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Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

(From the blog)

It's been a short while since I've updated the blog so here's the latest which was actually made last weekend, June 14th.

This time around, I went with a round bread to see how that would work. Since I still don't have a banneton, I made do with a rice-flour coated, couche-lined sieve. By using a sieve, as opposed to just a bowl, I figured it would allow for some air transfer and keep the couche/canvas from getting damp and tacky. It pretty much worked, although it was still a bit tacky and pulled the dough ball a little when I transfered it to the baking sheet. I did not use the tiles this time, just to see how it would turn out and also to help conserve a certain amount of energy heating them for 45 minutes ahead of time (besides, it was already a pretty hot day, no sense heating up the kitchen even more).

The worry here was that the ball of dough would collapse and turn into a giant disk and not a proper "boule" or ball. Well, it did a bit of both. The soft dough rather spread out once it was on the baking sheet but perked up a bit and rose up during the initial time in the oven. Yes, I'm still guessing what the oven temp actually is, have not yet found a reasonably priced decent oven thermometer.

So again spending the entire time watching the progress and giving the bread a spin halfway through the cooking time, here's the result. (Click pics to enlarge.)

 Round loaf - Click to embiggen

 Round loaf crumb - Click to embiggen

So, let's critique.

The crust this time is thinner which meets with Mark's approval. As per the 'quick" version of the recipe, the dough proofed for only 2.5 hrs so it's not very sour - not necessarily a bad thing. The slashing, well... that definitely needs work still. After I made the first cut, the dough ball rather lost it's firmness and spread out a fair bit so I was a little reluctant to slash too heavily for the other three cuts. The crust looks rather lumpy/crater-ish and not very tight and smooth. I don't know what causes that or how to remedy it. Yet. It could likely have stood a slightly longer baking time to get a bit less... anemic looking.

The crumb is light, not chewy, again this has received good reviews from the white sliced bread fan. In fact I have to admit that there was another loaf, a batard, that never got a chance to get photographed as it vanished pretty darn fast. That one got a brushing with butter as soon as it came out of the oven so the crust there was even more like packaged bread. It was tasty but the butter did not all soak in, so the loaf was a little oily to handle. Since it vanished in about a day, I guess it wasn't a big issue. ;)

So again, we have a successful bake (i.e. nothing burned or flattened like a pancake) with a few minor adjustments to look into:

1) How to keep the boule from flattening too much both before and with the slashing
2) What's the deal with the lumpy crust and why isn't it a nice, tight outside?
3) Considering both points #1 and #2, would a tighter crust translate into a chewier crust? Hmmm..

More rounds to go before these issues are settled.

proth5's picture
proth5

Anyone old enough to remember those guys?

Poor Goofus could never do anything right and Gallant - well, he was just annoying.

Anyway, I just pulled the weekly baguettes from the oven and they reminded me of those guys. In the spirit of learning/teaching I'd like to use poor Goofus to illustrate something.

I've posted a picture here:  http://i264.photobucket.com/albums/ii183/proth5/GoofusandGallant.jpg

I'm not going to do a detailed critique of the numerous, numerous flaws in these baguettes (nor am I really asking for comment other on the topic - I am my own worst critic), but I will focus on their shapes as pulled from the oven.

Gallant - the one on the top- of the picture has some nice symmetry and in general a pleasing shape.

Poor old Goofus has a slash that didn't open well and on the right (your right as you look at the picture) is somewhat scraggly and mis-shapen.  Before I put them in the oven I could have predicted that fate.  How?

My hands, my dough, but on Goofus, I failed to remove sufficient flour from the dough prior to shaping and to completely clear the bench of flour (residual from the loaf and just got a tiny bit sloppy with clearing the bench - it's hot - the oven is at 500F - oh, excuses, excuses...).  When I did the final shaping on Goofus, I had the "ball bearing" effect of the flour - the dough would not roll properly - it slid around on the bench.  I worked at it to get an even shape (This was the only difference in the shaping.  Consistency may be the bugaboo of little minds, but it is what I do best.)but all was lost.  Even though it looked even as I laid it on the couche, it was destined to have a flaw.  Same with the left side.  The extra flour caused an improper seal and you can see a distinct spiral.  It looked ok as dough, but it was destined to bake poorly.  I pulled myself together to shape Gallant.

To avoid having to be sent back to "the place" - I will admit that I did a few things right.  I particularly like Gallant's grigne - which are not seen to best advantage in this shot.

So big problems from little mistakes grow... It pays to pay attention to the details.

Happy Baking!

holds99's picture
holds99

This is my latest attempt at Maggie Glezer's Acme baguette recipe.  I used scrap dough and poolish as she specifies and the taste was very good.  I used K.A. First Clear flour for the scrap dough and K.A. French Style flour for the poolish and dough.  Still needs work on shaping technique. 

