Baguettes

Roopa

The last time I tried to make baguettes was a little bit of a mess. I had forgotten some of the techniques I learned in pastry school, which are fairly important when making baguettes. I also didn’t have anything resembling a couche and used strategically placed ladles and towels. Needless to say, that was an inadequate replacement and I ended up with more of a loaf than a baguette. My baking challenge group decided on baguette week, which was a good redemption opportunity. I got a couche and watched some youtube videos, and was super happy with how these turned out.

Here is a rough timing breakdown so you can pace appropriately. It will vary a little bit but should give you a decent sense of how long things will take. The active working steps are in bold.

DAY 1:
5 minutes: combine ingredients

DAY 2:
20 minutes: combine ingredients
1 hour: proof
5 minutes: punch down dough
30 minutes: rest
5-10 minutes: stretch and tighten
20 minutes: rest
5-10 minutes: shape baguettes
45 minutes: proof
20 minutes: bake (400 F)

INGREDIENTS

  • 170 g bread flour (poolish)
  • 170 mL water (poolish)
  • 1 g fresh yeast (poolish)
  • 420 g bread flour
  • 12 fresh yeast
  • 250 mL water
  • 12 g salt
  • 5 g malt syrup

DIRECTIONS

  1. On day one, combine the poolish ingredients by hand. Cover, and let ferment at room temperature for 10 – 15 hours.
  2. On day two, create a flour fountain with the yeast, poolish, and water inside. Mix together until gluten is developed, and create a boule. Allow to rest until doubled in size.
  3. Mix together using the “punch down” technique (scoop from right side, throw down, stretch, fold, repeat) until the gluten is developed. Allow to rest for another half hour.
  4. Form the dough into a rectangle, and stretch and tighten into a log shape. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Stretch and tighten the dough again, and roll into a baguette shape.
  6. Place into a linen roll to hold shape until doubled.
  7. Put slices into top of baguette
  8. Bake at ~400 F with steam

Notes:

  • Here is a useful video on shaping baguettes
  • I ended up using 3 g of instant dry yeast to adjust for altitude
  • I used ovaltine instead of malt syrup


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