Trying My Hand At Baguettes

I’m good with making Baking Machine bread. I’m good at making loaf pans of bread. I’ve even made decent Raisin Bread. (Basically, make the loaf pan bread dough, roll out about 3/8 inch thick, sprinkle with a good layer of cinnamon and sugar, press in raisins in a solid layer, roll it up and bake). I even made an OK no risers Prepper Flat Bread for if you run out of yeast. And an OK Prepper Irish Soda Bread, if you have baking soda.

So far, La Baguette has eluded me…

I’m pretty sure that’s because, in the past, I’ve used “all purpose flour” or / and I’ve used “my usual” bread mix that includes added fat (oil) in the mix. Baguettes have no oil in them. Makes the crumb and crust different. Combine that with less protein and you don’t get a baguette, you get a long skinny loaf of so-so bread.

Oh, and you need water in the bottom of the oven if you like a crusty baguette.

As my scale has died (battery run low after a decade or two…) I’m resorting to using volume measures. This recipe uses volume, so OK…

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/7028/french-baguettes/

Basically you mix the dry goods together:

2 1/2 cups bread flour ( 600 ml ), 1 Tbl spoon sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp dry yeast.

That gets 1 cup of water added and mixed in a bread maker / mixer. Then the usual rise, punch down, form loaf, rise cycle.

A bit of water and egg used for an egg wash if you like that glossy finish.

375 F / 190 C for 20 to 25 minutes.

Food Network has a trendy / cutesy recipe with corn meal (to which I’m allergic) and honey and other “look, we’re special!” ingredients (like ice cubes… unlikely those were on French farms in the 1600s…)

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/homemade-french-baguettes-2042510

So I’m not using them as my starting point…

King Arthur Baking has a nice one:

https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/classic-baguettes-recipe

Looks good for long lockdowns low on yeast as it makes a poolish or yeast starter out of 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup water to which only 1/16 tsp of dry yeast is added. Mix and let rise overnight (14 hours).

But I want to make bread NOW, not in 14 hours. Plus I just ran out of my last big block of yeast and so (after about a decade?) bought another 2 lb block (for $5) at COSTCO. I’ve now got something like 5 jars of 1 cup each (250 ml) of dry yeast, all but one in the freezer, and I’ve got yeast for years and years again…

Oddly, even with the starter, they put 1.5 tsp of more dry yeast in the bread mix. Go figure… Add a cup + 2 Tbs of water (255 gm) and 3.5 cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour (did the French really use A.P. flour? I don’t think so…) with 2 tsp salt.

Usual rise and form loaves. 450 F oven, 1.5 cups hot water in the bottom for crusty bits, and bake 24 to 28 minutes.

Some Integration Done

Integrating that sample a bit… it looks like sugar is optional but does get the yeast going. Temperature can run 350 to 450 F (and likely 325 to 500 F) without too much variation in timing.

Flour is a little variable to kind. Maybe. No added oil or fats. Salt at about a spare 1/2 tsp /cup of flour. (Maybe 4 ml / 250 ? for metric?)

I think I can do that.

For my first effort, I’m going to concentrate on the shaping and baking steps. I’ve got a LOT of bread flour, so using it, and I have a 1/2 gallon of whole wheat flour that needs using up, and I like whole wheat, so I’m going to put a little bit in the test loaves. (Yeah, it won’t have quite the texture and taste of classic baguette, but these are test loaves and may end up fed to the dogs for all I know. I’d rather use some ‘lesser lights’ flour that needs to be used up for the test cases, then when I reach “polish the skills and product” stage, swap to the better bread flour 100%)

I’m very familiar with dough that had an added adjunct to smooth the crumb, like potato powder / flakes. So to separate “processing” from “ingredients” issues, my first loaf will use that mix style. That way I can tell how much “mix” changes the product vs “process and shape”.

Initial mix:

1/2 cup Whole Wheat flour
1/2 cup Instant Mashed Potato “flour”
1 1/2 cups Bread Flour
1 Tbls sugar
1 Tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast.
1 1/4 cup ( 10 oz) water. (I’d originally put in 1 cup but it was very dry)

Into the bread maker on “mix and rise” only.

After that’s done (about an hour more) I’ll do the whole punching down, making loaves, baking part. Likely 350 F / 25 min. With a pie pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven. About a cup.

