The Fresh Loaf

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XXXII - Baguette Traditional a la Samuel Fromartz....-ish

lumos's picture

XXXII - Baguette Traditional a la Samuel Fromartz....-ish

  Been a long time since I blogged properly about the bread I baked. I was baking at least a couple of times a week during those absent days, as I’d always done, but haven’t got around to blogging about it, for one reason or another.  But today, I finally decided to gently and timidly ease myself back into my old bread-blogging routine, starting it with my recent (like, yesterday…:p) baguette. 

 It’s one of the most popular baguette recipes among TFL members, and I have tried it a couple of times before, but for some reason it never became my ‘regular,’ maybe because I usually prefer using only dried yeast for baguette because it produces lighter texture and also because I’d become so comfortable with ‘Hamelinet poolish baguette’ formula, I didn’t feel strong enough ‘urge’ to try out other baguette recipe. Lazy and uninspired, I know….

 But last Friday, I was preparing to make Daniel Leader’s Light Rye for the first time; scaling down the original recipe to suit our consumption and started feeding the sourdough…..and realized the recipe produced excess sourdough, about 50g more than the main dough production would need, in the scaled down amount.  Thought of adding it to the main dough anyway at first, then a light bulb came up and remembered Fromartz’s baguette used small amount of sourdough! :D  Checked the recipe, re-calculated the amount of sourdough needed (his sourdough is 100% hydration and mine is 70 – 75%) for the scaled down ingredients. (my usual batch for baguettes is 300 – 350g total flour)…… Ha! I’d need exactly 50% sourdough! So that’s what I made. :)


I more or less followed the original recipe, but, as you may well know, my ‘more or less’ can often be ‘hardly.’ :p  Following is the basic outline of the recipes with a list of changes I made.  


Samuel Fromartz’s Baguette Traditional  - original recipe (link)

My plagiarism adaptation

Ingredients (for 3 mini baguettes, about 35 – 37cm length. So technically, it’s NOT baguette, but anyway….)

  295 g Strong white flour – I used 150g Waitrose Leckford Estate Strong Flour + 145g Heritage Wholesome White Flour*

  5g  wholemeal strong flour

  50g sourdough (mine is about 75% hydration)

  0.8g (scant 1/4 tsp) dried yeast – much small amount than the original recipe, so that I can incorporate long, cold retard overnight. (Don’t kick me, Ars!!! :p) ---- ETA: Strike that. Clearly forgotten Fromarts does long retard in the fridge, too, but with larger amount of yeast.  But I did get sufficient fermentation with this amount after 16-17 hrs. (See below)

  210g water

           *Note - This is the flour I bought from Syd’s stall (Aston’s Organic Bakery) at Real Bread Festival a few months ago. It’s a blend of flour milled from traditional English heritage wheat varieties. Have no idea what varieties are used (not stated on the bag except for saying it consists of 150 varieties), but as the name suggests, it contains a little amount of bran and wheat germ.  Maybe it’s a sort of equivalent of French T65 flour. (my wild guess….)  Its protein level is scary  low at 10.1% but it seems to have good quality gluten and makes lovely dough with silky touch but with nice strength.

 Changes I made

1)   Fromartz’s method ‘autolyse’ for 5 – 10 minutes after mixing all the ingredients ⇒ I extended it to 30 minutes. (it was a very cold day. The temperature in the kitchen was about 17-18C)

2)   Instead of French-folding for 5 minutes before proceeding to 3 x letter-folding, as in the original recipe, I S & F 3 times in a bowl every 30 minutes. (I’d probably do it every 20 min if it’s warmer)

3)   After 3 x S & F, letter-fold for 1 – 2 times to strengthen the dough, if necessary.

4)   Leave at room temperature for 1 hr or so until the dough increases in the volume by 25% or so.

5)   Put it in the fridge and retard for 16 – 18 hrs.

