The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

My First try at Anis Bouabsa Baguettes

mlayne's picture
mlayne

My First try at Anis Bouabsa Baguettes

Well, they're finished and it was very interesting working with such slack dough in a screaming hot oven.  Extremely difficult to shape.  I was afraid to do the normal elongate, fold, seal routine for baguettes so I simply stretched them to length like ciabatta.  They were really difficult to score.  My lame couldn't cut smoothly through the skin and there was pulling rather than cutting.  After 20 minutes at 480f and 100% steam in the Anova they were looking almost burned which seems to be normal for this method.  

I followed the directions without modification.  Mixed, rested, folded, rested in the fridge for 21 hours, portioned straight from the fridge, rested for an hour, shaped, let rise on the couche for 45 minutes then into the oven.

Photos show the results, they're still cooling so I haven't checked the crumb yet.  I'll post more when I cut into them.  Comments, criticisms and snide remarks appreciated. 

mlayne's picture
mlayne

Photo of Crumb of my first Anis Bouabsa Baguette

I cut into the loaf not expecting much but I'm very pleased with the crumb and the taste.  Since taking a bite caused me to close my eyes I've stopped worrying about the appearance too much but I'll be making more of this recipe and hopefully with practice the external looks will someday match the taste and the crumb.  Great bread.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

It’s a good recipe as written and very reliable in the flavor department. If the dough is still weak when you go to shape it then you need to build more tension in the pre shape without degassing it. Use a minimal amount of flour on the bench and lose the powdered donut look ;) For an extended version of baguettes pain and suffering, ending in triumph you should check out The Community Bake for baguettes we did here not to long ago. 
Don

 

 

mlayne's picture
mlayne

I loved the flavor.  My third try I used way too much flour.  Udder Disaster, if you'll pardon the pun.  I'll keep trying to figure out how to work with wet dough and I'll definitely check out the Community Bake for baguettes.

rgreenberg2000's picture
rgreenberg2000

I only try my hand at baguettes occasionally, so I'm familiar with the "rustic" shape! :) They look great from here, Mike, and the true test is that you enjoyed their texture and flavor!  Shaping comes with practice (a lot of it)....but you get to eat all the practice, so.... :)

Enjoy those with some cheese, maybe a Parisian sandwich with some butter, and ham? :)

Rich

mlayne's picture
mlayne

I had a nice ham and brie sandwich built on a Kerry Gold buttered baguette for lunch today.  It was my box standard poolish 67% hydration baguette and it was good but this one blew its doors off for flavor and crumb.  I plan on working with this one until I get it to look right and I also plan on working with Ciabatta and Focaccia at about 80% hydration just to get used to working with wet dough.

My go-to loaves of bread to keep in the house are Hamelman's 40% Rye, an enriched 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf and an enriched 67% AP 33% whole wheat 10 grain with sunflower seeds, and of course baguettes.  It makes it tough to lose weight but we do love baguettes.

Thanks for the kind words.

Benito's picture
Benito

The Bouabsa baguettes are well liked by the baguette brigade on TFL.  I like the organic appearance of the cracks that formed on the surface of your baguettes.  To make the scoring easier, you can place your shaped baguettes en couche into the fridge for 15 mins to firm up the dough.  This will make scoring easier so the blade will drag less.  You can also dip the blade into olive oil or water to help the scoring as well.

I haven’t found that the Bouabsa dough to be more difficult than other baguette dough to work with.  What flour did you use to make it with and at what hydration?

Benny

mlayne's picture
mlayne

I appreciate your suggestions and I'll give them a try.  I used Bob's Red Mill AP flour at 73% hydration.  It's my go-to AP here in Oregon.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

From me - https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/63557/simple-pleasures-idy-baking

And from MTloaf - to me, he is the acknowledged master of the Bouabsa baguette. https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/63580/baguette-virus-spreading

 

mlayne's picture
mlayne

Thanks, I'll check them out this evening.

foodforthought's picture
foodforthought

You might want to check out David’s (dmsnyder) version of Gosselin baguettes. His work with Bouabsa and Gosselin resulted in his excellent San Joaquin Sourdough recipe. He writes the most excellent procedural notes, too.

I think your bread looks lovely. Agree that cold dough will probably improve handling characteristics. I often make dough for multiple loaves and keep it refrigerated for up to 3-4 days (no more than 5) then have fresh bread every other day or so.

May the yeast be with you,

Phil

mlayne's picture
mlayne

I'll check it out.  I'm making dinner for a guest this evening so I'm making focaccia. fresh pasta and Caesar Salad to go with the ragu and creme brulee that I put together yesterday.  Should be pretty good.  The ragu and custard are resting so I'll just need to heat the ragu and brulee the custard tonight. In addition to making the pappardelle pasta and focaccia.

foodforthought's picture
foodforthought

You might want to check out David’s (dmsnyder) version of Gosselin baguettes. His work with Bouabsa and Gosselin resulted in his excellent San Joaquin Sourdough recipe. He writes the most excellent procedural notes, too.

