The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

French Baguettes

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fredsambo's picture
fredsambo

French Baguettes

So it has been a while since my last post, I guess it was a busy summer, LOL.

 

I made some simple baguettes today. I did a 4 hour poolish and then mixed up an ordinary french bread recipe (water, salt, flour, poolish). I then put the dough in the refrigerator, since I wanted to go to bed (9pm). My wife took it out at five this morning and this is what it looked like at seven, when I got up:

 

First Rising

 

I cut the dough into four somewhat equal pieces and shaped them into logs; I set aside the fourth piece for my next batch.

Preshape

 

Then I let them sit on the "bench" for an hour.

Covered with a dish towel.

 

After pacing around drinking coffee for the longest hour ever, I flattened out all of the air...

Flatten

 

...and rolled them into baguettes.

Baguettes!

 

Now, I usually cover my french bread with a big pot, to emulate steam injection, but alas, these baguettes were too long! My solution was to start off at 550 degrees preheated for an hour and then carefully pour 1/2 cup of water into a small cast iron skillet, closing the door quickly. I think the key is keeping the oven above 450 degrees the whole time, since the evaporated water will make the temp drop dramatically. My water never stopped boiling and the steam cloud upon opening the door was impressive. CAUTION: A lot of steam comes out of the oven when first opened up, don't go sticking your face down there!

Skillet

 

After proofing for another hour I scored and then brushed them with plenty of water. Once they hit the stone I turned the temperature down to 500 degrees for four minutes, then removed the skillet and turned the temp down to 450 for the remaining time.

Ready to go!

 

I am pretty happy with the results, although they could be darker, but they taste wonderful!

Baguettes

 

I am making a country style next, with the old dough I saved from this batch!

 

Happy Baking!

Comments

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

From end to end they are perfect. Great job.                                       weavershouse

fredsambo's picture
fredsambo

They were singing to me when they came out of the oven!!!

 

Baking at home is such an adventure. :-)

holds99's picture
holds99

And nice photo presentation.  Which recipe did you use?

Howard

fredsambo's picture
fredsambo

This was once in a book, but now it is much different, so I guess it is mine.  Pretty simple, really.  I was just doing this batch for the old dough, which went into my Country Style (pics soon).

 

Anyway, Baguettes:

 

The Poolish:

1 tsp active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1 cup KA unbleached white flour

Mix by hand and let sit covered with a cloth for four hours, after which it should have risen and fallen once.

 

The Dough:

1 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 cup water

all of the poolish

2 1/2 cups KA unbleached white flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

 I did a 20 minute autolyse and then mixed it on my kitchen-aid for about eight minutes, adding small amounts of water throughout the process.  The dough was moist and satiny.  Then I put it in the fridge for six hours or so.

holds99's picture
holds99

Appreciate you taking the time to post the recipe.  I'll give it a try in the near future.

Howard

fredsambo's picture
fredsambo

Good luck!!!  :-)

Bluebell's picture
Bluebell

Ooooh wow, do these baguettes look good.

 I don't know what I do wrong, they taste good, but they certainly don't look as good as yours.   Doesn't sound as if you were even putting much effort into it.

 Reminds me of my primary results when the teacher said "she must try harder".

 Bluebell

fredsambo's picture
fredsambo

Well, it is important to adjust to your environment and ingredients and equipment. I have certianly made my share of ugly baguettes! The key to get the crust is the steam and the hot oven, since my oven is crap, I improvise. I could use the oven at work, but that would be cheating, lol, this is my home baking blog! :-)

I'll make a post with step by step mixing instructions, you can really do a lot with a stand mixer and a hook!

Bluebell's picture
Bluebell

I've got the Kenwood and the dough hook, but my oven is a bit like yours.

 Temperatures here in this far flung corner of Scotland are not helpful when making bread.   I did get a good tip on a heat source for proving - i.e. I use the top of the tropical fish tank at a push.   But it never even ocurred to me I grow my own plants from seed and use a few different heating pads. Walla

I won't be a happy lassie untill my baguettes look half as good as yours.

 Bluebell