6)   After 16, 17 hrs in the fridge, the dough looked fully fermented with a few large air bubbles on the top, so I divided it into 3, very roughly shaped and left for 20 – 30 min to return it to room temperature. (I would’ve done the other way round = returning to room temperature, then divide), if it hadn’t been so fully fermented during the cold retard)

7)   Pre-shape into rectangular, as the original recipe (but smaller, obviously) and rest for 15 min.

8)   Shape into baguette and proof for 1 hr or so.

9)   Bake on very hot baking stone with steam for 10 min at 240C, then without steam for another 10 min with fan.





...and the obligatory crumb shots.  Sorry for weird colour. Night light…. 


The rest of the crumb shots to black & white...



Verdict:  I think this turned out to be better than my earlier trials with this recipe (with similar changes) some time ago. Can I praise myself for having improved in the art of bread-making or should I just thank to the heritage flour and the dedicated farmers behind it? :p  I liked the taste, probably slightly more robust than my usual poolish baguette, and the texture was definitely chewy-er, too.  It’s a good baguette, for sure. Do I like it better than poolish baguette? Not sure, difficult to say.  Probably both have their own place, depending upon your mood and what you eat with it.  Last night we had pot-au-feu to warm ourselves up in the freezing temperature with heavy snow in England, so slightly gutsier baguette like this was, I have to say, ideal companion to the meal. :)






dmsnyder's picture


lumos's picture

Thank you, David. :)


dabrownman's picture

method you used on this bread with the longer retard, SD and pinch of yeast.  Beautiful examples of Dwarf Baguettes.  Crust, crumb and slashing all very nice. The perfect accompaniment for a hot soup or stew on the snowy day.

Happy baking.

lumos's picture

Let me know how you liked it if/when you tried the method. ;)


Floydm's picture

Holy mackeral, Lumos, those are beautiful!  Would you mind if I featured them on the home page for a bit?


lumos's picture

Well, holy mackerel back to you! :D. Of course I don't mind. I feel very honoured. Thank you, Floyd. :)

codruta's picture

Beautiful baguettes and great to see you're back at blogging.

codruta :)

lumos's picture

Hi, Codruta! I've been missing your posts, too! :D

Thank you for your comment.......and when are you coming back to your blogging here yourself? :p

ananda's picture

Hi Lumos,

a well-deserved front page feature for you; lovely baguettes indeed.

I wonder if the Heritage flour from Syd is provided from grain grown by Andy Forbes of the Brockwell Bake? See:

Very best wishes


lumos's picture

Hi Andy, thank you. :)

No, it's not Andy Forbes's flour. He was at the Festival, so I was really looking forward to buying his flour but he didn't bring any to sell. Was only doing some ddemonstration of flour-milling for groups of school kids.

Heritage flour has been grown and milled in Oxford/Buckinghamshire (I think...) area for several years now.  I'll post more details about the flour with a few photo of the bag later.


ananda's picture

Hi Lumos

Is it part of John Letts project, Oxford Bread Group?

He was a keynote speaker at a Real Bread Campaign Conference a few years ago...utterly inspirational.   He is a Thatcher, and an Archaeo-Botanist

Very best wishes



lumos's picture

Not to sure, to be honest. He's the one who was featured in the recent Great British Food Revival when Michel Roux Jr. did the episode on bread, isn't he?  When I watched the programme, I wondered if he's the one behind Heritage Flour so I googled it, and came across to exactly the same document you linked to.  The problem is, the website on the flour bag doesn't exist anymore, and, though it certainly seems quite  likely it's the same people as the project, there isn't anything definite that link the two for sure, even after spending hours (literally....for several days....:p) on internet searching for the info.  The only few  plausible results were the above document and a few short articles on local papers about it.   And the milling company's name on the bag didn't lead me anywhere, either.... And the location of the farm (Buckinghamshire) is different from what the document says (Oxfordshire).  Possibly they moved the production for some reason recently???

