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Boules, Baguettes and Batards, Oh My


weinoo
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What Temperature are you baking the baguettes?  Also please correct me if i am wrong from anyone but why is there sugar in the formula?   I agree with Dave W, King Aurthur has a really good baguette recipe using a poolish which you should try.  Adding steam to  the oven also helps with adding a good crust to the bread.

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When I was making baguettes an overnight poolish was a critical component. The texture simply won't even be close without it. The dough recipe itself is simple: AP flour, water, yeast and salt by weight.

 

Steam in the oven during the first 5 minutes helps a lot. I'd throw a cup-full of water in before closing the door.

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you mentioned you have 8 to sell for the weekend: are they baked already? It's Tuesday!

From a purists perspective Lisa is right: what you've made with sugar and oil and spices added isn't technically a baguette. Baguette is classified by the dough and not by the shape. In France, anyway.

Edited by Dave W (log)
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LoB -

 

methinks you got off on a bad foot assuming the shape made the bread.  as mentioned, "classic B's" don't have sugar or fats.  sugar makes a bread retain moisture, fats make the crumb softer - neither is a good thing for the classic definition - but that does not mean it can't make a good bread.

 

the spices/herbs are not going to change things except flavors....

 

I second the motion of get a scale and weigh things.  dump the cups, go with the digital and work by feel.

 

I don't need to second the issue of flour is not flour is not flower as you've already learned that lesson. 

they all react differently, they hydrate differently, some experimenting required - then stick with it.  I've been using KA Bread flour for decades and I ain't about to change - I've found it to be consistent.  which you may not find in the supermarket brand - since they buy flour based on who is offering flour at the least dollars/ton, typically not any serious specifications.  yes, brands cost more.  the alternative is frequently very expensive bird food - not that the birds don't appreciate it - but it's a lesson to learn.

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As recommended by others, do get an accurate scale if you don't have one.

 

For the past few years I have directed novice bakers to  this site  for learing how to successfully bake French bread.  The pictorial tutorial is very helpful. 

This illustrates the handling, shaping and slashing of the shorter batard but once formed you can stretch it out for the longer baguette - just shorten the baking time by about 5 minutes. 

 

Flour, salt, yeast and water.  

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Hmmm...It may be the photo, but those slashes look like 90-degree cuts. A classic baguette is slashed with shallow cuts for the entire length of the loaf. The slashes are angled and overlap each other a little. The purpose of slashing is to release gases during baking and produce an even shape in the loaf.

 

I was taught to slash at 15-degree angle from the surface by an old-school French baker. This website says 20-30 degrees.
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10121/bread-scoring-tutorial-updated-122009

 

A lame requires practice to get it right. I use a straight-edge razor. I've seen skilled bakers use a sharp chef's knife for slashing. Slashing is more about skill than equipment, IMO.

 

Good flour is important but knowing proper fermentation is key. That's where the big flavor in your breads will come from. I once attended a demo by Peter Reinhart. He said (to paraphrase): "If you taste some raw flour, what does it taste like? (Pause) Flour. Most flours taste about the same. Fermentation is the reason breads taste so good."

 

I use King Arthur bread flour most of the time. Central Milling sells superb organic flour when I can get my hands on it. I used to buy it at a local Costco when I was a member there.
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21720/availability-central-milling-co-flour

 

good luck with your future breadbaking! Learning how to make a good baguette is demanding but rewarding.

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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Hmmm...It may be the photo, but those slashes look like 90-degree cuts. A classic baguette is slashed with shallow cuts for the entire length of the loaf. The slashes are angled and overlap each other a little. The purpose of slashing is to release gases during baking and produce an even shape in the loaf.

 

I was taught to slash at 15-degree angle from the surface by an old-school French baker. This website says 20-30 degrees.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10121/bread-scoring-tutorial-updated-122009

 

A lame requires practice to get it right. I use a straight-edge razor. I've seen skilled bakers use a sharp chef's knife for slashing. Slashing is more about skill than equipment, IMO.

 

Good flour is important but knowing proper fermentation is key. That's where the big flavor in your breads will come from. I once attended a demo by Peter Reinhart. He said (to paraphrase): "If you taste some raw flour, what does it taste like? (Pause) Flour. Most flours taste about the same. Fermentation is the reason breads taste so good."

 

I use King Arthur bread flour most of the time. Central Milling sells superb organic flour when I can get my hands on it. I used to buy it at a local Costco when I was a member there.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21720/availability-central-milling-co-flour

 

good luck with your future breadbaking! Learning how to make a good baguette is demanding but rewarding.

I've long been a fan of King Arthur bread flour and I use it on a regular basis.

 

A bit over a year ago a friend brought me a bag of Rogers flour from Canada - 13% protein - which performed beautifully for artisan breads - I usually do boules instead of baguettes because they suit my needs better.

 

Last spring I ordered some "Ultimate Performer" unbleached organic flour from Giusto's - (13 to 14.5% protein)  I used it in some breads that are usually very dense and heavy - loaded with seeds and nuts, sprouted grains, legumes, dried fruits, etc., and the results were beyond my expectations - a lighter, move open crumb but with all of the flavors I wanted.

