The Fresh Loaf

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Baguettes

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localfruitandveg's picture
localfruitandveg

Baguettes

I recently made some baguettes, but, like some of the other times I made it, I never really got the large holes that really make baguettes infamous.  The bread tasted amazing, but like the ciabatta, I like it when there are these huge holes that are filling the inside. Any ideas as to how I can better my chances next time?  Is the key to have more moisture in the dough?  Is it just not wet enough? Or am I degassing it too much when I shape it? I'm sick of it turning out like just regular bread.  (small tiny holes)  Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Thanks everyone!!

 

Localfruitandveg 

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

you might be stress the dough a little much so there is no large open crumb.  Try this... cut a baguette in half, length wise & look at the crumb closely.  I am assuming there are more white spots than the supposedly creamy white flash??  If so, you had been too rough with the dough, kneading or shaping.

Do you use machine or hand mix?  If machine, try to do a loaf by hand, while kneading look out for th smoothness of the dough & the taring of the dough so you will know what to lookout for... If you do hand mixing, you will want to lighten up your keading force a bit, "iron fist, velvet glove."  It's tough.. I know..

Also... if the dough has higher hydration level, you don't need to knead as much.  Hydrate the flour, let sit for 5 min, bring the dough to smooth ball, then let rise, punch & fold, 2nd rise, scale, shape, bench rest for 20 min, then bake.

So.. the question is.. what is your formula, how you make it, poolish or not, what's the hydration level, kneading time & etc.. it's a trial & error... it takes time and soon you will find your way around it.  Also, if there is a local cooking school that offer bread class, take one & asking questions in class or after class... most of the instructors will be more than happy to answer them for you.

localfruitandveg's picture
localfruitandveg

Thank you so much!! I appreciate you getting back to me so fast!  I do it all by hand, kinda feel it's the only way, any other way is cheating. (The mixer does have its place)  I do exactly as you say: give it 2 rises, scale, shape, then bench it for about 20 or so.  I think it might be in the handling.  I do use a poolish, and it might be the incorporation of that that is "forcing" me to work it a bit too much.  And it might be that I over shape it.  All in all, it's possible I'm touching the dough more often than is required.  (can't help myself, I'm addicted to the touch and feel of it!) HA!

 I'll try and make sure I "give it it's space" next time, and maybe play with the hydration levels a bit.  

 If you come up with anything else, gimme a post!

 Thanks again sooo much!!!

 Localfruitandveg 

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

no problem!  Since you are using poolish, resist the play w/ it too much.  I found that with poolish, after you mix the poolish & the rest of the ingredients, just mix until there is no dry or wet spot, then let it sit covered for about 5 - 10 mintues, then begin your kneading.  This way, you gave you poolish a chance to work & allow the rest of the ingredients to mangle w/ the poolish.  Also, you dough will come together VERY quickly so don't work it too much.  As long the dough comes smooth & pass the panel test*, just walk away & let it rise.  Each rising time should be about 45 min or so.  When you do the punch & fold, don't PUNCH, just lightly pat out the large air bubbles & fold in third, then cover again.

Good luck! You can do it!

 

* cut a small corner of the dough & scratch out thin, as long you can see through & not taring apart, then the dough is done.

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

I completely agree on the short rest after all ingredients are combined and the flour properly hydrated! It's incredible how well the dough comes together after a brief rest like this.

One thing that you might shed some light upon for me, is regarding the window pane test. I think I've read in Hamelman's "Bread" that if your dough passes the window pane test after the initial mixing/kneading, it is in fact overmixed. That is, if you're doing a couple of stretch and folds during fermentation. I think the philosophy behind the stretch and folds is, not only to slightly degas the dough, but also build up dough strength. Thus, to reach perfect consistency and strength when it's time for dividing and shaping, you want your dough to be not completely developed after the initial mixing, as the folding will further strengthen your dough.

I could be awfully wrong, so perhaps someone else could chime in on this point?

Personally, I believe I tend to undermix/underknead the dough at first, leaving it quite loose in consistency. After one or two folds, however, it comes together like you wouldn't believe! I'm still stunned by the effect of stretch and fold on a piece of dough.

Hans Joakim

localfruitandveg's picture
localfruitandveg

I'm continually impressed by the science of everything!  Everything comes down to time and temperature, and patience.  The latter being the hardest part!!  

I appreciate so much the time you guys are taking to help me out, I've learned so much already.  What better way to learn than from fellow bakers who have learned as they went too.  I think you guys are absolutely right, I need to let it do its thing.  Hans thats a good point too about letting the dough strengthen over the fermentation process.  I've never heard that, and if that's the case, I'm REALLY over doing it.  It might even be 3 times as strong as it's suppose to be.  I usually don't think its ready for it's initial rise till it reaches the window pane test.  Wowzah!!