Anyway, here's the pics of the flour bag.


mwilson's picture

I still haven't used the so called "rivet" flour I picked up when you bought this one back in October. Now I have some inspiration, seeing your amazingly wonderful baguettes.

lumos's picture

Hi Michael. Lovely to hear from you.

  Cearly forgotten the flour you bought was different from mine. What was the characteristic of rivet flour Syd's wife told us, do you remember?  Will look forward to seeing what you'll come up with the flour. Are you going Italian again? ;)


mwilson's picture

Hi lumos.

Apologies for taking so long to come back to you on this. Erm.. Can't remember exactly, something about one of these flours producing a soapy taste with sourdough..?! Not the case with mine but then my sourdough is not like everyone else's.

So I finally opened the bag. This flour has a very interesting aroma, reminiscent of mixed spice which carries through to the baked loaf along with a creaminess. Very delicious and moreish.

PiPs's picture

Hi Lumos,

Nice to read a post from you again ... and what beautiful breads you are producing!


lumos's picture

Good morning Phil!   And thank you! :). Looking forward to reading your next blog entry, too. ;)

spahkee's picture

Beautiful baguettes!  Thanks for posting.

Could I ask a question?  In your blog, you mentioned French folds and letter folds.   Can you tell me what the difference is and when I should be doing which one?  I'm familiar with the stretch and fold technique as well as the French slap and fold (I think there's a different name for that one) but would appreciate any help with all of these different techniques.

Thank you and keep posting!  I'm inspired by your success

lumos's picture

Thank you spahkee.

French folds is what you called slap & fold = traditional 'kneading' method by French bakers when they make wet dough, which became suddenly famous and popular among home bakers a few years ago, thanks to Richard Bertinet's books and videos.  (If my memory serves me right, which often doesn't these days, 'slap & fold' is a sort of nickname someone in this forum or another bread blogger somewhere else started using for what's been known as French fold.

As for letter fold, you can see how to do it in one of the "Lessons" on this forum. (Look above for the link)

You can build up gluten strengh either by French fold or S & F method, whichever that suits you,  to certain degree, and then you can letter-folds a few times during early stage of bulk fermentation to further strengthen the dough, if necessary.   Letter-folding at this stage also stimulates fermentation to some extent, too.  I can't say exactly when or how many times you should do it, though.   I sometimes do extra letter-folding before pre-shaping the dough when I feel it doesn't have enough strength at the end of bulk fermentation. It all depends on how your dough is behaving. Sorry, I know it's not helping you very much but that's a sort of question you'd have to ask your dough. :p

LisaE's picture

Thanks for the blog Lumos!

Making those beautiful baguettes is now on my to do list, I hope they turn out as lovely as yours.


lumos's picture

Thank you, Lisa. :)  Let me know when you made it yourself.

varda's picture

Those baguettes just look they would be so great to eat.    Really beautiful.  -Varda (hopefully soon to overcome my phobia of baguette making for which this post is so helpful.  Thanks.)

lumos's picture

Thanks, Varda. 

You should just jump in, you know. I'm sure you'll be very good very soon. ;) I used to have phobia of baguette-making, too, but my desparation and urge for decent baguette was stronger.  It's much better now, thank God!, but baguette situation in UK was really **** years ago when I started making it myself. .....then most of the baguettes I made those days weren't very presentable.....:p


Janetcook's picture

Hi Lumos,

Like everything else in my life these days I get behind in checking out new postings here.  What a wonderful surprise to find your latest bake today when I found I had a few extra minutes to do some catch up.  What beautiful loaves.  The crust color is superb and the crumb looks delicious - totally.  Thanks so much for the post and all of your wonderful pictures.

Sorry about your cold weather.  Snow isn't the 'norm' where you are, is it?  I know here we have been dry, dry, dry so feel free to send some of that moisture our way :-)

Take Care,


lumos's picture

Thank you, Janet.  Yes it does snow around here (just outside London), maybe once or twice a year, usually, but not very heavily.  But last few days we had quite heavy snow and the temperature at the moment is 6 C below zero.....

