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The perfect baguette

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
So we cut off ordering bread for the restaurant and I'm set out to make the perfect baguette. I have a recipe, I have a starter, I have the prefect crust and the perfect flavor, but I don't have the holes of varying sizes in my baguette. Ya know, like the characteristic of ciabatta, but not ciabatta. A holey crumb, but baguette holey. Do I just have to make the dough wetter? I think I've tried it, but it doesn't do much. The loaves proof in the walk in overnight +, so I don't think I have to proof it longer. It would get too sour anyway. Should I be more gentle when I shape them? The majority of the rise is after it's shaped, so I don't know if that's the problem. I'm getting grief because it's not "holey" enough. I think they are perfect, but I guess not. Any advice from the breadies?
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #2 of 8
for a good holey texture, work with soft touch when forming into loaves. also keep hydration high. try a shorter mixing / kneading time. you want the gluten to form but not be too strong and organized when it forms. it needs and irregular gluten formation to get larger irregular holes.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'll try that today.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #4 of 8
keep the long slow proof also
post #5 of 8
when I want the big spaces i just let the dough come togehter without developing. It's a little messy on the make up but it gets the final product right.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #6 of 8
Getting an open crumb with a shorter knead time makes sense to me and I have used that method with success. However, if you look up Danielle Forestier she does a segment on "Baking With Julia" where it seems like she beats the crap out of her dough and still produces an open crumb. Besides hydration levels, I wonder if oven spring plays a significant role in creating an open crumb too? I'm not saying either way is right or wrong... Just an observation.


Oh, and I would post links the videos but you have to have atleast five posts to post links. :crazy:
post #7 of 8
i have an awesome bread book called "bread", forget the name of the author. but they talk about a method of mixing called autolyse method, where the flour, water, poolish/starter is combined in the mixer just until everything is combined to a shaggy mess. the dough is then covered and allowed to sit for 20-60 mins, where the flour granules hydrate and even though there is no mechanical development of gluten, there are gluten strands forming.

after 20-60 mins, yeast (if using) and salt are sprinkled over top and mixed at medium speed for about 2 mins. you will see that the dough comes together surprisingly well. then proof the dough and proceed as usual. if you are using a pate fermentee, add it when you add the yeast. only when you use a poolish or natural starter should it be added at the beginning, cuz you need the water to get the dough to come together.

please make sure you adjust your hydration levels in the beginning when just combining the ingredients. because when you use this method, the dough in the end develops rather quickly and hydration cannot be adjusted.. you dont want to over mix your dough!

the book explains this autolyse method very well and i've used it when i made a natural starter bread once and got lots of nice holes. i'm sure you can google it and read more on it. i really hope this helps and be sure to post again and let us know of your results.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies!

I actually tried a recipe using the autolyse method without any starter/yeast in it at all. It was very very wet like ciabatta, but it was a deliciously sweet tasting baguette with a wonderful texture. However, that recipe/schedule was not suitable for our kitchen. It was very needy (no pun intended. HA!). Anyway, I'm not there anymore so I'm not sure what they are doing now but when I left, the best baguettes were produced when the dough was more dry then wet, not overworked, and the fans were on low when baked. It made a nice golden crust. Not sure why, but it worked.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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