and autolyse whilst that is cooking/we are eating, then fold etc after before putting in the fridge overnight.  Last time I added all in together as I found adding the starter after the autolyse just too messy.  This time I will add the starter at the beginning but add the yeast and salt at the first fold.

 My planned formula is going to be:

250 g white bread flour

100 g oatmill (prop flour with oatmeal and rolled oats added)

50 g rye 100% flour

1heaped tsp salt

quarter tsp instant yeast

280g water (maybe a spot more if it needs it as the oats and rye are a bit thirsty)

 (edit - plus the starter of course!)

Lynne

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Yup it did need a spot more water - I added another 20g.  folded twice round the salt/yeast, rested an hour, folded, rested, folded, and now in the fridge.

 Lynne

Pablo's picture
Pablo

What a cool idea about adding the autolyse to the starter.  I'll try that.  I've had some disasters in that dept, last night/today being no exception.

:-Paul

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Well, it is all baked and cooled and cut open now...

Monday's David Snyder bread with added oatmeal - the grigne

Monday's David Snyder bread with added oatmeal - the grigne

 Monday's David Snyder bread with added oatmeal - the other side

Monday's David Snyder bread with added oatmeal - the other side

 

Monday's David Snyder bread with added oatmeal - the crumb

Monday's David Snyder bread with added oatmeal - the crumb

 

The oven spring was so massive that the single slash couldn't accommodate the swelling, and so it pushed out in a sort of bulge. It ended up like a boule on one side and a batard on the other!

Crumb nice - looks like it can still take some more rye, so next time I will muck about with the proportions again.  But overall,  I think this is getting nearly there.

I went back to folding in my trusty roasting tin this time rather than folding in the bowl.  I think I like it better for this level of hydration in fact, although I would possibly find the bowl method better for a wetter ciabatta type of dough.

 Other variation - I had read somewhere (don't ask where, I can't remember, possibly Hamelman) to throw the water in, close the door, wait a moment, then load the bread.  Then the other day, I saw another suggestion to load the bread, and then throw the water in to make the steam.  

So this time, I slashed, sprayed the slash, loaded the bread, threw the water in (onto a cast iron skillet in the bottom of the oven) closed the door and didn't steam again.

Also, I realised that I didn't need to heat the oven for so long as I wasn't using a stone, just a metal baking tray.  So I only heated the oven on mark 9 for about 10 minutes, put the bread in, steamed, turned the heat down to mark 8, cooked for 15 mins, turned the bread around , turned the heat down again to mark 7 and cooked for  the remainder of the time.

And it seems to work!

 edit:  forgot to mention that I didn't think the short heating time would be enough to heat the skillet enough to create the steam, so I heated that on the top of the stove whilst the oven was heated, then moved it back to the bottom of the oven.

Lynne

 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Lynn,

I had to wipe the saliva off my screen after seeing that shot of the crumb!  Man that looks good!

My two cents about steaming: I view it as a continuation of the proofing process - you want to keep it moist while you get the maximum rise before the crust forms.  I read somewhere that spraying the loaves before you put them in the oven can produce "spots" which someone didn't like.  Whatever.  I know Mark on his Back Home Bakery videos sprays his loaves.  Anyway, I both pre-steam and steam.  I use a pan of rocks myself to have a good heat sink (I thought your preheating the skillet on the stovetop was brillant!) 'cause I turn the oven off for the first 5 minutes, but that's another story.  Anyway, I pre-steam with a 1/2 cup of water or so when I start to shape, then I throw another 1 1/2 cup in as soon after I've loaded the stone as possible, then close the door and keep it closed for 5 - 7 minutes, depending on my mood.

Whatevery you're doing, it's working!

 :-Paul

josordoni's picture
josordoni

The oatmeal gives a lovely gentle flavour.  I'll be toasting it for brekkie today so I'll enjoy it with some marmite today.

And as you say, as I look back on my earlier efforts something is working - even if it is just my starter maturing (which I reckon must have quite a bit to do with it). 

I am so pleased with my progress.

And it gave me such pleasure to be able to give someone some starter at the weekend, and a little page of instructions.  This from someone who had never tried sourdough baking AT ALL, EVER until a few months ago.  Amazing. (pats self on back LOL)

 Lynne

apprentice's picture
apprentice

I'll bet you enjoyed your brekkie today, Lynne! Lovely looking bread, though I liked the earlier version too. From appearances anyway, they simply look like different styles. The earlier was baked in a loaf pan, right? For some purposes, that's a nice shape to have on hand. Are you also experiencing improvements in taste, crumb, etc.?

It certainly is satisfying, isn't it, to feel that we're becoming better bakers all the time. Being able to share with others is the icing on the cake. Er...the sheen on the loaf? :)

Carol

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Hi Carol,

yes the earlier Oatmill bread was baked in a pan - I wanted to make sure it would move up rather than out, and the mix was rather wet, so I thought it might need the extra support.  Next time I might try it in my new bannetons :).

totally different taste to this current one, mainly because of the retardation I think.  

I don't think there is any improvement over the earlier version, just different.  Both are good.  The earlier crumb was more in a "bought" bread style, rather than this "artisan" style one.  If you see what I mean...

 Lynne

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Great job, Lynne!

I'm amazed at the oven spring you got with no baking stone and not covering the loaf.

Very nice crumb, too.

How did it taste?


David

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Hi David and Carol!

Thanks for your comments. This one was much more sour than the last retarded batard, and less sweet than the oatmill one baked in a pan (which was not retarded).  Moister crumb too - as I sliced it for the freezer, the centre of the loaf was less open than the ends.  Still good and tastes excellent, toasts crisp with a lovely soft interior.  

David, I wonder if I just dramatically underproofed it?  I gave it the 30 mins post pre-shaping and 45 mins after shaping that you had used in your original variation.  Also, the oven temperature was lower than previously, which may have helped the yeast element (rather than the starter)  to grow more before being killed?

Or perhaps the folding in the tray develops the gluten better than the bowl method?  I think that is also a possibility. Other possibility is that the white flour content of the Oatmill proprietory flour is higher gluten than my usual bread flour?

Whatever.... Good bread is good bread in my book!

Each variation has had its own character, each to be liked for its own sake.  I am not  that fussed about consistency in home baking - I quite like to be surprised each time I bake, although I am making notes each time, so that I can go back and try to emulate something if I want to have it again.

 I'm away in the South of France for a few days from Thursday, so it will be over a week until I bake again, I have fed my starters today, keeping them nice and stiff, so they will be happy bunnies noshing away until I get back I am sure.

Lynne

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Lynne.

"Good bread is good bread" ... Yup. That's it alright.

Under-proofing generally does give you more oven spring, but, with the crumb you got, I can't believe you did any harm to your loaf.

I have only made this bread with folding in the bowl, so I cannot compare it to folding in a tray or for French folding on a board. But folding in the bowl gives me the nicest dough development I've ever accomplished. I don't know about it with drier doughs.

I like what you said about variations. "Good bread" comes in infinite flavors. As long as you are not in the business of delivering a uniformly consistent product to a customer base that expects each bread to be identical to the last one they brought, you can just enjoy the surprises.

Enjoy your trip! I'm envious.


David

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Ah David, I will be so envious of all of you though when you get your fall colours coming through. We get nothing like that over here. 

The grass in our backyards is a green and lush sward to others, and just boring old grass to us!

Lynne

(feeling philosophical tonight..)