The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chronicles: First time baguette

George bakes in Barbados's picture
George bakes in...

Chronicles: First time baguette

Hey, fellow bakers!

I just felt so compelled to share a small moment I had in baking baguettes.

I have to admit I was terrified to start my baking adventures with the baguette for fear of a high hydration dough—something I have never had to work with. Prior to making baguettes, I have made challah (not a total disaster), brioche hot cross buns (these went well!) and milk buns (probably my fave). As great as these enriched breads were, I have always had a soft spot for lean breads—I fondly remember the days of my mother picking up a (supermarket—I know, but it’s all we had in Barbados in those days) baguette and joining me devouring.

I said I would attempt to make it myself and have to admit, it turned out alright! Would love to hear your thoughts or any feedback.

I used a 73% hydration dough with baker’s flour (11.4%) and some spelt flour. Since I have a sourdough starter going, I went for a sourdough baguette—I know, perhaps not the most traditional but I love the slight tang. This was the first time I made a lean dough or even a sourdough, far less one of this hydration level.

I have to work on my shaping and more importantly, my scoring. I used a fresh razor blade but found it wasn’t slicing cleanly—kept snagging. I imagine a lame would probably make it easier to slice into the dough? Also, these were baked on a cast iron griddle in the oven since I don’t own a baking stone or steel (though I do plan to buy one!). Each loaf was 250g but wished I had made them a bit smaller since the griddle is only about 14”. I also used steam generated from lava rocks and wet towels in a gas oven.

They had a nice crackly crust, a chewy inside—really nice. Is it normal for the crust to be less “crunchy/crusty” after a few hours? I do live in a very humid climate. I was wondering if maybe the crust is too thick? If it is, what can I do to correct? I did bake these at 500F—thinking I should have dropped to 475 for 20 min.

I am pretty proud and think they turned out nice but I look forward to hearing what you all may say.Fresh from the oven

Crumb and crust

Comments

Benito's picture
Benito

George, I’m very impressed by your first baguettes!!  Baguettes are a fun challenge and one that a group of us here at TFL took on together in a Community Bake last summer.  You may learn a lot from that community bake, in fact a summary of our bakes and findings was published on the first post in PDF form if you feel like learning with us Baguette Community Bake  Anyone can contribute at anytime and then can also receive help with their questions.

Given the humidity where you live, definitely the crust will be less crispy after a few hours.  Regarding the thickness of the crust, I found for me that preheating hot at 500ºF and then baking at 480ºF led to better results than baking at 500ºF.  I also have found that having more whole grain seemed to lead to a thicker crust than using all white flour.

Benny

George bakes in Barbados's picture
George bakes in...

Thanks so much, Benny!

I had so much fun making them. It was sticky and stayed wait until shaping but I wasn’t at all deterred. I was smiling inside the whole time while preparing.

What a tremendous resource you’ve shared! I can’t wait to get to reading.