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sergio83's picture

I'm still tying to make baguettes and having a lot of fun doing it.  I thought I'd try Anis Bouabsa's recipe as described by David (dmsnyder) here on Jane's (janedo) blog/page/thread(?): After converting grams to ounces to cups, or something along those lines-- I describe my "process" there-- I ended up using 1-3/4 cups of ap flour, and 6 oz of water, plus the yeast and the salt.  The ghetto comes into play because I used the everyday Pillsbury AP flour instead of the fancy stuff (I spent all my money on KA bread and white whole wheat flour), add to that that I measure by volume (I looked at scales the other day, I'm working on it) and that I spent more than 21 hours-- actually, I'm not sure how long it spent in the fridge, just that it was a little more than the 21 hours, but not much more than a few hours more, if that.

I ran into some familiar problems.

I've been proofing, shaping into baguettes on the pan that I put into the oven, letting them rise and then baking them without moving them.  My "shaping" skills leave a lot to be desired, I think my problem has to do mostly with how I'm not good at putting flour on the countertop-- so far, i put too much on and instead of rolling it just slides aroung and i end up pulling out the ends-- next time, i just won't put flour on the countertop.

This time, I tried to "pre-shape" (or something like that) the loaves so I did the push-fold-turn-push-fold seal thingy I've seen on youtube-- actually, if I'm stubborn about making mistakes, I hold this to blame: and then I rolled it-- so basically I shaped the baguette.  Then after an hour I shaped it again-- well, first I stretched it of of the parchment paper which is stuck to (I'm thinking it might be a bad idea to let it rise in a steamy oven, which I would do so that I wouldn't have to put anything over it which would then stick, but since it's sticking and messing up anyway...)  So I tried to reshape it again and roll it out on a lot of flour but I more slid it around instead.  It was also very stretchy, so I had to cut it in half and made two "baguettes" instead of one.

I also tried putting a cookie sheet in the oven to warm up before putting the loaves on it. Not surprisingly I made a mess of that and when I tried to slide the loaves onto the hot cookie sheet they slid into each other so they have a soft spot on one side-- actually though, I got what I think was some oven spring out of it... Or that may just have been because I forgot to score the loaves :S.

Anyway, here are the results of my little comedy of errors:

I couldn't find my camera last night so by the time i did we'd finished off half of one loaf.

I'm pretty happy about the crumb, though it seems to be somewhat irregularly irregular.

I'd have been ever so happy if the whole thing had come out like the right half of the above cross section... actually it might have (I forgot to mention that when i went to slide it I noticed that the tip was off the end of the parchment sheet so I tucked it in so maybe that's why the bubbles are so little.

As far as taste goes, it's not terribly fantastic.  It might have to do with the flour's brand, that the flour wasn't terribly fresh, or that I'm still trying to figure out how to balance out the salt and on this occasion I tried to guess on the miserly side.

I used more than the cup of flour I'm fond of, so for my next trick, I'll try it with 1 cup of flour and i'll figure out the rest of the ratios.  I think I'll also buy some KA brand ap flour.  I'll do the 21 hour cold rise... as far as shaping goes, I could take it out of the fridge and shape on the parchment paper i'll bake it on... but I think i'll take it out of the fridge and let it rest as a ball since I don't know what "pre-shaping" is.  I will not, however, put it in a steamy oven-- I'll cover it with oiled cling wrap instead and then a damp cloth... uy, i think it's gonna stick-- anyway, let me look some stuff up before I try...


moxiemolly's picture

I have been having so much success with my new Peter Reinhart book, Artisan Breads Every Day. I have made the lean bread and the results are wonderful! Chewy and crusty and FULL of holes. Today I tried the baguettes and after watching many you tube videos figured out how to shape them. Here they are:




They are still hot but I hope they taste as good as they look! I will update with some crumb...


jombay's picture

I really enjoyed the loaves I made last time so I made a few more this weekend. These ones had a bulk fermentation time of about 40 hours. I'm really enjoying this new whole wheat starter. Has great flavour, crazy active and only a couple weeks old.

Shape, no grigne but still very good looking loaves.


Francine's picture

Has anyone on this forum used this scale?  The "My Weigh KD-8000 "Baker's Math" Scale"? I found this scale at the following web site   and thought to myself, "well how cool is that for those of us that are mathematically challenged."  Before I order it I wanted to check here first to see if any one has used one of these scales and if you have any problems with it?  Is there a better scale out there within the same price range?  Thank you for your input.




ehanner's picture

On another thread the matter of how things show up on others monitors came up and I thought I would shed some light on the subject for those who care about the way things look.

