More Baguettes

by A.J. Coltrane

I’m finally getting comfortable enough with the baguettes to bring them places and introduce them to friends.

150305 breads

That’s a No Knead on the left that I lightly slashed a couple of times. It wound being a fairly attractive example of the type.

I made six baguettes altogether, in two batches of three. The pictured breads are the from the first batch. The 2nd batch was more irregular and was quietly sliced and served in baskets.

I used a “poolish” when making the baguettes — 200 grams of water and 200 grams of bread flour were combined a day ahead of time and allowed to sit at room temperature. That’s done to allow enzymes time to break starches down into sugars, and in theory it helps the structure of the finished product.

The next day I added the poolish to the mixer, along with an additional 200 grams of bread flour, 52 grams of water, 8 grams of kosher salt, and one teaspoon of instant yeast. (That’s 63% hydration, 2% salt, and a normal amount of yeast for a 2-hour rise. Pretty standard.)

The dough was allowed to rise for an hour,  then was divided and shaped into baguette shapes. After another 45 minutes of rising the doughs went into a preheated 450F oven for 22 minutes. I tried adding steam but I don’t think that I used enough water/surface area to have much impact — there wasn’t much steam going on. Overall the whole structure of the baguettes wasn’t very “open”.

Still, the breads were well received, and I got at the three relatively photogenic baguettes out of the deal, so I’ll call that a win.

I think the next real breakthrough will come when I get a better handle on the steam thing.

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