The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Would like feedback on Pain Rustique please

debbahs's picture

Would like feedback on Pain Rustique please

This is my fourth attempt at Hamelman's Pain Rustique and it's my best one yet. I am finally getting the hang of working with the very wet dough (I follow his formula precisely - I believe it's 70-75% hydration). This formula has no final shaping, you're just sort of plopping the scaled dough on a couche for a short (25 minute) final ferment before getting a quick slash and going into the oven. 

This time I tried to do a bit of loose shaping as I wasn't liking the sort of random and weird shapes I was getting in my earlier attempts at this bread, and it did MOSTLY hold through the final ferment. I did get a weird pop on one end of one of the loaves. 

My crust is delicious, I love the flavor of this bread (it's my husband's favorite). I did get some fairly huge holes though - definitely mouse-sized, although this cut is both while the bread was still slightly warm and only a third of the way through. The crumb gets a bit more regular the deeper into the loaf. I do have the translucent cell walls, which I believe is good.

What I'm looking for from this esteemed group is some feedback - what could/should I do differently to perfect this loaf? I'd really to get get this loaf, my Vermont SD and baguettes in a consistent state before I move on to other loaves.

CelesteU's picture

Gentle shaping will help to even out the crumb/holes and to regulate the shape.  For high hydration, I usually divide, then pre-shape into a round using movements similar to a stretch & fold.  Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then do a second shaping that gets it closer to your desired end result.  You are trying to develop some internal structure and external surface tension so that the baked loaf will expand as you want, not randomly flop into a blob w/giant holes.  Practice, and watch a few videos of wet dough shaping.

mutantspace's picture

here are two great videos on pre-shaping and shaping@

and trevor wilsons site is very useful

debbahs's picture

I'm now wasting most of my afternoon watching SFBI videos!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I usually gently stretch the dough out to a rectangle (or circle, if I'm making round loaves) and poke it all over with my fingers to pop some of the bigger bubbles before pre-shaping. This pre-shaping will be either a letter fold (or two, if it's really soft stretchy dough) or folding all the edges into the middle. Careful to not trap a big air bubble either way when folding. Final shape is then pulling the loaf across the counter to tighten the skin. Sometimes I'll hear large bubbles pop when doing that too. :)

AnotherLoaf's picture

This is in the top 5 of my favorite breads. I can't believe there can be that much flavor from a non- sourdough loaf. Your loaf looks very good, congratulations! Keep in mind, it's supposed to look somewhat irregular; no two loaves should look alike. That's where the "rustique" comes in. I think large holes are expected, maybe not "mouse-sized", but in my opinion, very "ciabatta-like". I bulk ferment in a square or retangular container, so when it's time to divide, I already have a shape I can work with. Also, you may already know, this recipe doesn't call for pre- shaping. I just dump and cut with the bench knife, gently popping any oversized bubbles! It looks like you were able to get some great oven spring. I recall my loaves being slightly more flat. One more note; I don't always wait the full time for the final fermentation. (I also don't score these loaves. I find it makes the loaf spread to much, and is unnecessary.)  I live in Texas, and things happen quickly around here, especially with this dough. Even more so during the summer. Some times I only wait five minutes. I figure it's better to under proof, than over proof. I have never had a failure with this dough. Keep up the good work,  marybeth