In general all operating systems (MS-Apple-Unix) are made to display a jpeg image to a standard. The OS has a calibration capability that is used by artists and those who care about rendering exact colors on various media like paper, film and a wide range of monitors. As a rule, so long as the image is of natural colors and not the super saturated bright ranges, they display accurately enough to not draw attention. Our brain is able to pick out an un natural flesh tone quickly. We accept a known flesh tone and white and black as a basis for true color. Everything else is assumed to be good if the white is white. Think about a photo of a bride in a white dress that rendered as light green while her face was a normal flesh tone. This is the daily battle for a wedding photographer. Multiple light sources, bright colored carpets and wall colors all effect the light as it bounces around the room. If you want to reproduce accurate colors, you must control the primary light. In the case of the wedding photog, the bride needs to be bathed in soft white light from a powerful flash, softened by a diffuser to eliminate sharp shadows. Our eyes will tell us instantly if the white fabric has an off tint, especially in the shadow areas. The flash needs to overpower the ceiling lights and bounce from the red carpet.

Shooting breads, we have a much wider range of acceptable tones since the only known true colors are whites and black. Look at the right side bar titled "Also On The Fresh Loaf". All the breads look pretty good but the top image of Peter Reinhart looks a little green to me. You see, it's much harder to get a flesh tone right.

Lighting and the settings on a digital camera play a large part in starting down the path of rendering an off color. For example, all cameras today have an auto white balance setting. The sensor measures the light source and adjusts the color saturation of certain colors depending on what it sees. Many cameras also have alternate white balance settings like "incandescent or tungsten and florescent". When you change to the florescent setting, the camera adjusts to eliminate the green hue that florescent bulbs give off and warm the image. Using incandescent settings in daylight would produce a warmer image.

The problem gets difficult when we have multiple light sources. For example, I have a florescent kitchen light fixture with daylight bulbs but I usually use the on camera flash for better rendering of the colors. It's a compromise I sometimes have to adjust for later in Photoshop. Daylight images with the sun out are the easiest because the colors are perfect with the daylight settings.

In the end, all you have control over is your own environment. You must adjust the lighting and camera settings to look right on YOUR monitor. If you think the image looks a little orange, try taking the picture using the incandescent white balance setting. If it looks a little cool(blue or green) try using the florescent setting. Idealy the best image is natural lighting in sun. But I know last night when I finished baking it was 2 AM lol.

I hope those who are interested in this sort of thing find this useful. If anyone has questions about all things photographic, please fire away and I'll try to help.


ADDED BY EDIT: I noticed that the images in the right side bar chage with every refreshment. So if you want to see the image of PR, frefresh a few times and I think it will rotate back.


ques2008's picture

David Snyder was kind enough to point me to Susan at the Wild Yeast.  I couldn't do his two recommendations because I have no mixer, so after lurking around Susan's web site, I thought I'd give her Norwich Sourdough a try.  It called for the use of a mixer, but I mixed the ingredients by hand.  This recipe is adapted from Hamelman's Vermont sourdough. 

Susan's instructions were easy to follow, and I followed her steps to the letter...well almost.  I overlooked a few things which may have contributed to the final product being less than perfect.  Entirely my fault.  But as a first attempt, I was tickled pink. 

Here's what came out of my oven last week:




I reduced Susan's recipe by half so that if I ended up with a fiasco, I wouldn't feel so guilty about wasting that much flour.  She said to shape into a loaf, but I was forced to form a ball instead because the dough was very wet.  It was difficult to handle; to my surprise, it still was unmanageable after a 12-hour fermentation/retardation in the fridge.  On hindsight, I should have remembered Susan's advice to hold back on the water.  Next time I'll add the water gradually and not in one fell swoop.

The taste was excellent.  The sourdough flavor was there all right, and I'm glad I gave my starter the TLC it deserved.  I started the culture on the 17th of December but deliberately left it in the fridge for a whole month before using it.  I had read some posts that sourdough novices won't taste the sour with their first bakes, but for this first attempt, I'm glad the flavor came out - firing on all cylinders!

Another mistake:  I didn't take out the pan holding the water for steam after 12 minutes as Susan instructed.  I left it there for all the 35 minutes and while I liked the color, I probably would have obtained a fuller, richer brown if I had taken the pan out.

So, if I were to produce a report card for this initial try, it would look like this:



The crumb had a chewy, dense texture.  I'm going to aim for a lighter crumb with more holes.

