I love baguettes. I love them for the challenge but even more for the complexity of flavor that can be developed. My two favorites are Hamelman's poolish baguette and Sam Fromartz's Parisian baguette that gains so much from the addition of just a small amount of whole wheat flour and sourdough.
So having drooled over first DonD's blog on his attempt to marry his two personal favorites, and then having to tie a bib around my neck after reading (and seeing!) David's attempt at Don's baguettes, there was no drool left in me and nothing to do but try these to see what they would deliver in taste.
I ended up doing two bakes over the course of a week. I wasn't quite satisfied with the results of the first (I'll get to that), so I tweaked things a bit and ... well, we'll get to that also.
AP Flour 450g
Medium rye 50g
Yeast 3.5g instant dry
On my first bake, during the final dough mix I went for a slightly longer mixing period - 4 minutes on speed 1 and another 5 minutes on speed 2 (my little Hamilton Beach would have to work a very long time to overmix dough). I also opted to do 3 folds at 45 minute intervals during the 3 hour bulk fermentation, having read David's account of the amount of rise he got during the overnight retardation.
The results were ok, I think the crumb was relatively open and my cuts opened enough to allow additional rise.
But for my taste I thought the flavor showed a little too much of the rye. In any event, two baguettes can be consumed quickly, so I had sufficient reason to repeat the experiment with a few changes.
In bake #2 I made two changes to the formula - one intentionally and one, well, not, along with one procedural change. I reduced the percentage of rye to 6%, so in my case that meant adding only 30g of rye instead of the 50g called for. However, in my enthusiasm, I neglected to increase my AP (Sir Galahad) by 20g. This I realized, of course, after I had mixed the dough and autolysed it in the refrigerator.
Ok, so now I'm working with a 78% hydrated dough which would normally cause me to break out in a cold sweat; however, one of the beautiful aspects of this bread is that because the dough is shaped after an overnight retardation, it is much, much easier to handle and score than a 78% hydration dough mixed, proofed and shaped at room temperature. (Frankly, I'm not sure I'd even attempt to score such a highly hydrated dough under normal circumstances).
Procedurally, I decided to do my initial mix in the morning. I then autolysed the dough for 6 hours in the refrigerator instead of overnight. (Hey, one person's overnight might be only 6 hours, who's to say?). This allowed me to do the final dough mix in late afternoon, and to put the finished dough to bed for the night just ahead of me.
Next morning I divided the dough, bench rested for an hour, shaped and did final proofing for 45 minutes, and the finished product was out of the oven by 10:30am - a little more than 24 hours from the initial dough mix.
Anyhow, here are the results of bake #2.
I'm more pleased with the second bake, both in terms of appearance and flavor. The rye still comes through, but it is not quite as pronounced. Interestingly, the second bake tasted sweeter to me than the first, although both bakes came out well caramelized. So, bottom line, good taste, good crunch, good crumb!
And I now have three favorite baguettes thanks to dmsnyder à la DonD.
Edit: (Tip o' the hat to Andy) - I forgot to mention that I withheld 50g of water from the autolyse which I then incorporated along with the salt and yeast during the final dough mix the next day. DonD and ananda had a long discussion about this technique which can be found here. The cold dough (which has developed some gluten structure) does not easily accept additional water, but in the 4 minutes I mixed on speed 1 it pretty well incorporated it).