I got a 30# bag and when I became ill, it was obvious I wasn't going to use it all (before it staled) so I gave the bulk of it to a friend who owns a bakery/cafe and he was very enthusiastic about it for  the "German hard rolls" he bakes specially for a long-time customer.  Those rolls require a "strong" flour to achieve the thin but hard crust and open crumb. 

I don't recall if I used it to make French bread, mainly because that wasn't on my agenda at the time as I was concentratiing on getting a lighter result in those heavy breads.  (Ezekiel bread was one.  Limpa rye was another and was exceptional.)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Hi KoB

 

Fair play to you for putting up the recipe and photos. I won't add anything more because you are getting maybe too much advice already and I don't want to complicate it any further.

 

Just keep at it!

 

Mick

Mick Hartley

The PArtisan Baker

bethesdabakers

"I can give you more pep than that store bought yeast" - Evolution Mama (don't you make a monkey out of me)

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the "slashes" in the second pix are not knifed - they appear to be 90' snips by scissors / kitchen shears.  a not un-common technique for loaves,

 

the collapse of the crust at the snips indicates a soft dough thing - consistent with added sugar and oils.

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Wow, you have no idea how frustrating it is to read all your messages all day long and unable to talk back!!!

I am very humble in the responses and feedback.

So just to be clear, basically, I'm trying to create a very unique different taste... I understand and with out disrespecting the "baguette" maybe I should say baguette style bread...

I am that type of guy in the kitchen that always seems to make good food. I've been told when my food is eaten, they know it came from my hands...

I do some pretty cool stuff like for example being Armenian... I love making Manti, Armenian Ravioli... And yup I make it from scratch.. Call the dough roll it out and make 100's of meat stuffers... Anyway....

This "Baguette" my goal is to really be unique and one of a kind, I'm trying to follow the basics in the recipe but I add a little more of my touch in to it... Specifically the added herbs for that special taste.

As mentioned in my OP, although they don't look the best as I am still trying to learn on shaping them properly, they were turning out perfect, delicious and as the way I wanted them to be.... regarding taste... As I mentioned, I'm also selling them and have quite a few to make for this weekend.

The only thing I changed was flour, and I'm wondering how to adapt to it. Or I'll just go back to the all purpose.

I preheat 500, and bake it for 15 to 20 min max.

I keep a pot of water on the bottom rack (steams up well and gets the job done).

I'm so tired. Sorry if I rambled on this whole post has been compiled through out the day. Just waiting to be allowed to press send...

And yes, I made more tonight for a order I was supposed to deliver this morning... But last nights order was a disaster.

Here's a pic of tonights making..!!

Don't hate me for the 1st image [emoji16][emoji16][emoji16]

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SATISFIED!!!! And I know it will taste great... My client should be happy!!

3b8b829bca6265671d18ff3b4fb9c76f.jpg

1 week today I'm doing this. I love it.

Edited by KingofBaguette (log)
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A nice effort! If you're interested in cutting with scissors, consider making an epi (or wheat sheaf loaf). Here:
http://bakerbettie.com/how-to-make-epi-bread/

 

People like this shape because it has plenty of crust, and they can tear off a handy piece for a dinner roll. Pretty to look at, too. If you've messed up shaping a baguette, you can salvage it by turning it into an epi. That's how I learned to make it. :wink:

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I think the high protein flour is really overrated and also the big holes. French make perfectly fine baguettes (and breads) with lower protein flours. Kingofbaguette, you are doing better and better. With some practice you'll make great baguettes.

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Well, I'm at it again, back to the Robin Hood flour... Hopefully the results will be better then Monday's batch and look a lot like last nights using AP Flour.

I still have not learned how to adapt to using different flours. How ever this time around, lol, I did not forget any ingredients.[emoji38][emoji12]

Edited by KingofBaguette (log)
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Ok.... Fail again tonight....

I have 2 questions.

1. I went from AP flour to Robin Hood flour... Didn't like Robin Hood flour and now I switched to AP flour non bleached...

Is there anything I need to know about switching from one flour to another???

Mind you, the end result has been the same regardless which flour I've used, cause I've continued to sell bread every single day for the last 2 weeks.

2. TONIGHTS EPIC FAIL....

Exact same recipe except tonight I had double the orders to make.... So for the 1st time ever, I simply doubled up on every single ingredients I use. 1 1/2 cups water to 3 cups water... 1 1/12 tsp yeast to 3tsp yeast 4 cups flour to 8 cups flour.... Blah blah blah.......

So I mixed everything... Please keep in mind I do EVERYTHING by hand, I do not own a mixer, and then threw a towel over it and let it sit for 2 hours as I usually do.... 2 hours later it's doubled in size... Except, it's literally like SUPERGLUE!!! All the other times yes it's sticky tacky but with floured hands and bench flour I am able to manipulate it with ease... Not tonight, to the point I had to scrape it off the counter and roll it right in to the ............................ GARBAGE!!!

