The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tighter baguette shaping and my second visit to Anis Bouabsa's bakery

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Tighter baguette shaping and my second visit to Anis Bouabsa's bakery

Hi Everyone,

I haven't disappeared off the face of the Earth, I've just been very busy as a single mom these days, well, these weeks. I check things out here when I can, but can't really participate. Looks like you're all up to some very wonderful baking.

I had promised an update on what I learned during my morning at Anis Bouabsa's bakery and I just wanted to say that I finally wrote up a post on my blog if you're interested. I just don't have the time to write it all up again for this forum. 

http://aulevain.canalblog.com/archives/2008/10/19/11013358.html

I've been on this baguette quest for quite a while now. Since April? Well, it's been a lot of fun and I just wanted to thank all those of you who were in on it with me. I was looking at my earlier attempts and it is really amazing. I can't believe how much we have learned. What a great forum and group of people to share and learn with. Merci mille fois!!!!

Jane 

Eli's picture
Eli

Glad to hear from you again. You must have been in heaven!! The photos of the folding are great! Thanks for sharing with us!

Eli

mcs's picture
mcs

Great pictures and thanks again for going through the trouble of translating your website for those of us who don't (yet) speak French. Merci.

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Jane, Thank you for all your wonderful information, photos and fun.  You have been missed.  I know how busy you must be raising your family...I raised my two as a single mom and it wasn't easy in the 60's,70's.  I've only made the baguettes once and really was very happy with the way they turned out and plan to keep working on them trying for improvements.  I would have never been able to do it without all the information you provided.  I'm sure I speak for more than just myself when I say we all look forward to your next visit to TFL.    

Thanks Again, Sylvia in San Diego, CA      

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jane.

Whew! Lots of variables to juggle!

All your baguettes look wonderful.

Now, how to apply what you learned from Anis and from your experiments to our situation with different flours.

We (in the U.S.) have access to higher gluten flours, so using KAF AP flour might be the way to go. The barley malt would give more sugar to the yeast to ferment and also yield a darker crust. I can see that.

How does Anis mix his dough? How fully does he develop the gluten before fermenting the dough? The kind of mixing I've been doing (stretch and fold in the bowl) is relatively gentle. Do I need to develop the gluten more? Hmmmm ....

That's the biggest question in my mind. My understanding is that gentle mixing results in a more open crumb, as long as the gluten develops well enough to support the bubbles. Where is "the sweet spot?"


David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

David,

Good question! He has a mixer than does the work of arms that you can see here.

www.makanaibio.com/2008/10/ptrir-une-pte-pain-la-main-mthode.html

He doesn't kneed a lot and he lets the machine do the folding. It is mixed, autolysed, kneeded, rested, folded, rested, folded, rested, folded, in the fridge (like we do in our recipe). So, it is handled gently! His dough is really slack, as you can sort of see in those mounds in the one of the pictures I posted. They are flat. The dough I made at home felt the same while I was shaping (I often use the Hamelman no-knead method). There was only give, no springing back while shaping, hence the need to keep the rectangle small at the beginning. It elongates just from the handling, see what I mean? I really think the retarding in the fridge helps develop the gluten to perfection.

He said that the slap and fold way of kneading at home is perfect with subsequent folds at the 20 min intervals (I do thirty minutes).

What's a sweet spot?

There's a Robert that left another message telling me how to make a better baguette. He said to bake hot then lower, but I don't think that's a good idea because I watched the Anis baguettes bake in their 250°C at constant heat and he lets them get dark. It is one of the only breads that I would have to say is BETTER dark. It gets great initial oven spring and thenthat heat seems to give them an incredible almost sweet taste. I don't even like baguettes, but these ones are to die for. I made them for my friend and we were in the kitchen munching awayon the fresh baguettes while preparing dinner. The next day they are still wonderful.That is part, thanks to the sourdough, but the non sourdough ones I made were excellent as well.

Have you tried the tighter shaping? I don't think I have ANYTHING at all to teach you, your baguettes are perfect. I just wanted to share the experiments and the experience.

Jane 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jane.

From your description of Anis' kneading method, it sounds like the Hamelman technique we are using is a good approximation.

