Baguette - 60% Hydration Eric Kayser French Style with AP flour
Baguette - 60% Hydration Eric Kayser French Style with AP flour
I made baguettes every week for a year. This is my favorite recipe and most like what you'd get in a french bakery. This is modeled after the Maison Kayser baguette recipe. I've made it with King Arthur AP flour which is the most readily available alternative to T55 flour in the US. Skip to the end for the baker's tips and recipe.
|Prep time||6 hours|
|Cooking time||19 minutes|
|Total time||6 hours, 19 minutes|
My daughter and I have been making baguettes every week for about a year now. She and I are the two who eat them for breakfast a couple times a week so we go through them fast. Most recipes out there use bread flour but we decided to go with a recipe that's more like french baguettes and use normal all-purpose flour, not bread flour. I used to use half bread flour until my daughter who accidentally made this recipe while playing with extra dough and it turned out great; crispy crust and light. Here's my basic recipe for beginners, I'll add some pro tips and gram measurements at the end.
The main problem with using cup measures is when you pack flour it really changes the amounts so it's always better to go with a scale if you have one. Anyway, here it is.
3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, like King Arthur. Not whole wheat, white wheat, or bread flour. You can add a tablespoon of whole wheat if you want
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of water, lukewarm
plastic dough scraper or something improvised
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and knead it until it comes together with no dry spots. Don't use a mixer, it will probably break it. It should look like this:
Start your stopwatch now. Let it rest covered with a towel or plastic wrap for 30 minutes to let the dough relax and water soak into the flour.
1st Kneading (@30 minutes)
My kneading is more like rolling so it's pretty easy to do.
Spread the dough out into a 10 x 10 square. then tightly roll it from top to bottom like a log.
Turn it 90 degrees and with the seam facing up, roll it towards you using your thumbs to tighten it as you go along. At the end you should have something that looks like a snail.
Let it rest covered in the bowl for 45 minutes.
2nd Kneading (@75 minutes)
... repeat the same steps as first kneading
Let it rest again covered in the bowl for 45 minutes.
3rd Kneading (@120 minutes)
... repeat the same steps as previous kneadings
At this point the skin of the ball of dough should feel dry and smooth, not sticky. If not, do one more knead because every flour is different. It may have some surface bubbles too at this point which is a good indicator that it is well kneaded.
Put it back in the bowl and cover and let it rise for 3 hours in a 70 degree room. If it's really cold, then you may have to wait longer or if it's warmer, then vice versa. This steps gives the yeast time to eat and create bubbles. You'll know its done when it's doubled in volume.
Dividing, shaping, proofing and scoring
After the 3 hours, take the dough out and put it on your countertop. It shouldn't be very sticky so dusting it with flour isn't necessary. Using a scale or your best judgement, cut it in half. Then shape them into two logs that are about 8 inches in length.
Shaping (@5hrs 30 minutes)
30 minutes approximately. Your logs should be relaxed. Pat them into two rectangles about 5x8 inches.
The best way to explain shaping is by watching. Here are some videos but keep in mind their baguettes use different recipes, flour and are twice as big so theirs look different. My recipe is for home sized ovens.
Basic and short video from King Arthur (don't flour so much)
French guy from a well known bakery
This guy is making smaller baguettes so it's a good example
1. Fold top to middle, bottom to middle
2. Fold the ends in about a half an inch (optional)
3. Fold top to bottom, then seal the seam and roll it out into the final shape. Make the ends pointy.
Again, watch the videos, it's hard to explain.
Lightly flour the baguette and rest it on a floured tea towel, seam side up. You'll flip it onto the foil once it's done proofing, and cook it seam side down. This will help it burst into its final shape.
Let it proof for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until when you indent the dough with your finger it doesn't spring back up fully. It is overproofed when the dough looks flabby looking doesn't have a round shape anymore.
Roll or transfer the baguettes onto a piece of 20 inch long foil. The great thing about this recipe is that the dough is not very sticky so it won't stick to foil or tea towel. It also scores easily.
Scoring (@6hrs 15 minutes)
After proofing approximately 45 minutes to an hour you should be at this stage. Scoring isn't just for looks, it allows the steam escape and without it the bread will be dense and heavy.
Beginners, start with just doing a single slit from top to bottom with a sharp knife. On your second try watch this video and you can do multiple scores if you have a razor blade
At the 1 minute mark he explains it well:
- Make sure your scores overlap by 30 percent
- Hold the blade at 45 degree angle
- Keep your score lines parallel to the sides
- Score it about 1/4 inch deep
A baking stone helps it spring and burst. However if you don't have one then this is what I would used to do.