- did I not mix it enough by hand?

- should it have sat longer?

- or maybe [emoji16][emoji16] I only put 6 cups of flour as I sit here typing and trying to remember how much flour I actually did use..... Shit!!! I don't know.

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Nope, never done any testing, never followed anything really. Just had the urge to make bread two weeks ago, I was bored, went to the kitchen and made a bread baguette style. Have not stopped since then.

When do you do this test? After mixing everything? Prior to letting it sit and rise for the first time? It's so so so sticky after the mixing, I can't imagine holding it in my hands.

Edited by KingofBaguette (log)
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Since you are mixing by hand, you might want to do a search on stretch and folds -  it adds some time to the process, but takes less work than kneading, and you will soon develop a good feel for how well developed the structure is.    Here is one clip I just found from a quick search, you can see the improvement in the dough from a few stretch and folds.  I normally do 4 spaced about 20 minutes apart.  Also, I don't put it back in the bowl each time,  I just invert the bowl over the dough between folds.  

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Interesting, thanks, but it was super super sticky, u think it's simply just because I didn't mix it enough, or I still think I might have been short by 2 cups of flour.

Stretch and fold... I do do this, usually after its initial raise, and last night.... Regardless how much flour I kept adding to my bench and hands it was ridiculously sticking to the point I had to use a scraper to peel everything off to put it in the garbage.

I think I was short on flour.

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While it sounds to me as though you may have been lacking a fair bit of flour, it is important to develop a 'feel' for the 'batter' consistency, etc. (which I have no doubt you will do if you stick to this for a while) even if you get the amount of flour correct for your recipe.

 

Flour can take up humidity as it sits so even using the same flour, time after time, can cause variations in the amount you need to add to achieve consistency in the final product. In other words, in my experience, bread recipes are just a guide (although the amount required on a humid vs dry day or with flour that has taken up moisture would probably never vary by as much as a cup, much less 2).

 

You certainly are entrepreneurial - selling bread when you really don't have much experience with making it. I doubt many of us would try that. Good luck with your new enterprise.

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That's a great response. Thank you. I figured even thou it's been two weeks, I realize with more time I should simply know by the touch if I'm short or not.

As for the entrepreneurial part of it lol........

You see.... I had no intentions for selling them, I work full time managing fedex in my district. I brought a baguette to work the day after I made it shared it... Since then, I have not stopped. It took 1 person to say how much you want for one... At that point..... I was happy. I've sold about 30 to date.... It's been 3 weeks tomorrow I believe.

I've cancelled maybe an easy 20 orders cause I simply can not keep up with the demand.

Edited by KingofBaguette (log)
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kb -

you asked about different flours... different "grades" AP/bread/etc have different gluten levels - that is the obvious bit.  what is less obvious is there is no (legal) or even rigorous conventional definition for how much gluten a flour contains to be "called" pastry/cake/AP/bread/etc.

this means that - for example - KA All Purpose can easily have more gluten than a store brand "bread flour"

 

gluten is a protein, one can estimate gluten content from the label protein % - I think (working from memory here...) the gluten % is about 0.8 of the total protein content.

I have this on file as a 'general guideline'
8-10%     Pastry Flour
10-11.5%     All-Purpose Flour
11-13%     Bread Flour
14% and up     High-Gluten Flour

the next problem is the issue of skipping from brand to brand and thinking the differences are easily learned and controlled.  this is not true.  different brands use different wheat types, mill finer or less fine, etc - many many things that affect how flour absorbs moisture and 'acts' in use - not only 'gluten'

if you would like to develop some consistency in your bread baking, I would highly recommend you pick a flour and stick with it, _weigh_ your ingredients and keep notes.  developing "a feel" is a wonderful goal - but do realize for different breads the "feel" is not going to be the same - some types are right cotton picking sticky-sticky-sticky.

the concept of missing 2-3 cups of flour on a batch of 3-4 loaves basically indicates you're into a guessing game.  some times it will work, sometimes - as you'v experienced - it doesn't work.

 

since you're selling bread made at home, it would be very wise to consult your state's regulation on cottage industries.  many states allow the sale of home made stuff like bread, but nothing that is refrigerated (for example) - other states prohibit the whole deal.

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KOB you seem intent on disregarding the very apt advice given to you in this thread. If you have any desire to ramp up production you simply must get scales otherwise you won't have truly consistent results. you don't have the experience in dough handling to do it without weights.

Weights are the great equalizer. A 80% hydrated dough will behave very similarly whether it's bread flour, or bleached all purpose flour. With cups measurements this behavior is impossible to know in advance.

Since you have commercial ambitions I would say this: It's one thing to tweak 1000g of dough on the fly, but handling 5000g or 10000g of over hydrated dough is not the same thing.

when handling a very wet dough, water will prevent sticking to your hands even better than flour will.

I have no doubt that you'd come to the same conclusions yourself given enough time.

Invest in some huge cambros or dough lugs and you will be able to keep up with demand no problem, all the hard work of baguette making is done for you by time and fermentation. Your hands are merely a guide.

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