The point regarding the pre-shaping is good. I have had an awful problem with slack doughs. My bâtards want to be baguettes. :-(

"Sweet spot" is an expression used in tennis and golf for the precise spot on the racket or golf club where you want to hit the ball for maximum transfer of force. By extension, it is the point on any continuum which yields the exact desired effect. (Also see "The baby bear" effect, as in Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Hey! What do you expect from a Pediatrician?)

Regarding Robert's advice: I thought it was mostly nonsense. However, pre-heating a home oven to a higher temperature does have the virtues of getting the stone really hot to enhance oven spring and having the oven at the correct (cooler) temperature after the heat loss from opening the door to load the loaves. I think there are things we have to do at home to compensate for the shortcomings of our ovens compared to commercial deck ovens with steam injectors.

The last couple of baguette batches I've baked have been with the Gosselin technique. I'm ready to try Anis' formula again. You have got me intrigued with trying them with tighter shaping.

Jane - You have a lot to teach me! The whole interactive process of sharing ideas, trying them out under differing conditions and sharing results is educational in the very best sense. You just need to appreciate that I do not buy into the traditional asymmetric power relationship between student and teacher.


David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

David,

OK, then the sweet spot is just all over the place! The initial rectangle has to be kept small and as each fold and sealing is done, it elongates by itself and then you just have to roll with two hands to get the points at the end.

I think I'll try the Gosselin baguettes again, using this method. And when you try this shaping, let us know how it worked for you. I'm not at all saying it's better. Actually that is the whole point of my blog entry. I'm thinking more that the lighter touch and fewer folds during shaping will guarantee a more open crumb. Flour, oven and probably other factors come in to play for us home bakers. The tighter shaping has given me less open crumb but nothing catastrophical and I can control the outer esthetics better, see what I mean? 

So, are you saying that this sort of trial and error, then sharing of results is more interesting and educational for you than being in a classroom, do this, do that situation? In any case, I am definitely learning as much as if I was in a classroom, probably more in the long run and it's a lot more fun.

Jane 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

So, are you saying that this sort of trial and error, then sharing of results is more interesting and educational for you than being in a classroom, do this, do that situation?

Yes! Both more interesting and more educational.

I am definitely learning as much as if I was in a classroom, probably more in the long run and it's a lot more fun.

That's what I would expect. The classroom is a fine place for some kinds of learning. The seminar with dialogue among the professor and the students is best for learning how to think and to solve problems, while the lecture hall may be better for acquiring new information. Neither is best to learn to play the violin, fix the landing gear on an airplane or form a baguette.


David
proth5's picture
proth5

I think that is what "my teacher" more cryptically meant when I was told that the only way to add strength to the bread was to be firm with the shaping.

That being said, I think firm shaping is a relative term.  As I struggle to shape high percentage rye bread (just when you think you know what you are doing, something new comes along...) I will say that baguette shaping is most gentle of all the breads I have ever baked.  I don't think baguette dough would stand up to the tightness one gives to 90% rye, but I think it can stand a little roughhousing. 

I will also add that I have used the baguette shaping as far as the first two folds (fold over 1/3 and seal with the palm, repeat) as preshaping for very slack doughs with some success.

I've been having nice results from my sorry old formula as of late.  I think the real difference has been that I was able to feed my starter on a daily basis for the last month or so.  The health of the starter is so very important.  If I could feed it every day, I definitely would.

Another thing to which I have been paying attention lately is that when I am doing the folds with my plastic scraper, I make sure I am really folding the dough (not just moving it around) and I stop as soon as I see any tearing on the surface of the dough regardless of the number of strokes I have given it.  Four sets of strokes at 30 minute intervals is sufficient for my dough and my hands.

And Janedo - lovely blog and I bet a memorable opportunity.  Next time give me some notice and I'll fly in...

Happy Baking!

Pat

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Pat,

So glad you popped by to say hello and share your ideas. I will definitely watch the dough more closely when I'm doing the folds. I do make sure I fold the dough, not move it around. I even took pictures of it but didn't post them (I actually forgot!).

Another thing I totally forgot to mention in the blog entry was that Anis flours liberally! When the dough is ready to be shaped, I always try to NOT flour, but he throws it on the table (OK, not that much, but liberally). That makes the shaping easier, I find.

Jane 

 

proth5's picture
proth5

At 75% hydration, I would think that goodly amounts of flour are needed.  The question that I would have is:  What is he doing to make sure that the flour doesn't get incorporated into the dough so that there are no streaks of raw flour in the bread?