I’m not doing an egg wash. Why? Blowing an egg per test isn’t my idea of frugal AND I like the softer crust breads anyway. Once it’s working well, I’ll do ONE loaf with the full wash and steam just to prove I can get there, but ‘heavily crusty’ isn’t a big feature for us.

Once I’ve got decent shape loaves coming out, and have the process working, I’ll try a batch of 100% ( 2.5 cups) bread flour.

Anyone with experience at baguettes, toss rocks at what I’m doing, apply Clue Stick liberally, and tell me how I ought to be doing it! ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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27 Responses to Trying My Hand At Baguettes

  1. Karen Leonard says:

    An interesting set of ingredients there. I’m sure it’s good, but it’s not baguette. Baguette and barra (Spain) are the same dough, just shaped differently. My go-to recipe is from Bo Friberg’s THE PROFESSIONAL PASTRY CHEF. Page 74 in my copy. He makes 2 paragraphs of info of the legal rules for baguette in France. Then he gives an ingredient list that ignores those rules. Ignore his additions. Use ONLY bread flour, salt, yeast and water. My batch generally is a bit bigger than his half batch. 2 pounds bread flour, 2 tsp salt, about a tablespoon of the freeze dried yeast, and wrist temperature water. I store flour in the freezer so I always need extra water. Proof the yeast in the first cup of water. (Use water the temperature your grandma used for baby bottles, just put your wrist under the tap and when you can’t feel it the temperature is right.) Put the dough hook onto your stand mixer. Put the flour and salt in the mixer, run it a bit to mix. Add water “as needed” and run mixer until the dough is all in a same textured clump that follows the hook around the bowl. This is the first kneading, if you’re counting. Grease a big bowl with some olive oil, put the dough in and flip it over so the oil keeps it from drying out. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. If you use a dish towel your spouse will put out a contract on you, that never comes out. Rise. When you’re about to punch down, set oven on 400F. Punch down and form loaves. Let them rise. Oven gets hot about when loaves are ready, at least in South Texas. *Put a pie pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven* when you put the loaves in at the middle.* Set time for about 10 minutes. Take out water, close door and continue to bake until done, 20 or 30 minutes depending on your loaves. Cool on rack. When fully cool, freeze what you can’t use in 24 hours–ziplock is your friend–if it’s only been 2 days you can still use it for garlic soup or pain perdu. (French bread)
    The steam trick is how the lovely crunchy crust forms. If your grocery sells “pan frances” with a soft crust, it’s not actually French bread. I always rap the baguettes at the grocery to see if they’re properly baked with the steam, sometimes they get a newb in who doesn’t turn on the steam gizmos and the baguette shape loaves are just plain white bread.
    Enjoy.
    ps why does your comment gizmo not recognize the URL of my blog?

  2. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Well, first try out of the oven. Looks “OK’ but with some lessons learned.

    1) I jumped it up to 375 at about the 1/2 way point. Not browning fast enough. Oddly, at 350, my loaf bread was browning too much. Why? Likely the sugar in the loaf bread and that it cooks a lot longer (40 minutes, being fatter).

    2) With no “wash”, the loaf has a flour dusty coating from rolling it up on a lightly floured surface. I don’t mind that, but it isn’t quite my idea of Baguette. So, OK, some kind of wash is a good idea. Be it egg for crusty or butter for soft or just a water wash to rid the flour powder.

    3) I forgot to do the slash bit. Still rose OK, but would be fluffier had I done that. Degree of actual fluffy lost TBD when cooled and cut.

    4) I got the shape more or less right… the “less” being a somewhat “irregular” shape. One with a bit of ‘wiggle’ in it, the other with some variation in diameter beyond the ignorable. OK, if it isn’t a RECTANGLE when you roll it, IF you think “so it is skinner at the end and this tag in the middle rolled out an extra couple of inches, it’s just taper”, that ain’t gonna cut it. Make your dough a RECTANGLE like the directions said or live with, um, “creative’ loaf shape and diameter. The ‘ends’ have some lack of proper taper as the ‘roll’ wasn’t fully integrated. So you have a ‘slab end and crease’ where they didn’t join up just right… OK, I need to practice my “roll and shape the ends”…

    Flavor and texture to be evaluated “shortly”…

  3. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Cut a slice warm…

    A bit soft in the middle. Needs a little longer cook (or maybe time to fully cool…)

    Flavor is nice, but clearly not quite “baguette” as it has the potato stuff in it. So a bit “soft and loaf” flavor. You can taste the added whole wheat too (even though the loaf is only slightly browned by it). It’s a nice flavor, but next round will be 100% bread flour as I’ve got “shape and process” doing pretty good. Time to move on to crumb and flavor matching.