 Dough divided for 2 baguettes and 1 batard after bulk fermentationGlezer's Acme baguette recipe dough divided:

Dough divided for 2 baguettes and 1 batard after bulk fermentation

 

 Primary shapingGlezer's Acme baguette recipe primary shaping:

Primary shaping

 Final shapingGlezer's Acme baguette recipe final shaping:

Final shaping

 2 baguettes, 1 batardGlezer's Acme baguette recipe 2 baguettes and a batard:

2 baguettes, 1 batard

Glezer's Acme baguette recipe 2 baguettes and a batardGlezer's Acme baguette recipe 2 baguettes and a batard

sandrasfibre's picture
sandrasfibre

Hello.  what is ascorbic acid?  what does it do?  where do you get it?  thank you

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hamelman's Poolish Baguettes with pate fermente


Hamelman's Poolish Baguettes with pate fermente


Hamelman's Poolish Baguettes with pate fermente crumb


Hamelman's Poolish Baguettes with pate fermente crumb 

 

These baguettes were made with Hamelman's formula for Poolish Baguettes in "Bread." I used Guisto's Baker's Choice flour for the poolish and the final dough. I made a half recipe. My only modification in ingredients was to throw in about 4 oz of pate fermente - dough left over from the last batch of baguettes I made a couple of days ago.

I also modified Hamelman's baking method in that I preheated the oven to 500F. After loading the loaves and pouring boiling water in the skillet, I turned the oven down to 460F. I baked 20 minutes then left the loaves in the turned off oven with the door ajar for 10 minutes more. (See my previous blog entry for details of Hamelman's method of steaming the oven.)

I got satisfactory oven spring, but it might have been better if I had baked 15 minutes sooner. As it was, these proofed for about 60 minutes. I wonder if the cuts would have opened up more also.

Other than the paltry bloom, these were the best (traditional) baguettes I've made to date. They "sang" while cooling. The crust was perfectly crackly, which thrilled me. The crumb was more open than most baguettes I've made. Not as open as I'd have liked, but I'm getting there. The taste was as good as any baguette I've tasted. I wonder if the pate fermente, as little as it was, added a depth of flavor.

I think I am going to stick with this formula for a while. I'm going to stick with this oven temperature and steaming method. I expect to try different flours and tweak the hydration level and the proofing some.

Now, I've got to go deal with 7 freshly baked baguettes.

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

SF Sourdough baguettes

SF Sourdough baguettes

SF Sourdough baguettes crumb

SF Sourdough baguettes crumb 

These baguettes were made with the same dough I have described in http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7446/reinhart039s-san-francisco-sourdough-quotcrust-amp-crumbquot-some-new-variations.

I have been trying various formulas and techniques to make baguettes that have "classic" crust, crumb and taste. This is not them, of course, but I have also wanted to see if the pain de compagne dough, which has such a wonderful taste in a boule, would also make a good baguette. Well, the crumb structure and the taste are essentially identical to the boule. The baguette just has proportionately more crust.

The baguettes were scaled to about 10 oz. I preshaped them according to Hamelman's technique in "Bread," let them rest for 10-15 minutes, then formed the baguettes. I should have let them rest longer. The dough was very elastic. I attempted to be as gentle as possible in handling the dough. I proofed them for about 45-50 minutes only, until they were just swelled a bit, then baked with steam, starting at 500F and reducing the oven to 460F after 10 minutes. The total bake time was 25 minutes. They rested in the turned off oven with the door ajar for 10 minutes more.

 

The combination of the stingy proofing and the hot oven resulted in enormous oven spring. The bloom practically obliterated my cuts. For this "rustic" baguette, I'm not unhappy with the effect.

A word about how I steamed the oven: Hamelman's suggested method of oven steaming for the home baker was used. The oven was preheated with a pizza stone on the middle shelf and a loaf pan and a cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf. Just before spraying the loaves with water and scoring them, I placed about a cup of ice cubes in the loaf pan. Just after loading the loaves, I poured about a cup of boiling water into the skillet. The door was opened briefly at 10 minutes to remove the loaf pan and skillet. I did not spray water into the oven. 

David 

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

[DELETED BY AUTHOR]

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

What follows is a case study of "Its beautiful!  Let's change it!"

When we moved into our present house in August 2007, one of the things that we especially liked about it was the large, open kitchen with lots of cabinet space and room to maneuver.  No more tripping over each other, as in the cramped kitchen of the previous house; no more trying to find a place to set something down that wasn't already occupied by something else.  It was pretty typical of houses that were built in this area in the mid-1990's; lots of honey-oak cabinetry, formica counter tops, ceramic tile backsplashes, etc. 