What I have seen is that when there is a lot of flour on the bench, the baker takes care to brush off surface flour as he/she shapes.  It would be interesting to observe that fine point of M. Bouabsa's technique. (Or perhaps you remember?)

Also, since the baguettes are rolled only briefly to taper the ends (and I will not delve into the perpetual "tapered ends" controversy) there probably is no issue with the "ball bearing" effect that makes it difficult to elongate lower hydration baguettes.

The naturally dry climate of my kitchen does make a difference, so even with fairly high hydration doughs, I can avoid having too much flour.  Even with my new challenge - 70% rye - I find that if I pay attention I can concentrate mostly on flouring my hands and not the board, but as I have recently been reminded, things are different when you are not living in a desert.

Next time you head for Paris, though, please let me know so I can "crash" the lesson.

Happy Baking!

Pat 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Thanks Eli, Mark and Sylvia.

Marc, I have really wondered how you did these baguettes? Do you have anything to show? How have you changed the recipe, what kind of flour?

Jane 

mcs's picture
mcs

I actually did some experimenting with them back when you first posted, then haven't done much with them until recently.  I began some trials again last week with the recipe you shared because I prefer the flavor to the regular baguettes I make and as you pointed out, much is due to the hot baking and coloring.  In fact, I've baked the Anis' baguettes in the oven at the same time/temp as the Hamelman baguettes and they come out darker and more flavorful.  I seem to get a better crumb with folding on the table than folding in the bowl (no knead technique), but maybe that's just me. 
The recipe I keep the same as David's interpretation of your recipe, and I use local (Wheat Montana) flour.  I'm not sure how it would equate to French grade flours. 
My shaping technique is different in the sense that I tighten the seam with my fingertips against the table as opposed to the heels of my hand.
I'll do some more experimenting again soon and I'll let you know how it goes. 
Thanks again.

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Mark,

When you do some up, could you show us a picture of the crust and crumb? I find it very interesting to see what people come up with using different flours, their own personal techniques (like your shaping), different ovens, etc.

Yes, these are nice when they are darker. The end part of the baguette is to die for.

Jane 

mcs's picture
mcs

Jane,
I'll show you what I come up with when I go at it again.  As for my technique (or Roberts for that matter) remember if there were only one 'right way' to bake, we'd all only need one cookbook.  I'm shaping the way I do not because I feel it's a superior technique to Anis and Calvel's, but because it feels more natural to me and it's simliar to how I learned how to shape my other loaves.  Switching to a higher hydration dough like 75%, I have to change it slightly and use more flour on the table than I'm used to, so it's taking some adjusting for me; but in the long run, it's easier for me to adjust my method rather than completely begin a new method.
-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I'm following along here trying to sort this all out. Thanks Jane for the translation on your blog, much appreciated. Do you have an idea how big the rectangle is before you start folding? I'm not clear on how you shape these. I'll have to go back and look again.

Have you tried using an autolyse (flour and water only) first, to bring out that nutty flavor you were talking about last week?

Eric 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

it's great to have you back, jane! i'm always studying your posts, and find that i gain more insight every time you write here (or in your blog).

i've often thought that we should try to organize or document our results in some way, so that we don't have to read through long threads to get the necessary bits of information. perhaps the ideal thing would be to make some sort of recipe "template", for users to fill out. at the end of the day, someone (the bosses here at TFL, perhaps?) could produce tidy .pdf files complete with ingredients and instructions. you know, i think it could really work. people blogging here are great at taking photos and documenting the steps involved in their masterpieces!

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Thanks very much!

It would be nice to have easier access to all the fantastic recipes that get posted here. But can you imagine the work that would be???? And sometimes, what is posted are little tweaks to recipes already posted, so then one recipe can becomes a dozen.

Jane 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Hans.

I think the idea of a recipe template is wonderful! I would be happy to contribute to such a project.

We could "suggest" a format, or are you thinking about a form that members would have access to and be able to fill in online or fill in offline and upload?

There are some technical feasibility issues that are way beyond my knowledge of regarding the software Floyd uses.

Do you want to start a topic on this?


David

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi David,

Great that you're into the idea! I have not thought much about details or how it could be implemented yet - I guess I just noticed that a lot of information and recipes are found in forum threads. I think it could be beneficial to the site if this information could be organized in a way. Our very own e-breadbook!