And this is where I ask TFL's sourdough experts for some help/advice:

a)  should the stretch and fold technique really replace the standard 10-minute kneading that I normally do for sweet rolls, yeasted breads and others?  My impression is that the folding and stretching should be done gently, but I stumbled upon Richard Bertinet's youtube here, and he was slapping that dough around.  If dough could talk, it would scream "ouch"!  Has anyone tried his method?  He recommends this for sweet dough. He teaches in Bath, England.  Here's the link to that video: Can his method be used for sourdough?


b)  holes:  are they the result of stretch and fold or high hydration, or both?  Stretch and fold - the way I understand it - is primarily to trap the gas, hence creating those holes.  Is this correct?  And then I read somewhere that it's the high water content that brings about more holes.  So the wetter the dough, the more holey the bread becomes?

I welcome your opinions!

Next time I make this recipe, I must:

a)  pour the water gradually

b)  take out the steam-generating pan after 12 minutes

c)  learn David's scoring techniques pronto!

Anything else to add to my to-do list?




OldWoodenSpoon's picture

Sometimes you just have to admit it:  you messed up.  My turn!  Again...

This time it was this sad loaf of Pugliese, sitting along side the boule of sourdough that is my redemption for the day's baking.  Here they are together.

Sourdough and Pugliese Together


Resuscitation:  I had another go at Rose Levy Berenbaum's "Brinna's Pugliese" Friday night, but this time I tried it with a 20% substitution of semolina flour.  I started the biga on Thursday night and let it ferment in a back room cupboard (about 60F) till Friday afternoon.  Then I put all my things in place (Ha!) and prepared the dough.  Everything was going along just fine until, about 90 minutes into the bulk fermentation I noticed...  nothing.  The dough had not grown at all.  I had it in a warm spot, so I left it for a while, until I realized the truth:  Except for the biga, I had not put in the yeast.  I had gotten distracted with rechecking the flours after the semolina substitution, and never even got the yeast out of the refer.  So much for "everything in place"!  Oh, no, now what?

I opened up the container and sprinkled the yeast (IDY) over the top, and folded it in.  I got out my board and did several folds to incorporate it as well as I could, but this dough was wet, slack, super-sticky and gloppy.  I had to continually wet my fingers to handle it at all without becoming part of it myself.  I managed to get the yeast worked into it, and got the dough back into the bowl where it immediately took off.  I could not believe it, but it nearly doubled in an hour.  I formed it into a boule as well as I could and turned it upside down into a very well floured banneton.  It filled the banneton and topped out in just another hour.

I could not resist compounding my errors.  The recipe says to bake on a sheet with steam added, but I had already baked the sourdough that follows below, and my La Cloche baker was in the oven already hot.  I was determined to make this baby jump after having made such a mess of it.  So I turned it out onto my superpeel ( a mistake), slashed it (another mistake since it was so fragile) and then "dropped" it off the superpeel into the preheated La Cloche (final insulting mistake for this poor loaf).  It collapsed.  It fell, flatter than one of my plain flour pancakes.  As soon as I saw it I realized my error(s), and knew they were all my own.  I put the cover on and baked it.

The good news about baking for a hobby is that, most of the time, you can eat your errors.  That will be the case with this pugliese.  As you can see in the crumb shot here:

Pugliese resuscitation crumb shot

this loaf only turned out poor, not really bad.  It forgave me more than I deserved here I think.  The La Cloche pumped some spring into it so that it has a little bit of loft and a nice tender crust.  The crumb is pretty dense for pugliese, but as you can see, there is a nice gelling of the starches, and it came out okay considering all the insults.  The flavor is quite excellent, and the semolina addition has really had a positive impact on the taste.  I will certainly be revisiting this loaf again with even more semolina in the dough.  In the end this loaf resuscitated me after my near apoplexy at the glaring chain of mistakes.

I'll learn from my mistakes and go on.  After all, in a couple of days nearly all the evidence will be gone anyway!


Redemption:  The sourdough loaf was actully baked first.  This is another of "my" sourdough loaves, but this time I was determined to proof more fully than last time.  This formula is one that I've been using to break in and get used to my new willow proofing baskets, and I'm quite happy with the results so far, considering the low 64% hydration.  Here is the loaf:

Straight Sourdough Loaf

As you can see, I'm still not doing a proper job of preparing the banneton before I put the loaf in for proofing.  I'm hoping that as I use them more, things will level off.  Right now there are sticky spots where lots of flour stays, and there are dry spots where very little to no flour at all will stay.  I'm currently layering on AP flour first, then white rice flour lightly on top of that.  The flour that remains on this loaf is dry in places, and pretty oily in others.  The oil is from the initial spraying of Baker's Joy flour/oil spray I used to "season" the banneton initially in accordance with the instructions.  Since then I've just been applying the flours, proofing the dough, then letting the bannetons dry out on the counter.  When dry, I brush them thoroughly and put them away till next time.