Again, my thanks to you both. It's good to have a Goddess and a Hans to lean on!!! I'll let you guys know how it goes!

 Localfruitandveg 

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

ok.. I was taught on Gisslen's Professional Baking & this is what I know.. window panel test is merely a tool for new bakers as a test to know if the dough has reach the proper gulten development.  Once you are familiar w/ the texture of the dough, you won't need the test anymore.  See the theory behind it was, if the gluten is properly developed, it is stratchy & will not break easily.  The old time chefs often said that you should be able to read newspaper w/ it, because the gluten is strong & can be stratch thin (think Phyllo dough).  Now, if you over knead the dough, you will know! (1) your dough will turn sticky again, (2) the window panel test will not work, it will allow your to stratch it but will soon break & you will be able to see some tight spots in the dough as well. 

Now.. this test will hold true as long there is no grains (no whole wheat or other grains), since grain cut into the gluten, shorten it (henece the tight crumb), the window panel test is hard to achieve (thanks for the correction).

Now, for me, personally, as long I reach the proper texture during the kneading time, I have no problem w/ shaping, handling, or crumb (no tight crumb or uneven crumb colors).  Undermixed dough will still make a good loaf of bread, but the texture will be somewhat sticky during the making of it & the crumb will be somewhat loose.  And in some baguette formula, the crumb will also be seem a kind of 'wet.'

The purpose of punch & fold during the fermentation is too allow large air bubble to escape & re-destrubute the yeast, so you will have a more uniformed open crumb.  But remember.. you are NOT exactly punch it, especially for poolish, you are just PAT it lightly, then tri-fold.

Hope this helps.. :)

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

beg to differ on ability to get a windowpane with whole wheat, see link from Kippercat http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5205/yes-you-can-get-windowpane-whole-wheat-dough

I also have gotten windowpane with whole grain breads, though right now am struggling with rye retaining it's shape out of the brotform.

Betty

redcatgoddess's picture
redcatgoddess

I guess I ought to change it to "it's hard to achieve on WW breads" then... :)

Personally, I had only do windowpanel when I 1st started & had never done one on WW breads.  Was told at school that is hard toe achieve & nearly impossible.  However, on the other hand, I had never try one on high hydration bread.

My experience on Bannetons, heavy flour (half-half rice & bread flour).  Invert & just let it fall.  If you have try to wiggle it out of it, you don't have enough flour & the bread will not hold its shape as well.. in fact.. I had one went flat on me before and it was rather upseting..  anyhow, so I do EXTRA heavy on the flour & brush the excess away after the bread is safely out of the banneton.

holds99's picture
holds99

With baguettes you're getting into one of the real tests for a baker and an area where there's been great deal of discusson (and opinions) here on TFL along with many posts on the subject.  Let me say, in the way of a disclaimer, that I'm not an expert on making baguettes, despite the fact I've been trying to get through the gates of El Dorado for many years. 

One thing that I've found, in addition to high hydration dough, is that you also need to really develop and stretch the gluten in the dough to get the holes you desire.  Gluten development combined with high hydration is the process that produces good ciabatta results with the large holes and lovely crumb and crust.  If I may make a suggeston, I think Maggie Glezer's Acme baguette recipe would be an excellent place to start your baguette quest.

Don't know if you've seen Richard Bertinet's video on mixing dough, if not it's well worth watching.  He's mixing sweet dough in this video, but the same principal and technique applies to any dough.  After you see Bertinet in action you'll understand what I mean about gluten development.

 http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough

 Howard

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Sunday I had the experience of being disappointed with a baguette bake.  It was a dough with a poolish, I didn't get much ears or rise or a very open crumb.  However I had enough dough left over and in the 'fridge that I could bake two more.  This time I underproofed relative to the last bake, and made sure the oven was comfortably preheated to 500 F (an hour) and baked on a stone in the top of the oven with steam for 10 minutes, then down to the rack without steam for another 12 minutes at 450F.  I was much happier with the results.  This was an 80% hydration white flour, 11.5% protein. So, for me, the key wasn't the dough creation so much as the proofing and baking.  In the initial bake I didn't turn on the oven soon enough, so my loaves over-proofed and I panicked and put them in the oven when it had only preheated for about 20 minutes and only at 450F.

:-Paul

2nd bake ears

2nd bake ears

2nd bake crumb

2nd bake crumb

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Were you worried 80% hydration might run sideways?

Mini O

Pablo's picture
Pablo

slap and fold and a couche, things were under control.

:-Paul