I think your bread looks lovely. Agree that cold dough will probably improve handling characteristics. I often make dough for multiple loaves and keep it refrigerated for up to 3-4 days (no more than 5) then have fresh bread every other day or so.

May the yeast be with you,

Phil

mlayne's picture
mlayne

really good.  I've made pan d' campagne with 5% ww and 5% dark rye before and liked it a lot.  I'll definitely put the San Joaquin Sourdough on my to-do list.

mlayne's picture
mlayne

I used Janedo's yeasted levain this time and applied the suggestions received to chill the shaped loaves before scoring with an oiled razor blade on my lame.  Both suggestions were excellent and helped a lot.  I highly recommend them to anyone working on high hydration baguettes.  The loaves came out pretty good, certainly prettier than my first batch. For some reason, I hit a huge hole when I cut into this baguette.  Go figure.

Now my levain for David's San Joachim Sourdough Baguettes is working on the counter and will be mixed in later this evening.

As always criticism, comments and snide remarks are welcomed.

 

  

Benito's picture
Benito

Good improvements there. If I may offer a diagram on how I score my baguettes. The scores are in red and the beginning and ending of each score in blue. Imagine your baguette divided longitudinally into three lanes approximately equal widths. Your scores should stay in that middle lane. Ideally each score should overlap with the next by about ¼ to ⅓. If they don’t overlap the baguette will end up sausage link shaped with lobes. Your blade should be angled at about 30-45* from the surface of the dough. This will give you nice ears.

mlayne's picture
mlayne

with the scoring part of making baguettes.  Your's look very professional and I'm appropriately jealous! 

I try to stay down the middle and only slightly angled right to left; with the blade held at about a 45 degree angle; and about 1/3 overlap; but my slashes always seem to have a mind of their own and roll to the left more often than not.  I decided that I like the 250g baguettes because they fit my smaller Anova oven better than the 330g ones I had been making in my wall oven but I may go back to the wall oven.  

I know there's no substitute for practice so I plan to make up 1k a day of some kind of baguette dough to practice on so I'll have 4 loaves a day to butcher.  Meanwhile, I gave away 3 loaves today that were still warm and yesterday I made bread pudding.  Silver lining to all the excess bread that seems to pop up around here.

Thanks for your help, I appreciate it very much.

Benito's picture
Benito

Nothing beats persistence and practice with baguettes, your two efforts are already showing improvements.  Your plan of baking them regularly will get you to your goals.  Nice to have another baker here interested in baking baguettes.

mlayne's picture
mlayne

Well, I'm not sure what I did wrong this time around.  I used David's San Joachim Sourdough recipe and I'm pretty sure I followed the instructions carefully.  The dough was very slack but I did 3X20 stretch and folds over an hour and a half, followed by 17 hours retarding at about 48dF.  The dough was still extremely slack after its long rest but I let it come to room temp for an hour and then shaped it into 3 baguettes, left them on the couche for 45 minutes and put them in a steamed, 480dF oven for 24 minutes.

Not much oven spring and not much decent color.  The loaves were basically flat and dense.  Photo's show it all.

So now I'm making my tried and true 12h poolish, 63% hydration yeasted baguettes to recover my severely damaged self-esteem and give us something decent to eat tonight and to make croutons for Caesar Salad for Thursday night dinner guests. 

As always, Comments, Criticism, and Snide Remarks are welcome.

Abe's picture
Abe

And I can offer no better. Everyone who has commented in this thread has a lot of experience when it comes to baguettes. I'd follow their advice very closely. 

Not someone who has delved into baguettes myself I just wanted to say this... KISS!

That stands for "Keep It Simple Stupid". Now before you read too much into this seemingly horrible piece of advice it's not meant to be an insult. It's the saying (nothing I can do about that) and I say it often to myself  as a self deprecating piece of advice. 

When something goes wrong then it's best to keep it as simple as possible so one can concentrate on correcting the mistakes before one goes onto anything more complicated or fancy. Then practice that over and over again till it becomes second nature and only then go onto the fancy shmancy stuff. 

If I were to tackle baguettes i'd just do bread flour, water, salt and yeast at a low hydration till i get it perfect. Then I might swap the yeast for sourdough starter and repeat. Once that is perfected then i'd coat the baguettes with seeds. After which perhaps up the hydration etc. 

So that's my comment, positive criticism and a 'mistaken' snide remark. 

mlayne's picture
mlayne

Thanks Abe, I appreciate your chiming in.  I've been working with sourdough for a long time which is why I'm scratching my head about what happened here.  I think I didn't give the levain a long enough rise to get it seriously working.  My "off the rack" poolish based baguettes usually come out fine. In fact my ego savers just came out of the oven.  I seem to struggle with wet dough, unless its focaccia, which for some reason comes out fine.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I probably ran the Bouabsa baguette more than a half dozen times until I started to figure it out, and then moved on from there in baby steps - very slowly.  It took me more than a year of nothing but baguettes 2-3 times a week to become an overnight success.