One idea I had was to simply set up a web page of various text fields and forms, where the user insert ingredients  and amounts, and types up the details on mixing, shaping, proofing etc. I think it should be pretty easy to set up. The user could also attach pictures. After the user has submitted the recipe, a script could automatically generate a HTML page for the recipe (and perhaps also calculate bakers % etc. if the user has entered weight measures).

I'm open for anything basically, this was just an idea :) And you're right, David, perhaps we should start another thread for this, if other fresh loafers find the idea interesting as well! 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I'm definitely interest... not putting it in place, I'm incapable... but writing up my recipes, sure!

Jane 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I think I disagree that this would be worth pursuing on a global basis. While it would be nice to make it easier to find recipes with a good index, imposing a template would not make recipes easier to find or the bread any better. Recreating existing posts to a template isn't going to happen.

This site is a fast moving thing of beauty that is constantly changing. People discover TFL, get hooked on learning and step back once they grow to a level that is comfortable for them. Many people who are active today for example don't know who Mountaindog or BlueZebra are. We are moving ahead in technique only slightly as a group while each individual is experiencing exponential personal growth. It's a little like what happens when young people discover sex. They think they invented it and go about an active phase while learning, much like what happens here.

In the end, the recipes (with a few exceptions of old family or ancient methods) come from books. Some of us modify the recipes and call them our own (wince) and describe our methods. I think you need to get away from the concept that TFL is a big recipe book. If it is, most of them are copyrighted by someone else. There are many authors of baking books. Being a member here has helped me understand which books to purchase and which to not purchase. 

Writing back and forth with other bakers who are willing to share their experiences and help me understand how to train my hands and senses is the truly valuable aspect of this forum for me. Plus the friendships I enjoy with the many colorful personalities here.

If you want to do something to make it easier to find things, don't introduce a recipe in the middle of a thread. Start the thread off with a title that is descriptive of the bread or technique make sure you use good key words and post the recipe at the top. Future users will appreciate your foresight. If you need a model, take a look at any of Floyd's bread posts.

Eric 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

I don't disagree with Eric on the main ways in which TFL fosters growth of all of us as individual bakers, and the way the site as a whole has a collective movement. I sense these things though I am just ending my sixth month of participation here.

That said, I think there is something we could do, that is simple enough, to make recipes more accessible. I agree with others that there is room for improvement, even on an unimprovable website like TFL.

We have a Gallery for Photos, why not a Recipe menu point (or Tab if you prefer) for recipes?

Someone, Floyd I suspect, has put into the Tools tab a Recipe Converter. This kind of drop-down list box could be used to organize the recipes into categories. Whenever we want to reference one of the recipes in a post, we could simply supply a link to the main recipe, and account for any variations in our text. The Recipe drop-down list box would provide seekers with a variety of recipes to choose from of a given type, say "Multigrain Sourdough".

I am not proposing a template that everyone would need to follow. Like Eric, I think that would be more frustrating than helpful.

The entries in such a recipe section could conceivably include cross-references (links, i.e.) to the various posts which have been written using the recipe.

Well, it's just a thought.

Floyd? Is this even possible?

Soundman (David)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Eric.

This is definitely a topic for a new thread, but I'm not going there right now. ;-)

It seems there are two issues: 1) Recipe templates, and 2) a recipe index.

In regard to the template idea, there are existing conventions which communicate clearly and, in addition, provide a structure for thinking about bread recipes that is itself educational for the new bread baker. I do not see this as inhibiting experimentation or discussion or discouraging for the less experienced.

Rather than discussing this in the abstract, I will draft a format for a recipe template and let's see where the discussion leads us. Think of it as a "recipe for recipes."

Regarding an index, I have found the existing search function sufficient.


David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Hi Eric,

The initial rectangle is about the size of your hand, so small. Since the dough is slack, it just elongates with each fold and then one last little roll to get the points formed and it's done. If it tried to spring back, there is too much gluten in the flour. This said, I'm just explaining Anis's dough and what I have managed to do at home. I'm sure a higher gluten flour would make a very nice baguette as well!.

I don't do the autolyse with this recipe because Anis doesn't. The all night cold retarding really develops the flavor nicely. I'm going to do the Gosselin baguettes again and see what I come up with. I found them a bit too nutty last time, but maybe with a shorter autolyse it would be good.