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Lumos.  Those are amazing!  The exterior is one thing, but the crumb you got on these are spectacular!  Adding this one to my bake list for sure.

Thanks for the amazing post.


lumos's picture

Thank you, John. :)  Let me know when you eventually bake it. ;)

Syd's picture

Very handsome looking baguettes Lumos!  They immediately attracted my attention when I refreshed the home page this morning.  Nice to see you back blogging again. :)



lumos's picture

Thank you, Syd.:) 

Would be great to see back in your blogging before too long, too.  Do you know how much I've been missing it? ;)

rossnroller's picture

Going by your terrif pics and description, I can imagine they tasted as good as they look - especially with a hearty pot-au-feu on a snowy winter's night. That's what dreams are made of when you're sitting in a stuffy room at 8am with another 35C day of heat in front of ya. Mmm!


lumos's picture

LOL thanks, Ross.   I can FEDEX (or UPS, if you prefer) you this freezing weather if you promise you'll send some warm air to us in return! :D

lumos's picture

Duplicate --  deleted 

evonlim's picture

amazing crust and crumb 


lumos's picture

Thank you, evon.  Lovely to see you in this neck of wood, too. :)

SylviaH's picture

They look absolutely delicious!  


lumos's picture

Thank you, Sylvia. :)  

lumos's picture

Just FYI, perhaps solely for flour geeks....;)

Here's a photo of Heritage Flour I used in this recipe, in comparison with other flours I regularly use.

(from left to right: Bacheldre Spelt flour, Heritage Flour -see above post for details-, Waitrose Leckford Estate Strong Flour)

Didn't realize until I set it up to take the picture, but Heritage flour looks more pink-ish compared to Waitrose's Leckford, which was sort of interesting.  Some of you may remember I posted a similar photo while ago to show you T55 flour my daughter got for me from Paris look like. (link)   In that comparison, Waitrose Leckford looked distinctively more pink-ish compared to quite creamy/yellow-y colour of T55..... so you can imagine how pink-ish this Heritage flour would like if it were sitting next to T55. (Ignore more pink/light brown-ish looking spelt on the left. That's wholemeal.)  And Waitrose Leckford now looks yellow-ish in comparison to Heritage.....hmmm

.....well, this 'experiment' tells you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER, but I'm stuck in a house thanks to heavy snow, had to cancel my gardener, and bored with not much else to do (except for cleaning the house, which I'm not in the mood for....), so there! :D

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

taking pictures of pink-ish flours instead of cleaning...

Maybe this post will be VERY useful in the future :-)

Great baguettes by the way. The crumb looks almost liquid in some of the pictures. Like some glass sculptures.

Refreshing to hear from you,


lumos's picture

Frankly, anything is better than cleaning, even more so if it's bread related! :D

Thank you for your comment, Juergen. :)


I'mTheMami's picture

Very beautiful loafs! Will add this recipe to an ever growing  "must make when I get/finally grow a sourdough starter" ...

lumos's picture

Thank you.:)

Sam Fromartz's picture
Sam Fromartz

The loaves look great. I always modify my "recipe," too and have not made the original in a while. I'll have to try them again, but agree they have a more assertive taste and chew than a poolish baguette. I like both! Nice work!

lumos's picture

Gosh, thank you, Sam, for your kind comment. I'm so honoured!  And thank you, too, most of all, for sharing your award-winning formula with us in the first place.....and sorry for NOT following the formula faithfully. (What a blesphemy! :p)

I've made more baguettes since then, even more variations, and my favourite at the moment is one with small amount of spelt added to main dough flour. Am VERY interested to learn what's your favourite baguette recipe these days. It must taste really good......:)


audieg's picture

Hi Lumos,

I’m very interested in your images and effort regarding open crumb structure when you made the baguette de tradition a la Fromartz method. But, your images are no longer available- is there any chance of seeing them?

Thank you very much.