    I’m quite happy with the product, and at least one of the two loaves will not survive long (as I’m going back for more and the spouse has seen it… 8-0

    The crumb is fairly even through the loaf, and no noticeable “roll up” artifact shows. Other than being a bit wet / soft, it’s fine. I may cut back to 9 oz. water next run, as once the dough was fully mixed and risen, it was wetter than I’d expected.

    Overall, I’m happy. I also think I’ve got enough from this one experimental batch to be comfortable that my ‘lessons learned’ is likely enough.

    Oh, and after significant pestering during my ‘testing the sample with melting butter’, the dog got the last bite. She approves mightily and asks that I make a few “mistake” batches, please…

  4. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Karen Leonard:

    When I get the “enter a valid blog” nag it is because I didn’t type the http : // stuff. Just did the chiefio.wordpress.com and forgot the leading stuff.

    Thanks for the pointers / ideas.

    I said I was starting out working on shape things and using my usual bread mix approach (minus oil) so that any mistakes could be caused only by the process (i.e. if the crumb were suddenly wetter or bigger bubbles than usual, or color was off; it wasn’t the ingredients but the handling) and would then move on to just bread flour.

    The “minor point” is that the spouse doesn’t like hard crusts, so I’m deliberately making the first few trials with softer crust. I did put the water pan in the bottom but got only modest crustyness. I think the higher (proper…) temperature will help with that, likely by better water evaporation.

    Now that I’ve made my mistakes (too low a temp, not rolled right from proper rectangles, etc.) I’m ready to work on texture and taste. Yes, I could have done that with loaf 1, but was expecting to flop worse and be sharing with the dog… But turns out I did OK and it is edible (even if not proper taste and texture).

    That batch will come out of the oven after spouse is asleep and won’t complain at me about hard crust ;-)

    FWIW, I like a bit of crunch in the crust. Despite what the spouse says.. So a secondary goal is to be able to make a ‘small one of each’ and please us both.

  5. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    BTW, as the loaves have cooled, the ‘bit of gummy’ in the center as left (as it usually does as bread cools…) and the crust has started to get a bit of crunch to it. Not much yet, but a little. Looks like ‘water in the bottom’ AND cooling matter.

    I’d guess that in about 5 or 6 hours I’ll try a batch of ‘Bread flour only no sugar’ and see if I can roll it evenly ;-)

  6. President Elect H.R. says:

    I’ve got a loaf of plain ol’ white bread rising. I should be popping it into the oven a little after noon, local time.

    I have a convection oven. When you select convection baking, the set point is automatically 25 degrees lower. For example, if your recipe calls for 400 degrees, put that in the control and the oven comes up to 375 degrees for the final ‘ready’ temperature.

    Does bread bake better in a convection oven? Or… is it better to use the regular, bottom heat, baking option?

    I’ve never bought into the 25 degrees less because it’s convection. Any idea what might happen to the crust if I use the ‘correct’ temperature by setting my convection oven set point 25 degrees higher?

    I realize I can do that and just watch the crust so I get golden brown instead of ready-made burnt toast. But I’m not sure how that may affect the inside; crispy outside and gooey inside?

    Any tips on convection oven bread baking will be appreciated. I just had a regular oven 20 or so years ago when I last fussed with baking bread, but convection ovens are supposed to be so much better for baking.

  7. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Don’t have a convection oven, but my guess would be that the higher air flow would result in faster heat transfer and so faster cooking and more browning. Either pull it earlier or set the heat lower or some combination of both.

    I’d be a little worried that heat might not get all the way to the middle of the loaf in time to fully cook it, if you pulled it out of the oven earlier. A “fix” for that would be lower temperature setting by some and slightly faster ‘pull from the oven’.

    Let’s see what others think:

    https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2007/11/27/convection-oven-works-great-for-loaf-pan-breads/

    So I’ve been re-testing everything with convection. First, lower the heat by 25 degrees F. Make sure that the convection fan isn’t fooling your thermostat (use an oven thermometer).

    For a loaf-pan bread made from Italian Peasant Bread dough (page 46 of ABin5), the loaf baked faster than usual (about 25 to 30 minutes), rose higher, browned more deeply, and was more attractive. The pan was placed directly on the stone near the center of the oven and baked with steam (page 30). The loaf was heavenly when cooled and cut. Perfect custard crumb (dough was a week old) and richly carmelized crust.