- 1 cookie sheet without sides and not teflon coated. If yours has sides then maybe flip it upside down. Middle rack
- For steam tray - 1 iron pan with sides, thick and not teflon coated. Bottom rack.
Preheat your oven to 450f to 500f for 30 minutes along with both cookie sheet and iron pan. Every oven is different is and most are inaccurate so start at 450f and try different temperatures if it doesn't work.
Carefully slide the foil with two baguettes onto the top cookie sheet. Here is the dangerous part, stand off to the side and pour in 1/2 cup of hot water onto the iron pan and then close the oven. Steam will burn you so skip this if you're not sure or if you like to bake while drinking. All this does is helps the baguette rise and burst a little bit. Moisture in the oven is only good for the first 3-5 minutes. After that you want to finish with a dry oven.
Cook for 7 minutes then turn the oven down to 400f - 425f, open it for a few seconds to let the steam out and then bake for an additional 12 minutes. Lastly take it out and let it rest on a cooling rack for 40 minutes. If you rest it on a flat surface the bottom will get soggy.
I cut them in half, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them. Refrigeration only works for a day and the bread sometimes collapses. I microwave the frozen bread for 20-30 seconds and toast it for 5 minutes and they're almost just as good as fresh baked.
The baker's recipe (advanced and higher yield)
950g King Arthur AP flour @11.75 protein
50g King Arthur whole wheat flour @ 14.0 protein
600g tap water at 90F (60 percent hydration)
4.5g SAF or Red Star active dry yeast
18g sea salt
7 minutes @ 450f, open oven to release steam
12 minutes @ 410f
Why low hydration?
a lot of French baguettes are around 58 - 60% whereas you'll see most of the recipes out there 70 - 75%. After a lot of testing and trial and error, low hydration is better because
- crispier lighter crust
- better oven spring with all purpose flour
- easier, shallower scoring
- less sticking to... everything
- Insides cooks fully in a conventional oven
What type of flour to use
If you're french you'd use t55 flour and the most readily available equivalent for us is King Arthur AP flour. If you use a different flour make sure you're adjusting the water hydration for the percentage of gluten. For example if you take 1000g King Arthur AP flour at 11.75 percent gluten then you'll have 117.5 grams of gluten in the flour. If you are using a KA bread flour then for the same amount of bread flour you're at around 127g. If you take the amount of water, 600g.
117.5/600 = .19583
127/.19583 = 648g water
So basically this says for the same recipe, if you use KA Bread Flour then you're going to need 65% hydration or 50 grams more water. In reality it's probably more like 70% for a comparable recipe so it's not only about gluten but the brand of flour you buy does matter. I've seen all purpose flour at 14% so you have to get to know your flour.
Poolish really makes this recipe much better but I usually don't have the time. It gives it a slightly tangy aftertaste. If you adjust for the amounts and add 300g poolish that should do it.
- 150g water
- 150g KAP flour
- 10 yeast granules
let it sit for 12 hours then add it to the the recipe.
800g KA AP flour
50g KA Whole Wheat Flour
450g 90F water
2g active dry yeast
Some say that the acidity in sourdough recipes means you need a stronger flour so a higher gluten flour may be necessary if you use levain or sourdough starter. I haven't tried much there.
I also heard adding a lot of whole wheat breaks down gluten so this should be paired with bread flour if you're going say 20% whole wheat.
I used a baking stone for the longest time until I cracked it. I got a pizza baking steel which is basically a big slab of steel. I could never burn the bottoms with the baking stone even at 500 - 525f but the highest I can go with a baking steel is 450f without burning it after 15 minutes of baking. The bottoms bubble and I get a lot of oven spring with it so I prefer it. It's more like the deck ovens and it heats faster than the stone.
I don't a stone for the rack above the baguettes but that's also another thing I want to try to get radiant heat from the top. If you cut most of my baguettes in half the bottoms have much larger holes because because of the direct heat.
There are some crazy setups out there with like lava rocks and Thomas Kellers steel chains on a cookie sheet, I think that's not necessary at all. Just get a gooseneck kettle and boil half to 3/4 cup of water. Then pour it on a iron pan that is not flexible and as long as there is surface area it will evaporate in less than 30 seconds. Then open your oven up at 5 minutes to let the steam out. The bread itself generates steam while cooking and you don't want that or it will make the crust hard.