We have, over the years, been collecting ideas of things we would like to have in our kitchen.  There was the "If money was no object" list and there was the "Get real!" list.  One of the things that we fell in love with a few years ago was soapstone for counter tops.  I don't recall where or how we first became aware of it, but I do remember that after seeing it used (and still usable) in a Shaker village built in the mid-1800s we figured that durability wasn't going to be a problem.  I'll spare you the rationalization / sales pitch as to why we chose it over other options.  Let's just say we like it.  In looking at the somewhat worn Formica counter tops that were in the house, we decided that this might just be the time and place to take the plunge. 

Once the decision about counter tops was made, several other things followed in rapid progression.  For instance, to take out the existing countertops, the existing backsplash had to be removed.  Besides, white ceramic tile wouldn't have complement the new soapstone counters.  To get all of the backsplash out, the existing microwave oven had to be pulled.  Said microwave not only functioned poorly, it's vent fan recirculated cooking odors back into the house instead of venting outdoors.  Oh, and the dinged up, surface-mounted porcelain sink?  That had to go.  While they're messing with the plumbing anyway, let's get a new disposal, too.  To quote the King of Siam: "Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."

So, by choosing new counter tops, we got:

- new counter tops (natch)

- new backsplash

- new microwave, vented outdoors

- new undermount sink

- new faucet

- new disposal

- new switches and outlets (to coordinate with new backsplash)

- new pulls for the drawers and cabinets

- new under-cabinet lights

Talk about unforeseen consequences!

The steam-injection oven remains on the "If money were no object" list.  We decided that we could live with the existing white refrigerator, even though all of the other appliances are black.

Here is how things looked at the outset:

Before

Another "before" view:

More before

The first thing to go was the backsplash and counter tops.  Not having a place to set things down for a couple of weeks was an adjustment we never quite got used to:

Tear out

The day after the wrecking crew tore out the backsplash and counters, another individual came to take the final measurements and make the templates that the stone fabricator would need to cut the raw slabs into the finished pieces for the counter tops.

A crew came back to install the wiring for the puck lights underneath the upper cabinets while the stone fabricator was doing his thing.  Under-cabinet lighting wasn't something that had been on either list but after seeing how much darker the slate tiles were going to be, compared to the previous white ceramic tiles, we decided that it would be a good thing to have. 

And then came the day that the new counters arrived:

They're here!

The installer in the above picture is finishing a seam between two sections of counter top.  Note that he has already installed the under-mount sink.

The final step for installing the counter tops was the application of a coat of mineral oil.  When soapstone is oiled, it darkens dramatically.  Since the stone isn't porous, I'm not sure exactly why it works.  The closest approximation I can think of is the difference between dry pavement and wet pavement, particularly when driving at night, in the sense that the oil fills in microscopic irregularities on the stone's surface in much the same way that rain fills in the irregularities of the pavement's surface, making it look much darker.  Or maybe I'm the one that's all wet.  Anyway, oiling is not required.  It does nothing for the stone, other than change its appearance.  My wife thinks that she will probably not oil our counters with any frequency, if at all.  She prefers the "dry" look.  Here's a picture that shows part of the stone oiled and part of it dry:

Oiled vs. dry stone

Over the next couple of days, the slate tile backsplash was installed, grouted and sealed.  You can also see two of the puck lights under the upper cabinets, along with the new faucet at the sink and the new pulls on the cabinets and drawers in this shot:

Slate backsplash

And a couple of more shots showing the finished work:

Finished!

Finished!

Additional photos, if you are interested, are located at http://s94.photobucket.com/albums/l111/pemccool/Kitchen/.  The before and after order is scrambled; Photobucket seems to adhere to the LIFO approach for inventorying multiple uploads.  If any of you know how to reshuffle the order of the photos in a Photobucket album, please tell me how.

We had dithered about whether or not we should refinish the cabinets, eventually defaulting to a wait and see approach.  Now that everything is in, we are content to keep them as they are.

We are very satisfied with how things have turned out, even though some of the et ceteras drove the price up higher than my informal initial estimate.  We expect to be using, and liking, this kitchen for a long, long time.

Bottom line?  "It's beautiful!  Don't change a thing!"

Janedo's picture
Janedo

What makes a great baguette? Well, first of all, what's a baguette? It's a post-war, "we're sick of tough pain au levain, we want what the American's have", loaf of very light, white bread. It's made with yeast, very white flour that is very often, believe it or not, a mix of French soft and American hard wheat. Most French bakeries "cheat" and use white flour with stuff in it like ascorbic acid which produces an even light loaf. The baguette "tradition" is the no-cheat version, made with only flour, water, yeast and salt, no additives.

I'm not a huge fan of the baguette but it definitely has its uses. It makes great sandwiches, it sops up sauce very nicely and when it is very, very fresh, still warm out of the oven, it is quite heavenly!

But it's darn hard to find a really good one these days and no bakeries around where I live make a decent one.

