The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need help with restaurant baguette production

johnpineapple's picture

Need help with restaurant baguette production

I run two restaurants. We bake bread for one restaurant and I would like to start making baguettes for the other. Due to time and space constraints and the availability of workers who commute by public ransportation we need to make a baguette that can be shaped and baked shortly after the baker arrives at 5:30 am to make room for the rest of the bread and be out of the oven by 11:30 or 12 noon. The baker leaves at 3pm.

 Can anyone who does this professionall suggest a time frame for making the dough the day before to bake the following morning? The dough needs to be made the day before between 9am-3pm then baked the following day by 7am.

 I have been experementing with a recipe which mixes dough with about 75% hydration with ice water, and rises overnight in the walk in. The following day it is turned out and shaped, couched, then baked. But my crumb is not open enough (maybe i'm over mixing) and the dough is hard to work with as it takes time to recover from handling because it is cold.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, johnpineapple.

Welcome to TFL!

I'm anything but a "professional" baker, but would suggest you try Anis Bouabsa's formula which is very much like the one you describe. I have not made baguettes in production quantities, of course, but what I (and others on TFL) have made using Bouabsa's technique are from a recipe scaled down from a commercial bakery formula.

Here is a link:

If you search for "baguettes" on TFL, you will find many approaches.


JIP's picture

I think any recipe that you can refrigerate overnight will do.  You can time it where you take it out all out once or stagger it throughout the day.  And with the overnight retarding you improve the flavor.

nbicomputers's picture

what equipment do you have


ovens with steam or with out?

proof boxes live or dead?

retarders and the amount of space available?

dough shapers sheaters dividers?

the more you tell the more i can help


johnpineapple's picture

60 quart Hobart (old skool with a clutch) 2 48" bakers pride ovens (one has the arched open front with the gas flame in the back, the other has a door.

I use a Home Depot sprayer with a wand like you would use for pesticide for water injection. I'll douse the oven with water in 1 qt squeeze bottles too. It does a pretty good job--I can spray a gallon of water into the two ovens in 5 minutes with the door closed almost all the way. It is far better than the hot pan in the oven method.

I use 8"-10" deep full size Cambros to proof the dough in the walk in (or out of the walk in for our ciabatta). I seperate the dough by about 18-20# per cambro. After cutting and shaping by hand I use canvas sheets for a couche on sheet pans, onto a rolling rack that is covered. Flip onto a large peel with semolina and into the oven.

No dough seperators, no sheeter, no live proof box. However our bakery is in the basement of the buliding in a room next to the furnace (and it is a large building) so winter time is easily 90 degrees down there.

I'm close. My baguettes are good but I can't live without them being great.

ericb's picture


It warms my heart to hear of a restaurant owner who cares about good bread. Many of the best restaurants in my city either out-source to an "artisan" bakery, or succumb to the ease and practicality of a spongy, tasteless white bread-like substance. 

There's a lot of talk around here about a Vermont Sourdough which allows you to proof the shaped loaves for up to 18 hours in a refrigerator and toss them straight into the oven. It's a delicious recipe, although I have yet to bake a loaf that has not been over-proofed.

Another one you might want to try is this Pain de Campagne recipe: It's one of my favorites, and I consistently get excellent results from it.

Even if you don't use either of these recipes, you might be able to modify your own to take advantage of the delayed fermentation method found in each. 

Quick note: 90 degrees seems awfully warm to me. From what I understand, 78 degrees is the magic number for fermentation. 

I'm sure you will find the advice you need at TFL. Good luck, and keep up the good work!