The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Baguettes Take 2

ElPanadero's picture

Baguettes Take 2

So my first attempt at 80% hydration baguettes went so so, produced lovely tasting baguettes but the crumb was tight with tiny holes (see below)


This time I lowered the hydration down closer to 70%, spent more time on the initial kneading, a little more time on the S+Fs (working till I could feel the resistance) and hey presto they came out beautifully.  The exterior has a lovely crackling crunch and the inside is soft and tasty.  I even managed to get nice "ears" with the scoring despite using a flat lame.

Thanks for those who provided advice on my first attempts



dabrownman's picture

work your way back up to 75% hydration with a quick stop at 72% hydration so you can practice your slashing.  I'm guessing bake 4 will be a huge success with holes, crust and scoring..

Happy baking

tea berries's picture
tea berries

I saw this picture featured on the bottom of the site and it turned out to be yours! These look amazing. I just got done watching the tiny 6-part series by KA flour on the making of bread… I'm sure you've seen it but here's the link:

I also had a friend make her own baguettes and she cut them "across" rather than at an angle down the middle length wise. It's a pretty typical mistake for people who haven't researched the bread making process, but seeing yours and recognizing what you did and why really made me feel like I've graduated from "I know nothing about bread" to "I know a little about bread" which made me feel really good. :)

ElPanadero's picture

tea berries.  Yes I've watched through those videos and plenty of others.  It's remarkable how many different techniques there are for shaping baguettes out there.  In the end you pick one that feels good to you and develop and hone it.  I tend to do mine much more like Wayne Caddy in this clip (shaping at 14:30):

The scoring of baguettes is definitely a skill to be acquired and honed.  Really you want a curved lame but I make do with what I have.

I think in the world of amateur bread baking there are some milestones to be achieved.  Kind of like earning your scouts or girlguides badges.  Gaining the "baguette badge" is definitely a worthy achievement and is very rewarding and satisfying.  It will set you apart from your friends and neighbours basic bread bakes as they take time, effort and specific skills.  Overnight preferments, temperature control, handling of high hydration dough, stretching and folding, preshaping, shaping (without destroying the structure) and some tricky scoring.  I just keep practising and the results get better each time which is rewarding.  To be fair though, I cut my teeth on these skills in a real artisan bakery where I put my YouTube learned shaping "theory" into real practice alongside competent bakers who gave me tips and helped me correct any mistakes.  Definitely the quickest way to learn :-)

Bakingmadtoo's picture

Nice ears! The lovely feeling of making progress is yours! Bread making is such an interesting journey.

ElPanadero's picture

As with most things in life that journey is more valuable than the end result itself.  Cheers