For the shaping, I think it is VERY classic. Fold down the top half way, seal, turn the dough so the top is at the bottom and then fold the top half way and seal. Then fold three quarters of the way and seal and then all the way to the table and seal on to the table and roll. All those folds makes it quite tight. As Pat says (Proth5) it's firm handling yet gentle (OK, not exact words, but the idea).

Jane 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks Jane, I'll have to figure out how much dough to start with to make a baguette shape in my home oven. I know 300 g is the standard size for a full size I'll try 200g.

Eric 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I use 500 g flour, 375 g water, 100 g firm starter, 10 g salt. I cut it in to three equal portions.

Jane 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

There are so many ways to approach this bread shaping thing and each has  a fan club. It's a little confusing when you don't have a sure opinion on which way you prefer, and I don't. These are more slack than my normal mix so it does require a shift in awareness. I suppose if I did this every day it would be no big deal.

Eric 

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

Thanks for the nice baguette education!  Did Anis explained why he uses flour with malt and ascorbic acid for his baguette formula?  Did he also used a preferment along with his baguette dough?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Carl.

My understanding is that Ascorbic Acid "strengthens" the gluten. Prof. Calvel may have been the one who first promoted this addition. However, I read somewhere that this is not necessary if you are using American AP or Bread Flour which already have more gluten than T55 French flour.

The malt is just giving the yeast an extra shot of sugar, presumably to increase fermentation/CO2, and, if it is diastatic malt, some enzymes that help digest the complex carbohydrates (starch and disaccharides)) in the flour to simple sugars. It also generally results in a darker crust because there is more sugar to carmamelize.

KAF adds ascorbic acid to their "French Style Flour" which is there "T55 clone."


David

dougal's picture
dougal

Ascorbic does result in a stronger (or possibly its really less weakened) dough.

Its healthy stuff, and used in miniscule quantities. 

Utterly unexceptionable, IMHO.

BUT - I thought the French didn't permit its use in their "Tradition" labelled products, which are controlled by a real law - the Décret 93-1074.  

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Merci, Janedo!

I too have missed your posts. This latest post is very helpful, and the pictures really bring to life the excitement of Anis's bakery! The different flours seemed to yield quite different results. The crumb on the last baguette was sheer perfection, to my eye. I believe that was with the least strong flour as well?

How did you mix your dough, mixer or hand kneading? High hydration doesn't work all that well in my mixer, though I don't mind kneading a gloppy dough.

I'm sure you are too busy to respond, but I wish you a less stressful schedule in the future!

Soundman (David)

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Carl,

This type of flour with ascorbic acid, malt, gluten is typical in France (and probably in most places). I don't think there is any particular reason except that the experts have decided that this type of flour is the BEST. Anis' flour supplier was the official supplier to the top three Parisian baguettes this year. I choose to use organic flour for "health" reasons and so maybe that handicaps me, but in the end, I find my dough handles basically the same as his and the flavor is fantastic. 

David (Dsnyder) posted the recipe in his blog which is essentially the way Anis does his baguettes. You'll see there is no pre-ferment, but 21 hours in the fridge before shaping.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/8340/more-baguettes-best-crumb-yet-me

Soundman,

I have been using Hamelman's no-knead bread technique for this recipe. The ingredients are put in a big bowl, stirred, let to rest 20-30 min, folded with a spatula 20 times, let to rest, folded 20 times, let to rest, folded and placed in the fridge. You can do that, or do the slap and fold kneading technique, then do stretch and fold every 20-30 minutes for an hour and a half. Or, I guess mix in a mixer, then the three stretch and folds. I fond the no-knead the best method for this dough.

Jane 

 

Jane 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Thanks, Jane!

I went back and reread your original posts on this baguette of Anis (in French but I understand pretty well; my 3 months in Paris help alot!). I re-discovered that you were folding in the bowl, a la Hamelman so to speak. (The Hamelman recipe employing this method is sort of buried toward the back of Bread. I believe he calls it French No-Fold Bread, for anyone looking for it.)

I also went and read dmsnyder's blog posts and took down the recipe, with the sourdough levain, bien sûr. In one of David's Anis-baguette-posts he takes pains in shaping to degas as little as possible.

The folding technique for tighter shaping sounds as if you (Anis as well) are not so concerned about degassing, as the oven spring brings out the airy crumb in spite of possible degassing during folding. Is this a fair way to state the shaping issue?