Abe's picture
Abe

Even a professional musician will take a bar or two they're stuck on and practice it over and over again till perfect. Then they will practice the piece as whole. So one turns the problem into an exercise. If one just practices the whole concerto from beginning to end the whole time it'll never be perfect. But if one takes each mistake out of the piece of music and just concentrates on that the mistake can be corrected.

If it's shaping make a big yeasted dough, keep it in the fridge and everyday take off enough for one baguette and practice. Same can be done for scoring. If it's the ferment then make a big dough and try staggering it till one finds the sweet spot. If it's hydration then slowly work up to where it goes wrong and stick with that. If it's the bake then with each batch alter the bake slightly till one finds what works just right. And so on.

And as you say it can take a long time but from your bakes it sure pays off! 

Benito's picture
Benito

Your baguettes are saying two different things to me.  The external appearance would suggest some over fermentation, that is the lack of the scores opening up and the relative lack of colour.  The profile however and the crumb point to underfermentation.  The crumb appears quite dense without much openness.  

How is your starter’s health and activity and how is your levain?  

It might be more productive for you to get practice in with commercial yeasted baguettes, they ferment so much quicker so you can get more bakes in to learn the harder things like shaping, transferring the dough etc.

mlayne's picture
mlayne

I'm thinking the issue was a lack of levain development and maybe a little excess hydration.  My starter is great, healthy, mature, and active.  IIRC, my levain wasn't showing much activity when I incorporated it into the dough so that's my strong suspect for an accomplice to the crime.  I wetted my hand a lot when doing the stretch and fold 60 times, probably 15 times.  If I incorporated 15-30g additional water that could add 3-6% to the hydration pretty easily.  I suspect this may have contributed to the delinquency of my loaves.

My box standard baguette is 200g of 50/50 poolish with 1g IDY, 500g hi gluten flour, 278g dechlorinated water, 5g IDY and 12g fine sea salt.  I usually correct the dough when I mix it with a little more water or flour as required to get the right kind of tacky feeling dough.  Mix on my KA mixer at 2 for 3 minutes, then 6 minutes or so at 3, then hand knead for 50 or so times on a lightly oiled bench.  Bulk fermentation is about 2 1/2 hours at room temp, proofing is about 90 minutes for 4 each 245g loaves or sometimes 3 each 330g loaves.  Bake at 440dF in my Anova steam oven for 17-18 minutes depending on the size loaf and the color I want the crust to be.  These come out fine. (See photo, left 2 are 450dF @ 18 minutes, right 2 are 440dF @ 17 minutes.)

My problem seems to be with wet doughs. 

Do you suggest that I simply either make a straight dough version with 73% +/- hydration to practice on?  That would certainly speed up the iterations and the neighbors and ducks would love it.  

Benito's picture
Benito

OK that makes sense, the crumb told the story that the issue with underfermentation.  It is easy to want to rush the process but that doens’t usually work out that well when the step rushed is the levain.

If one of the issues with that last set of baguettes was over hydration, why don’t you consider starting lower say 70% that way your dough might be fine if more water is added during folds etc.  You really don’t need high hydration to bake great baguettes.  I learned on lower hydration dough and got great open crumb.  I have gradually increased the hydration over time because my thinking about baguette dough development has evolved over time.

Benny

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

My yeasted version is kneaded very little only about a minute after the extra water and salt are added and then a few coil folds. 
I would recommend losing the oil in your version because it changes the crust.
It just so happens I baked these Bouabsas today.  77% hydration KAAP organic flour A really good baguette flour. Now if I could figure out how to orient the photo. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Wow Don, you haven’t lost your touch, those are outstanding baguettes.

foodforthought's picture
foodforthought

First. Nowadays, if time allows, I run my levain through 3 generations to make sure it’s lively. Process looks like this.

mix - 36 hours: mix 5 g starter with 10 g each, water and flour (Gen 1)

mix - 24 hours: mix Gen 1 with 40 g each, water and flour (Gen 2)

mix - 12 hours: mix Gen 2) with 100 g each, water and flour (Gen 3)

yields ~ 300 g+/- levain. Tweak 2nd, 3rd amounts to increase, reduce yield

Second. No crime in goosing your recipe with up to .5% active dry yeast. I pretty much always use .4% myself.

Cheers,

Phil

mlayne's picture
mlayne

Good ideas.  I'll work up my levain and add in .4% IDY to help things along and see how its working out.  I have 350g of levain working right now; 50g starter, 150g H2O and 150g bread flour.  It's been working for 6 hours so I'll check it out and if its not looking vigorous I'll give it your 3 day boot camp treatment.