The Fresh Loaf

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100% Hydration Baguette

mjbleck's picture

100% Hydration Baguette

So a week ago I decide I need to learn how to make baguettes. I've got a little baking experience but nothing serious. Went through a whole grain phase 2 or 3 years ago where I read PR's Whole Grain Breads, but that's about it.

I do some online research seeing if there is some two part delayed fermentation baguette recipe out there, learn about hydration levels and find an article that sings the praises of 70% hydration. So I try it with meh results and go to youtube where I find a video about an 80% hydration dough. So I try it and it works pretty well. I do it for a couple of days and think, "Why only 80%? Why not 90??" So I try a 90% and it works great. Not great flavor because I didn't allow the poolish to develop, but the dough was workable. So I set up to do a 100% hydration baguette.

Maybe I shouldn't call it a baguette? I'm sure it doesn't qualify under some definition, but it's a long and thin bread made with only flour, water, yeast, and salt, so good enough for me.

The technique I'm using is a compilation of my few day's research. I build the dough in a bowl, mix it together, let it autolyse for a while, and give it a stretch and turn about every 45 minutes for 5 turns. I use a bowl instead of a bench so I don't add any more flour. I just use a bowl scraper to work the dough. For the 100% batch I then refrigerate the dough to help firm it up a bit.

Shaping is based on PR's description of Gosselin's baguettes - the dough is cut and tossed in flour, stretched into baguette shapes and thrown into an oven without a final rise. I've never handled a dough this wet so the shaping is probably the weakest part of this trial, but the bread came out great. Nice oven spring, huge holes, crispy crust. I'll take some pictures of the final product and try to figure out how to post them.

Recipe - 10oz Flour (King Arthur Sir Lancelot), 10oz Water, 3/4tsp Yeast for the poolish, 10oz Flour, 10oz Water, 3/4tsp Yeast, and 2tsp Salt to finish the dough.

mjbleck's picture

Not bad for a week. I'm sure there are problems with them I don't even know about but I'm still smiling!

LindyD's picture

It must have been a very chewy crumb, given the high gluten flour (14.2 percent protein).

Have you ever tried using KAF all purpose for baguettes? 

I use Sir Lancelot for bagels, as well as in some rye breads, but never considered it for baguettes.  

Was there a particular reason you chose high gluten flour?


mjbleck's picture

I haven't been doing this long enough to have reasons based on experience. I was using a generic bread flour and wasn't happy with the how the flour was hydrating, and read how stone milled flours are supposed to be better. But where I was I couldn't find any stone ground so I went with the KAF as it was advertised to be for "Artisan Breads," and more carefully milled. It handles better than the generic for sure. And big chewy crumb is what I'm shooting for. I don't know if I could pull off a 100% with AP?

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

King Arthur actually recommends their AP flour (11.7%) for Artisan breads.

It's about the same protein content as at least some other bread flours - I use ConAgra Harvest King from Costco which is rated at 11.6% in my area (varies depending on what mill it comes out of).

King Arthur Sir Galahad

That's the same flour they sell in the red bag to us regular folks.

Tommy gram's picture
Tommy gram

nice work. That's the ol Yankee ingenuity.