I would imagine that making a slender baguette without the tight folding is difficult.

Thanks again

Soundman (David)

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I actually did this blog entry because we had decided that to get such a nice open crumb in an at-home baked baguette, we should be lighter handed... then Anis said no, so I had to try. I told David Snyder that I would explain what Anis taught me and the results of my experiments. That's the gist of it all. I still think the light handled dough gives a nicer crumb... but like I said, it's fun to shape them and they are still quite open.

Since we all use different flours, different ovens, etc, we just have to experiment and find what give us great results. There is no one way. It's a combination of little modifications and techniques. That's what this has all been about, I guess.

If you make them, be sure to show us!!!

Jane 

dougal's picture
dougal

I'd have expected "tighter shaping" to have meant 'more tension in the surface', but it seems that you are interpreting it as 'firmer sealing of the seam'.

Getting the outer surface really well stretched is going to be important to the shape (and how it evolves on baking), the slashing, etc. But I'm not sure what benefit comes from firmer sealing.

I'd understood that the action of the 'heel' of the hand was to bind the seam, by compressing only the seam and not the rest of the dough, while giving the surface a last little stretch.

Could you explain a little more, please?

 

 

Incidentally, for French "Tradition" labelling, the malt would have to be wheat, not the (more usual in the UK) barley.

And the addition of gluten surprised me. Do you know what protein % his flour ends up as being? From your description of the 'deadness' of the dough, there surely can't be much added gluten, can there?

As to why the gluten, I wonder if its one way of holding the dough together slightly better at extreme hydration?

Clearly, the thing here is to get the high hydration and then blast it to steam inside the loaf by contact with the super-hot oven hearth. If Anis Bouabsa's deck oven is at 250C, there's going to be a terrific amount of heat transfer by conduction through contact with the stone - rather than either radiant, or air heating. I'm afraid its an indication that a thick stone, thoroughly pre-heated, is important here.

I can see what "Robert" is referring to, but I'm not so sure about his suggestions. The photos appear to show a slightly under-done ('doughy') crumb. You are getting very very close with the dough, so I think further improvement is going to come from the baking phase.

Excellent piece, lovely pictures - thanks for sharing them!

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Dougal,

I know the pictures don't show it that well because I was taking pictures and trying to show the steps of the folding at the same time, but the idea is that the baguette gets quite tight. The dough is slack and so tight is a relative word. A lower hydration dough would become VERY noticeable taught, while this dough smooths out and that's how you know it tight, but it remains very flacid.

The shaping consists of four folds and so it is definitely tightened up, or as much as this dough could be.

For the French labelling, I have researched it a bit by looking at different web sites and they all talk about the baguette "Tradition" being free of additives. But what's an additive? Anis said he doesn't use flour with "additives" but in France that means other stuff, maybe like soya bean flour, flavouring, etc. Ascorbic acid, malt and gluten don't fall in to the category of additives. All the very best non-organic flours have them. You're right, there is nothing wrong with vitamin C, and certainly nothing wrong with malt and gluten. I use barley malt only because I can't buy malt like you have over there (oh, another thing to get my dad to bring over when he comes next month!). My personal goal is to produce great bread with flour, water, yeast and salt and all organic. So technique and oven heat come in to serious play! And that is what this is all about and why it is so fun for me. Oh, and I have no idea how much gluten is in my flour, it isn't marked on the bag, but it is probably around 11,5% because it is a T65 flour. When I used the T55, that one is 10,9%, so it isn't the same ball game as the American bread flour!

I agree that my oven isn't doing its job a 100% and it is probably because I don't leave it to heat up long enough. It is the right temperature but maybe the stone isn't hot enough. It's not very ecological in my mind, especially since I bake so often. I'll try to leave it preheat a long time the next go, just to see.

As for Robert, I'm not sure where he is coming from. I won't up the hydration because then the dough would be completely unmanageable. I don't want to lower the oven temp because I love what the high heat does and the fast bake. He says not to knead and anyway, I don't. I use the Hamelman's folding technique... and then Mark says he gets better results from the folding on the table. I think he means an initial knead and then successive folds? So, who knows. As for the crumb, the last time he said it wasn't shiny enough inside, but people can't forget that they are photographs and the REAL aspect of the crumb can't be seen very well with my crumby camera. Those ones I posted last time actually WERE shiny. But, I don't really care about that, as long as they taste great. 

