Wednesday, November 9, 2011

sufferin' baguettes

i hate baguettes. don't get me wrong. i mean, i love baguettes, but they're time consuming and needy, and insanely good. now that i've gone all sybil and confused you, i do promise that i will no longer bore you with another baguette post (after this), but i had to experiment with a few things before i moved on. and so i did.

i've discovered a few things about myself with this bout. one thing i've learned is that i'm really bad at eye-balling. some of my baguettes were as thin as a pinkie, the others were fat as, i don't know, just think of something non-PC. to boot, some were a combination of skinny and fat. wtf?!

i really should weigh from now on. which brings me to another thing that ive learned about myself: i'm a lazy baker. weighing the dough sounded exhausting. and here's the funny thing, i even did the math first, dividing the total weight of the dough by 8 to make 8 baguettes. then i looked at my scale and was overcome by exhaustion. but with good reason! (see why, just below, and you may just feel exhausted too).

i must say, i am pleased with the crust of these babies. full caramelization realized, crispy, brittle, delicious. i ate one warm with an avocado and it almost brought me to my knees. i'm not being dramatic. you know what i'm talking about, when you bite into a warm baguette and it tastes almost buttery? yeah. that flavor that reminds you why you started baking at all.

this time i did exactly as Chad said we should, well, except for the water issue. i had to add more in order to get the ball rolling in the right direction (sorry Chad! i still love you!)

i didn't add whole wheat flour this time. come on. who was i kidding. the 50g that i added two posts ago did not really add enough fiber to turn these baguettes into health food. who gives a blip about health food anyway. where's that second avocado? i also did the poolish at room temp, like Chad says we should. and here's where i suffered.

in order to time the levain and the poolish to finish at the same time, i had to start the levain at 11 am, the poolish at 3:30, which didn't allow me to shape the baguettes until after midnight. it was an all day and into the night affair. these baguettes were worse than a needy boyfriend, the one where you want to say just. go. HOME (and frankly, never come back).

i was already fast asleep when the bulk-fermented dough screamed at me from the kitchen to wake up and turn it into something. i wasn't happy about it, but i did. and this is what came of it.

sufferin' baguettes


200g h2o
200g KA AP flour
15g active rye starter

200g h2o
200g KA AP flour
3g active dry yeast

all of the levain
all of the poolish
600g + 50g h2o
650g KA AP
350g KA bread flour
25g salt

-levain 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
-poolish at 3:30 pm - 7:00 pm
-mix together levain, poolish, 600g of water & the flour, autolyse 40 minutes
-add salt + 50g water
-4 hour bulk fermentation with 4 series of turns (one every 40 minutes for the first 2 hours 40 minutes), ferment for the remaining 1 hour 20 minutes
-divide, loose shape and bench rest 30 minutes
-shape and refrigerate overnight (9 hours)
-preheat to 500 degrees with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven
-bake till brown (first 16 minutes with steam injected every 4 minutes) at 475 degrees


crust: ummm, kick ass. my french friend francois swooned. i got the birds eye bubbles all over the crust. crumb: uber open, great gelatinization. nice and chewy. flavor: phenomenal. i loved the overnight proof. ease of handling dough: simple.  notes & changes: stick to active dry yeast. fast acting is just plain nuts.

to the staff of life!

this charming post was shuttled off to wild yeast blog's yeast spotting.
all formulae in this post are derivative of those found in the tartine bread book. i urge you to get a copy for yourself.


  1. yummy looking breads...You are a your writing style!
    You have me smiling the whole way through...

  2. thanks weekend loafer! i love your blog too ; )

  3. Just found you through Susan.

    I got the book, cooked the bread, omg! It was so good. I cannot eat gluten anymore so I stopped making it, but it was delicious!

    Your baguettes are beautiful if not all the same size. Great job and fantastic photos.

  4. thanks Laura! that sucks about the gluten though :(

  5. So wonderful! and if Francois says they are perfect, then.......

    I am flummoxed as to how to make an active rye many recipies on the web.

    Is there a good source?

    Thank you. I visit you daily and am making the tuscan soup this weekend!

  6. When you say inject with steam..what do you mean?

    1. I'm wondering the same thing. Did you ever find out what that means? My baguette making try was a big flop yesterday and I learned from his suggestions to make sure the poolish doesn't get ahead of the leaven (which happened to me) and to add some more hydration (100g + 50g with the salt). But, I'm not sure without the steam whether it will be as good. I tried the saturated kitchen towel trick and it did generate alot of steam but also nearly started a fire

    2. Just use a squirting bottle and squirt in some mist. Worked great for me.



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