The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Yorkville Sourdough Baguettes

Benito's picture

Yorkville Sourdough Baguettes

I haven’t baked plain sourdough baguettes in a while and I thought it would be a good way to test out my new flax linen couche.  You might recall that my old couche, sold to me as being flax linen was in fact 100% cotton and has given me tons of grief each time I’ve tried to bake ciabattas.  The dough would stick no matter how much flour I used.  So I broke down and got a new couche.  I seasoned it by sprinkling then rubbing in white flour.  It did work well and my baguette dough didn’t stick, thank goodness.  The big test will be trying ciabatta again.

I’ve updated my formula for these baguettes and used Scott McGee’s MeGee’s shaping.  I’m very happy with his technique.  In fact, when shaping the baguettes you never press down at all on the dough to elongate.  You press along the edge where the dough meets the table which builds tension and elongates the dough.  This time I’ve increased the hydration to 72% and increased the dough so each baguette is 330 g.  I was easily able to shape the baguettes to the maximum length of my cookie tray that fits in my fridge which is 15 inches.  The shaped baguettes sit in the couche on the cookie tray which makes it easy to give the dough a final chill to ease scoring once they are fully proofed to 30% rise by aliquot jar.  By the way, the pH of the dough at the time of baking is a relatively high 4.34.  For hearth loaves I’ve been aiming for a pH of 3.8 - 4.0 at the time of bake.

With the longer baguettes I’ve now also done five scores per baguette which I think works well for this length.  I’ve need a bit more practice to avoid overlapping them too much which I did particularly in the one baguette where the ears broke from the oven spring.


Benito's picture

Pretty happy with the crumb.  I’ll stick to this shaping technique for the foreseeable future, and I stand corrected by Alan, it is Scott MeGee, sorry Scott.

JonJ's picture

Superb outcome, well done indeed.

Interesting pH measurement too, although not surprising given the reduced fermentation time.

Tell me, have you ever tried scoring 'vertically' rather than at a slight angle for your baguettes? And what is the crust like - is it softer in the places where the score opens up or nice and crispy everywhere?



Benito's picture

Thank you Jon, you’re right the pH measurement isn’t surprising at all I agree.

I know in the past I have score with my blade more at a perpendicular angle to the dough.  I remember I had done a video of my scoring and Alan commented that my blade wasn’t angled.  Those baguettes still developed ears if I recall.

The crust is pretty thin and crisp everywhere, just thinner where the score opens up and thicker on the bottom.


GlennM's picture

I have had good success using your method and I have a couple of questions:

  • Did you use your blog method (fermentation times, etc)?
  • Did you stick with the low protein flour?
  • What was the length of the baguette?

I have a couple of baguette bannetons and I wonder if the length is good.

Benito's picture

Thank you Glenn.

Yes I used my blog method following the aliquot jar to 20% to end bulk and start cold retard until the following day, although this was more than 4 hours cold retard.  Preshape then shaped until 30% rise and then placed in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up the dough for ease of scoring while the oven completed preheat.  Baked as usual.

The flour was still a lower protein around 11% (the labeling in Canada is notoriously poor, they give grams of protein per 30 g of flour and they round to even digits so this is labeled as 3 g per 30 g so you’d think it was 10%.  But I suspect it is 11% protein.

The baguettes are 15” in length which is the max for my cookie tray to fit in my fridge and slightly longer than my transfer board.  They didn’t shrink with baking appreciably which was a bonus.

Hope that helps.


idaveindy's picture

Benny, if you ever enter a city-wide bread baking contest in Toronto, you'd win several categories.

I think it was Sam Fromartz who in his book said he won Best Baguette of Washington DC, based on what he learned in France. And your baggies look better than his.

I see a possible second career for you if you ever get burned out with practicing medicine.

I can at least see you making appearances on local Toronto morning TV shows showing your baguette method.


Same goes for Alfanso. I don't know exactly where he lives (just FL), but I could see him waltzing away with first place in any city/county/regional baguette contest. 

Benito's picture

Hey Dave, thanks for you compliments I do appreciate them.  The pandemic is starting to burn me out, practicing medicine is associated with much greater stress than it used to be.  I’m not burnt out yet, but it may happen.  Fortunately I have this hobby as well as a couple of others that help relax me, at least when things go well LOL.


jds's picture

I wasn't aware of Scott MeGee's shaping technique before coming across this post. Very interesting! I will definitely be trying his technique out.


Your baguettes are beautiful!

Benito's picture

Thank you very much. I discovered him after watching his ciabatta video when Alfanso posted his recipe. I like the way he shapes both baguettes and ciabattas.