    In many convection ovens, you will need to be more attentive to turning the loaf around, at least once at the midpoint of baking or beyond. Otherwise you’ll get uneven browning.

    But be aware that many newer convection ovens automatically make an adjustment, so consult the owners manual that came with your oven before deciding what to do about the set temperature.

    So yeah, “richly carmelized” sounds like a lot of brown to me, even at lower temp and quicker pull from the oven. Depending on how much you like “richly carmelized” vs “nice light brown”… It does look like a combo of 25 F lower AND faster cook works well, per a bread expert.

    Don’t know about the stone thing and the turning will depend on how evenly air flow happens in your oven. Check at the 1/2 way point and turn if uneven.

  8. Borepatch says:

    You might try pouring boiling water (from an electric kettle) into the (empty) pie pan when you put the baguette into the oven. French bakeries inject steam into the oven during the baking process, and just higher humidity might not do the trick.

  9. Karen says:

    Thanks to “VP Elect Smith” for reminding me. Use the pizza stone. It makes a big difference. The stone is on the shelf with the loaves, above the shelf with the water pan. Oh, and don’t forget to remove the stone when it has cooled down, or the next time you use the oven you’re using the stone again. (Because it will still be there the next time you preheat.)

  10. @VP Elect Smith – Re: Convection ovens. We have a countertop convection oven. We’ve never done bread, but we’ve noticed that we’ve had to adjust the temperature down by about 25F when using convection, and cook time can stay about the same.
    You do have to be careful with convection tho. The wife was trying to dry out some fresh picked herbs for putting away, had a low temp with convection turned on. Looked in to check later and her herbs had been blown all around the inside of the oven, off of the tray she had them on. I was trying to cook a quesadilla and the top got sucked up into the heating elements. So there are times when convection is useful and times when it’s not.

  11. President Elect H.R. says:

    Thanks, E.M. – The one tip in there that I noticed and that made sense was that the fan may fool the thermostat, depending on your oven design.

    When I use the oven for casseroles and such, I notice that it takes a little longer than the stated time. I’m guessing that my thermostat is being fooled just a little bit.

    So I think I’ll set the oven 5 degrees higher. Then when the oven automatically knocks off 25 degrees from the set point, I think I’ll be closer to the actual temperature that I need.

    The time range was given as 20 to 25 minutes, so I’ll check in at the 20 minute mark and see if the extra 5 minutes are needed.

    Looks like I have about another hour of rising to go and then I’ll be popping it into the oven.

    No matter what happens, put enough butter on any bread still warm from the oven and it’s all good… and all gone. 😊

  12. President Elect H.R. says:

    @President-Elect Pinroot – Quesadillas in the oven? Have you gone stark raving mad?!? 😜

    You get a much crispier, nicely browned tortilla if you heat it on a flat griddle or a flat-bottom frying pan.

    Re the convection temperature – Yeah, I have a newer oven that automatically knocks off the 25 degrees when you choose Convection Bake.

    Oddly, if you select Convection Roast, the 25 degrees are NOT subtracted out.

  13. @PE H.R. – Yeah, I know about the cast iron pan or griddle, I was just being lazy, lol.
    Re Convection: Ours doesn’t subtract the 25 on bake (well, not that I’ve noticed, the wife uses it a lot more than I do), and I’ve never tried roasting anything so I don’t know about that. Ours is also an air fryer, which is nice, but we’re still learning the best settings for different foods.

  14. Quail, Vice President of the Compost Pile. Long may it steam. says:

    @EM Try rolling out your bread on a surface with a light coating of olive oil instead of flour. It releases the bread nicely and does not affect the crust.

  15. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @BorePatch:

    Yeah, the “just water in pie pan” didn’t seem to boil much in time.

    I can get a Pyrex measuring cup of water to the boil in 2 min in the microwave, so will just zap a cup and pour into the (hot) pie pan in the oven, then slide in the tray of bread.

    The Bread Maker is busy mixing my next batch of “only bread flour, salt, and water” with yeast, of course… so in a ‘little while’ it will got to the bake. Dropped water down from 10 ounces to 9. Surprisingly sensitive to small water changes. May end up at the “8oz + 2 tbs” one recipe listed. I thought the precision of Tbs was silly. Maybe not… (Or take that advice about water ~’until it looks right’ above… but what is ‘looks right’?…

    I’m going to put less flour on the counter, and try for a less sticky dough with less dusting of flour on it. Then brush it with something wet. Haven’t decided yet on water vs egg wash vs milk vs… Probably just water to get the dust off.