It isn't that hard to make a baguette-style bread. There are loads of recipes, either straight method, on a poolish or even a sourdough version. But the question some of us have been asking is, How do you get those that really light, airy, big holed crumb? Is it the flour? The preferement? The fermentation? The kneading? The proofing? The baking? All of the above?

I have no clue really. I have ideas, suspicions. So, the only thing to do it TRY!

For my first test I simply took the recipe for Baguette Tradition from the web site of the INBP, L'Institut National de la Boulangerie Pâtisserie. I thought I'd try their very straight method before doing some of my own experiments.

Well, I was actually impressed with the results. They don't LOOK that beautiful, but they were very tasty and very light. They look sort of heavy but when you pick one up, it is much lighter than you imagine. The crumb is light and melt-in-your-mouthish. The crust is crackly.

I used organic T55, tap water, Guérande salt and yeast.

Here's the recipe:

Poolish: 150g T55 flour, 150g water, 2 pinches yeast - 15 hr ferment

Dough: poolish, 300g T55 flour, 140g water, 8g salt, 1tsp yeast

The recipe called for fresh yeast and since I forgot to take it out of the freezer, I guessed on the regular yeast.

There is no autolyse. 10 min on first speed, 3 min on second (that's what the recipe says!)

30 min rise, fold, 30 min. Mise en couche oblong shape. 30 min rest, form 3 baguettes, proof 1 hr.

Incisions then 20 min bake with a medium steam at 250°C.

Baguette N°1

Baguette N°1 crumb

So, I let the baguettes proof until I found they were nicely risen and I could see the air pockets under the "skin". I sliced quite deeply, but at baking they didn't get that much spring which I found strange. I followed the instructions and baked at 250°C but wondered if a lower temp wouldn't have been better.

I think the basic recipe is definitely a good one and I'm going to try again changing the variables to see what I can get out of it. Longer/shorter proofing, longer mixing (I read in a French site that baguettes need "agressive kneeding) Any suggestions are welcome! 

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I had occasion to try several new things last weekend: Rose Levy Berenbaum's recipe for "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye Bread, one of my recently acquired bannetons from SFBI, and the Pampered Chef equivalent of a La Cloche (which has been sitting around unused for years).  This also marked the second time that I have made bread on the new soapstone countertops that were recently installed.

The recipe comes from RLB's "The Bread Bible".  The bread contains 3.3 oz of rye flour, vs. 8.5 oz of bread flour, so it is scarcely any more sticky than a wheat dough would be.  And with 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds, rye isn't the dominant flavor.  The bread begins with a yeasted sponge, which is allowed to ferment 1-4 hours.  It eventually bubbles through a flour layer that is placed on top of the sponge:

Fermented sponge 

Once the sponge has fermented, the flour mixture, oil and salt are stirred in.  The dough is then kneaded and left to ferment under an overturned bowl for a 20-minute rest:

Resting dough

After the dough has rested, it is kneaded again and then allowed to rise until it is doubled.  At that point, it is given a letter fold, then returned to the bowl until it doubles again.  After the second rise, the dough is flattened slightly and then shaped into a ball and allowed to rise until it has doubled.  Ms. Levy recommends that the final rise after shaping occur in a covered bowl.  I opted to use a fabric-lined banneton, dusted with rice flour, covering the exposed surface with plastic wrap to keep it from drying.

Ms. Levy suggests baking either on a baking sheet with steam, or in a cloche.  In both cases, she recommends having a baking stone in the oven as it preheats, then setting either the baking sheet or the (also preheated) cloche on the baking stone.  It seemed like overkill, but I followed the instructions as given, using the cloche.  The risen loaf was tipped out onto parchment paper, slashed, then placed in the cloche and covered.  I'll need to practice the technique a bit.  I was a bit gun-shy about burning myself on either the cloche base or its lid, so I wasn't as gentle with placing the loaf as I should have been.  It deflated slightly but recovered most of the loss with oven spring.

Based on the directions, I pulled the cover from the cloche about 10 minutes before the estimated completion of the baking time, expecting that it would finish browning during those last few minutes.  Instead, I saw that the loaf was already well-browned.  So, I stuck a thermometer in it, which quickly registered 210F.  At that point I declared it done and placed it on the rack to cool.  Here's how it looked:

Cooling rye bread

And a shot of the crumb, taken the next morning:

Crumb of Levy's rye

More of the color comes from the malt syrup in the recipe than from the whole rye flour that I used.  The crumb is firm and moist, the crust thin and chewy.  It makes a mean ham and Swiss sandwich. While I like caraway in a rye bread, the amount in this bread is more than I would use for my tastes.  Next time I make it, I will either cut back on the caraway, or substitute fennel or dill, which will be more to my liking. 

Thank you, RLB.  This is good stuff!

Paul

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