Jane 

dougal's picture
dougal

The use of this term is supposed to be controlled under French Law.

Specifically Décret 93-1074.

http://www.droit.org/jo/19930914/ECOC9300130D.html

This defines what can (and therefore what cannot) go into bread/flour "de Tradition".

Quote:
Art. 2. - Peuvent seuls être mis en vente ou vendus sous la dénomination de: <<pain de tradition française>>, <<pain traditionnel français>>, <<pain traditionnel de France>> ou sous une dénomination combinant ces termes les pains, quelle que soit leur forme, n'ayant subi aucun traitement de surgélation au cours de leur élaboration, ne contenant aucun additif et résultant de la cuisson d'une pâte qui présente les caractéristiques suivantes:

1o Etre composée exclusivement d'un mélange de farines panifiables de blé, d'eau potable et de sel de cuisine;

2o Etre fermentée à l'aide de levure de panification (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) et de levain, au sens de l'article 4 du présent décret, ou de l'un seulement de ces agents de fermentation alcoolique panaire;

3o Eventuellement, contenir, par rapport au poids total de farine mise en oeuvre, une proportion maximale de: a) 2 p. 100 de farine de fèves; b) 0,5 p. 100 de farine de soja; c) 0,3 p. 100 de farine de malt de blé.

...

Art. 4. - Le levain est une pâte composée de farine de blé et de seigle, ou de l'un seulement de ces deux ingrédients, d'eau potable, éventuellement additionnée de sel, et soumise à une fermentation naturelle acidifiante, dont la fonction est d'assurer la levée de la pâte. Le levain renferme une micro-flore acidifiante constituée essentiellement de bactéries lactiques et de levures. Toutefois, l'addition de levure de panification (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) est admise dans la pâte destinée à la dernière phase du pétrissage, à la dose maximale de 0,2 p. 100 par rapport au poids de farine mise ne oeuvre à ce stade. Le levain peut faire l'objet d'une déshydratation sous réserve que le levain déshydraté contienne une flore vivante de bactéries de l'ordre d'un milliard de bactéries alimentaires et d'un à dix millions de levures par gramme. Après réhydratation, et, éventuellement, addition de levure de panification (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) dans les conditions prévues à l'alinéa précédent, il doit être capable d'assurer une levée correcte du pâton. Le levain peut faire l'objet d'un ensemencement de micro-organismes autorisés par arrêté du ministre de l'agriculture et du ministre chargé de la consommation, pris après avis de la commission de technologie alimentaire créée par le décret no 89-530 du 28 juillet 1989 portant création de la commission de technologie alimentaire.

There's a minor wording change later, http://admi.net/jo/19971008/ECOC9700146D.html but essentially, that is IT.

So, it IS allowed to contain those specified proportions of bean flour (Calvel turns in his grave), soya flour and malted wheat. And the levain can include rye and/or wheat. And be dehydrated. And a little commercial yeast can be used with "levain".

Gluten counts as "wheat" so its OK.

BUT as I said above/previously, Vitamin C is NOT allowed within the 'de Tradition' specification. Unless someone is saying that Vitamin C is a natural part of wheat (like gluten) and therefore permitted... And similarly, Barley is not allowed. Even malted.

Vit C and Malted Barley count as prohibited addives...

 

The important thing to recognise is that this specification of "Tradition" isn't a matter of professional agreement, or a marketing branding -- the specification is a matter of French Law.

 

 

I noted that you said that Bouabsa uses a flour with added gluten, and I wonder if he would reveal what its ultimate protein content was?

Janedo's picture
Janedo

When I first read that, a while back, I thought it meant ONLY flour, not flour with other "flour" things in it. So, bakers use flour with "flour" additives that help the bread spring up and be light, while us at home, use simpler flours. I as an organic flour user, and unable to find malt or malted flour, just make do. This said, the baguette I make at home has better taste than even the BEST bakery baguette and I'm not the only one to say that. Organic flour, when the proper techniques are used, makes better tasting bread, at least here in France, and from all the different breads I have eaten and baked, nobody can change my mind about that. So, the fun is trying to get the esthetic aspect of a baguette like Anis', not necessarily the taste!