The crumb of this loaf is better than my last effort thanks to better proofing, and the loaf did not explode so much in the oven when baked.  It was baked in La Cloche for 15 minutes covered, with the temperature at 500F for the first 10, then down to 460F for the rest of the bake.  The cover came off at 15 mintues, effectively ending the steaming time at that point.  I let this loaf bake a little extra long because I was trying to darken the crust.  I got most of what I wanted, but ended up with an internal temperature of 209F when I finally gave in and declared it done.  It is not the least bit dry though, and the crumb is very tender.  Here is the shot:

Straight Sourdough Crumb Shot

There were really two loaves, and the crumb shot is of the "other" one.  The cut loaf is already gone, and the uncut loaf was gifted to a neighbor.  I'll just have to try again I guess.  Darn. :)


ehanner's picture

I've never had really good Greek bread. But, I have heard enough about how great it is that I've been interested in working on it for some time. When dsnyder and I were discussing the formula a while back, he let on he has a daughter-in-law from Greece and maybe she would help tune this up to a respectable loaf.

Here is Davids posting of the improved version, after experimenting with his DIL.

I followed Davids suggestions except for the mixing and folding. I mixed in my DLX after a 30 minute rest, for a total of 3 minutes, using the roller. Then I folded it 3 times in a bowl over the next 3 hours as it fermented. It was a silky smooth dough, very nice to handle. After dividing in two and pre shaping, I tightened the boules and placed them in linen lined baskets for proofing. It took 1-1/2 hours for the proof and the dough temp was 74F.

I also added a few drops of toasted sesame oil to the dough, hoping to get some of that great aroma and boost the lightly toasted seeds on the surface. I'm afraid I would say the desired effect of the oil was not realized. There is a definate sesame aroma but I think it's from the seeds.

After reading Davids comments about his oven temperature and the brown color he got, I thought I would start with 430F and reduce to 410 when I rotated the loaves. The crust color isn't as dark as it appears. I like the color but I also think it could be a little more golden and less orange/brown. A lower and slower bake perhaps.

There is a little bitterness in the taste I'm not sure about. I don't have a lot of experience with Durum flour. Does anyone know if that is normal with Durum?  My daughter was bugging me to cut it so after 20 minutes I relented and had her carve it up. There isn't a hint of sweetness, with 2 T of honey, I'm a little surprised.


dmsnyder's picture

Today's bake:

I was asked by a TFL member who had already packed his copy of Advanced Bread & Pastry in preparation for a move for the formula for this bread. I have added it, below. Happy baking!






Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

2 1/2


Medium rye flour




1 1/4


Starter (stiff)

2 1/8





  1. Mix all the ingredients with a DDT of 70ºF.

  2. Ferment 12 hours at room temperature (65-70ºF).


Final dough




Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

14 7/8



10 7/8






5 3/4



2 lb



  1. Mix to medium consistency.

  2. Ferment 3 hours with 1 fold. (I did 2 folds at 45 minute intervals.)

  3. Divide into 1 lb pieces.

  4. Preshape as light balls.

  5. Rest 20-30 minutes.

  6. Shape as boule or bâtard.

  7. Proof 12-16 hours at 48ºF, 65% relative humidity.

  8. Score as desired.

  9. Bake 35 minutes at 450ºF with steam.



Crackly Crust



AnnieT's picture

Yesterday I made yet another one of Susan's Sourdough with a couple of new (to me) tricks. The dough was much wetter than usual and I kept it warm in between stretch and folds in the oven with the light on. Then it went into the refrigerator for the overnight chilling at about 4.30pm. Then I found out that my DIL and the grandgirls were taking me to eat at an English Teashop, a belated birhday treat, and I needed to leave here at 9.45 am so that we could catch the 10.30 am ferry. So the shaped boule sat in the refrigerator for 24 hours (I don't do early mornings) by which time it had nearly filled the banneton. Glad to report that the loaf had great oven spring and sang like a bird as it cooled! Too soon to check the crumb but I am just happy it wasn't a disaster, A.


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