The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Flour help - Bagatelle T65

Emmalhair's picture

Flour help - Bagatelle T65

Please help me.

I’ve just moved to France, and without being able to buy any flours I’m used to working with I bought Foricher’s Bagatelle T65 - supposedly the French artisan baguette bakers flour of choice. I’m a fairly seasoned sourdough maker and I just cannot get on with this flour. I used to make doughs in the 80%+ hydration range and I can’t seem to go above 65 with this flour without it falling apart. Every loaf is turning to sludge before it’s risen…I’ve tried autolyse, no autolyse, full gluten development, light gluten development, higher temp and shorter  fermentation time. In an effort to stop it falling apart I’m underprooving it, and trying to push the bulk until I’m happy it’s ready the dough is falling apart, and it’s Incredibly sticky from the off. 

Does anyone have any experience in working with this flour? I made a yeasted focaccia today at around 80% hydration which I kneaded in the stand mixer, and it took forever to develop but it produced a nice bread in the end - but that’s without having to shape it obviously - this flour just seems to hare sourdough, or mine at least! What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

tpassin's picture

The closest I can come is that I have a bag of (imported from France to the US) T65 made by Le Moulin d'Auguste.  I have made sourdough baguettes with it once so far.  I bulked it for 6 hours and proofed for 45 minutes.  Overall hydration was 65%.

The flour acted a little different from typical US flours I've used, and seemed to absorb water differently, but it didn't fall apart and it produced pretty good loaves.  My notes say that "the flour was easy and pleasant to work with".

The distributer wants you to think that this mill produces the best Txx flours in France, being organic, wheat grown locally in Normandy, and by growers carefully selected by the mill, using especially excellent milling techniques.  I know nothing as to whether it really is exceptionally good flour or not. But it seemed fine to me.


tpassin's picture

For comparison, here is the recipe and process I used for the T65 flour I mentioned above. I had no trouble with the dough failing.

- 300g - T65 flour (100%).
- 180g - water (60%).
- 80g - starter (27%) (90% hydration).
- 6g - salt (2%).

overall hydration: ~65%.

- mix all ingredients, rest 40 minutes.
- knead/stretch. Rest 30 minutes.
- S&F.  Rest 30 minutes.
- S&F.  Rest 45 minutes or so.  Into bulk tub. rest 1 hr.
- Coil folds in tub.
- Total bulk ferment time: ~6 hours.
- Divide in 3 pieces, 195g ea.
- Light preform, rest 10 minutes.
- Shape.
- Proof 45 minutes. Preheat oven 450°F.
- Bake on steel with initial steam, temperature to 425°F.
- Total bake time 25 minutes; 450°F last 10 minutes for more browning.


Moe C's picture
Moe C

You say you can't go above 65% hydration without the dough falling apart. What kind of loaf did you get with 65%?

albacore's picture

My experience with French T65 is to aim for 68% - maybe max 70% hydration. I think you are really pushing your luck with 80%, as you have found.

These flours don't have Canadian or American strong wheats added as do some British flours you may have experience with, and so are not as thirsty.

And yes, it seems to be a characteristic of French T65 that it produces a sticky extensible dough - not sure why.

If you are in France, get yourself a membership to and look for some pain au levain recipes there.

As a guide, i will suggest the following:

  • use stiff levain at 50% hydration, short final refresh at 1/1/0.5 just prior to use
  • levain quantity to be half main dough flour quantity
  • bulk time 1 hour (trust me!)


TheBreadMaster's picture

One more tip - pay extra attention to the kneading. This type of flour may need a more gentle and extended kneading to really develop the gluten. Try doing stretch and folds every 30 minutes for the first couple hours of fermentation. That can help strengthen the dough without having to knead the heck out of it in the mixer.

albacore's picture

Which mixer would you recommend for this duty, BreadMaster?

tpassin's picture

KA-260-chatbot edition

onionsoup's picture

You made a focaccia with 80% hydration using yeast and a stand mixer. For baguettes and sourdough breads, you could try adding a small amount of commercial yeast along with the sourdough starter to create a more stable dough structure.