Quest for Great Baguette

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Baguette - Experiments 1 to 3

posted Sep 17, 2011, 6:42 AM by Jenny Loh   [ updated Nov 1, 2011, 5:19 AM ]
The 1st 3 attempts are still not up to mark,  more work required.

Baguette Experiment 1
Experiment 1:  16 September 2011
28 degrees celsius

This was based on a modification of my first few attempts of baguette, and the recipe was made up by myself.

200g Plain Flour - Gold Medal
50g Bread Flour - Golden Statue
5g Yeast
5g Salt
165g Water

7.30pm Mix and autolyse for 15 mins.  Knead for 7 mins and for 30 mins
8.20pm 1st Stretch and fold - the dough felt sticky
9.20pm 2nd stretch and fold - the dough still felt a little sticky
10.20pm Cut dough into half and fold into rectangle, rest for 15 mins
10.35pm Shape and fridge
6.10am Bring dough out of fridge,  preheat oven,  preset mode at 260 degree celsius. The dough was a little hard and didn't rise much.  I think it was the way it is placed. It was placed on a couche on a baguette holder,  that can hold a 250g. Mine was a 150g dough.  
7.10am Pour boiled water onto stones
7.30am Score loaf and load into oven on upper deck. Bake for 20 mins at 240 degree celsius.
7.50am Leave door ajar for 5 mins.

Conclusion:  Colour was more yellow than white, I think its the bread flour.  The taste is good, as this time there's enough salt.  However,  I don't like this because its too chewy, and the crust is too thick.  The loaf didn't bloom as much and the bottom of the loaf is fair, doesn't look at baked. I think the temperature in the oven is not hot enough.  

Improvement:  
1.  Need to knead more - to get the stronger gluten
2.  Couche - need a better support to the dough
3.  Shaping - need to be more gentle,  shaped to tightly,  lost all the big bubbles
4.  Temperature - use a thermometer to read the temperature of oven
5.  Water - put water only in after loading loaf,  and take out after 10 mins.






Experiment 2 - 17 September 2011
Classic French - Peter Reinhart
680g Bread Flour (local HK flour)
14g Salt
7g Yeast
454 Water

This is the 2nd attempt,  with a different recipe and method.  Reinhart's recipe is usually pretty good.

12.25pm Mix all together with handheld 1 min at speed 1.  Rest for 5 minutes,  and knead for 2 mins by hand.  Rest for 5 mins and knead for 5 mins by hand. Leave to rise for 1 hour.
1.45pm Stretch and fold
3.25pm Cut into 4 pieces, fold into rectangular shape and rest for 10 mins. Shape 2 loaf into baguette and the other 2 pieces into boules. Meanwhile,  heat up the oven at 250 degree celsius,  and using forced air mode.
4.50pm Score bread and load dough,  followed by water in pan with lava stones. After 10 mins,  remove the stones,  drop temperature to 230 degree celsius and use conventional mode.
5.10pm  Keep door ajar for 5mins

Conclusion:  This is a much easier dough to handle as it is not as sticky as experiment 1.  The dough rose nicely.  This is with slightly more open crumb, slightly less chewy and slightly thinner crust. It bloomed nicely, 3x bigger than the dough that I loaded in. However,  this is still not the light crispy baguette that I'm looking for. Still too chewy to the taste.

Improvement: 
1.  Taste - slightly salty,  lessen salt.
2.  Crumbs - be more patient,  retard as per Reinhart's methodology or stretch and fold more times.
3.  Temperature need to be adjusted to be lower, the bread is burnt.





Experiment 3 - 25 September 2011
Classic French - Peter Reinhart (half the amount)

This is the 3rd attempt.

9,00am Mix and rest
9,15am Knead
9.25am 1st rise
10.30am Stretch and fold
11.30am Stretch and fold
12.30pm Cut and fold
12.45pm Shape and fridge after 1/2 hour
7.15pm   Start to heat oven at 250 degree celsius,  using the convection oven mode
7.45pm   Take bread out from fridge
8.15pm   Load bread into oven  and steam, after 10 mins,  take the lava rocks out. Drop temperature to 230 degree celsius. After 11 mins, off. Keep the door ajar for 5 mins.

Improvement:
1.  Crust - still too thick, need more steam.
2.  Crumbs - this time is more open but still not open enough,  need to be gentler in shaping.
3.  Taste - good but a little chewy,  perhaps need to change to plain flour instead of using bread flour.
4.  Oven - 3 of the loaves are a little too flat,  I think its the way I've placed the loaves,  parallel to the oven fan,  the outer loaves just doesn't rise that much. 






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