I may try and order the kind of flour the bakers use for fun, but it won't be organic and so it would really just be to compare. My dad is bringing me some North American flour in a few weeks.

As for the gluten content in Anis's flour, it can't be over 12% from the feel of it. I've worked with his dough and it doesn't handle any differently than mine at 11%, no gluten added.

Here's his flour, but no word on the gluten content. 

http://www.moulinsbourgeois.com/millesime2.html

Check out the "actualités", they talk about the baguette winners.

Jane 

 

 

Richelle's picture
Richelle

As soon as the organic berries I ordered this week have arrived, I'll soak and sprout some (mix of wheat, rye and spelt) and make you some malt. I'll try to keep the temperature of the oven low, so it maintains some of its diastatic qualities as well, but taste-wise I prefer a darker roasted berry...'I'll send you two varieties, so you can try for yourself!

Richelle

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Oh Richelle! That is so nice of you! I saw a web site that explains how to do it, but with my hectic life these days, sprouting berries and drying and grinding them just isn't in the program.

I'll send you my address my e-mail.

Jane 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jane.

I have found with boules that tighter forming results in slower proofing, at least as measured by dough expansion.

Do you think that baguettes that are more tightly formed should be proofed longer? If you use the same amount of dough expansion as the guide for when to bake, would you get the same amount of oven spring?

For example: Suppose with a gentle, loose loaf forming, it takes 45 minutes for the loaf to expand to 1.5 times its original volume. Then, with tight loaf forming, might it take, say, 60 minutes to reach 1.5 times the original volume? If yes, then would you expect the two loaves to have equal oven spring? Equally open crumb?

Hmmm ... I think we need to keep the distinction between "tight" forming and rough handling clear. The best results I have had with baguettes have been with tight forming but gentle handling. I think this is what is meant by "an iron hand in a velvet glove."


David

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

At least from my experience, a loosely formed loaf is more vulnerable to overproofing than a tight one. I can't tell whether or not that's an indication that a tightely shaped loaf should be proofed longer than a loosely formed one.

Another factor I've been wondering about, is if the size or weight of the loaf has any impact on final proofing times. Should a thin, slender baguette of 200 gr. be proofed just as long as a bigger 325 gr. baguette? 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

David,

I dare say not, because for one, those times that you posted in your first Bouabsa recipe are the right ones... that's what he does. And two, I let them rise a little longer and regret it because they didn't actually get as much oven spring as usual. Anis stated the first time I was there that the rise comes from the oven. I had said that I didn't find them very risen and that's when he made that comment. BUT this said, you'll just have to try and tell me what you think!

Hans,

I am unfortunately a VERY unscientific person. I hate measuring (I only do it for the making of the dough) and I never weigh the dough, I just cut what looks good to me. And I admit that I don't set a timer... I just watch them and then never compare with the last batch and timing. I don't even set a timer for the baking. I just check when it seems that the times should be up. So, hopefully David can answer that question. 

Jane 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Hans.

I can't answer your question. There are so many factors that influence proofing time. I'm not even sure the dough weight is one of the important ones. Do you have an opinion on this?


David

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

I don't really know myself either.

However, I guess the weight factor becomes more important when you retard dough or the shaped loaves. A smaller loaf or batch of dough will react quicker to changes in ambient temperature than a large one, thereby altering proofing times.

A point that is emphasized by Hamelman, is that you should degas dough a couple of times during the first few hours after you've put it into the retarder. I've never done this for my small batches of dough, but I can see that this becomes increasingly more important as the batches become larger (as it takes longer time to slow down the yeasties).

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

David,

 

Thanks for the explaination of ascorbic acid.  It's used to reinforce the gluten structure of the bread dough.  If bread dough is going to go through a long cool fermentation in a retarder, then a bit of ascorbic acid in the dough is useful.  I have seen the outcome of bread dough that went through a long cool fermentation without any ascorbic acid in the flour (tradional/natural flour), and I must say the bread dough looked extremely wrinkled before going into the oven. If the bread dough has levain in it, then ascorbic acid is not necessary.

I have seen malt (diastatic) improved the color of the crust dramatically, but one has to be careful about how much to use in the bread dough.

 

Jane,

 

Thanks for the explaination.  It makes me wonder if he really likes this flour, or if he prefers to use another flour brand or type.  Oh well.  A French baker once told me that if the quality of a flour is really really good, then a preferment is not really necessary.