    I also need to work on my “roll the dough into a snake” technique, so I may end up over working the dough. We’ll see in a few hours…

    @Karen:

    Thanks again for the pointers.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a pizza stone at present.

    I do have a few 1 ft sq tile paving tiles. I could likely wash off 2 or 3 of them and stack them to make an ersatz pizza stone…

    I’m presently using a cookie sheet for the baking tray. I’m assuming you just slide the cookie sheet onto the pizza stone? Or does the bread go right onto it? (If so, how do you keep the ‘snake’ straight in the sliding?…)

    Some long time ago I did have a round pizza stone, but after many dozens of uses, one day it decided to become 2 pizza stones along an irregular dividing line… No idea why, probably some thermal stress issue with too fast cooling or heating… maybe…

  16. President Elect H.R. says:

    Well, I just had two thick slices of warm bread slathered with butter. There goes my carb budget for the rest of the day.

    I added the 5 degrees and the crust was absolutely perfect at 20 minutes. The innards could have used 3 or 4 more minutes; a bit doughy.

    So that tells me to stick with the automatic 25 degree adjustment and let the loaf go a few minutes longer.

    I’m thinking of next time, doing the E.M. thing where you do a 1-loaf batch but divide it into two of the small pans. I have small, regular, and positively giant loaf pans. I think I’ll go with the two small pans The second loaf will keep better since I can’t chow down on carbs and kill off a regular loaf right out of the oven.

    So… everything went A-OK except for the center. Missed it by |—| that much.

  17. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Prez. Elect H.R.:

    As it cools, the center will cook just a bit more, but yeah, I’d leave it at the auto adjust and add a couple of minutes.

    BTW, small loaves cook a bit faster, so may need hotter to darken in time and less time to the middle.

    @All:

    More Lessons Learned:

    All Bread Flour seems to need less water than “my usual loaf bread” mix. At 9 oz to 2.5 cups flour, it was still too soft / sloppy a dough.

    Rolling out on floured surface and turning a couple of times it picked up some more flour, but was still a bit soft in the shaping (even while the floured surface was not sticking to the other side when rolled).

    So, OK, I need to improve my skill at sensing when the dough is “right”, where right is not sticky at all, and solid enough you can roll a shape without it slopping all over the place. My “usual” is softer and wetter so I can just dump it into a bread pan and it takes the shape. That’s TOO wet for hand shaping.

    I did a water only wash (mostly because when I picked up the brush it was out of the drain pan at the sink… bread on tray, brush in hand, faucet… so lazied out of doing anything beyond that.)

    I got the cuts in . One lengthwise, the other angled slashes. Dough was again, too soft. It was hard to get a cut without a bit of sticking to the knife and wanting to roll the roll..

    It did rise nicely on the tray.

    Unfortunately, being soft, I again was unable to get the proper pointy ends. More rounded and blunt. Also it flattened some on the tray. So shape is more like a very long skinny Italian Batard. https://makebreadathome.com/batard-bread-everything-you-need-to-know/ which I also like, but isn’t Baguette.

    In about 45 minutes I’ll find out if I’ve got flavor and texture right. 1 Cup boiling water into a hot pie-pan in the bottom makes a big cloud of steam… and shove in the tray… I’m doing 380 F for 25 minutes.

    I’m hoping it crusts and tastes like Baguette, even it the shape is a bit off, as then I can concentrate on just getting the dough solid enough to shape properly. I’m clearly depending on flour to make a too sticky dough not stick to the counter, and that is then making the surface wrong in the rolling and the dough too soft in the shaping. So I need to dry the dough a bit more, learn how to sense that point properly, and then work on my shaping skills with the stiffer dough.

    At least, I hope that’s all I need to do…

    FWIW: The “experimental” loaves made with ‘regular loaf’ mix are almost all gone already. Especially toasted, it’s a nice bread. Not a baguette, but still very nice.

    Was it a mistake to start out that way? Likely it was. Why? Because I think it needs more water / cup of mix and that sent me in the wrong direction, away from what the recipes said is the right amount of water. I likely would have gotten closer, faster, sticking with just bread flour and the stated quantity of water.

    OTOH, I’ve had a lot of nice slices of not-baguette bread ;-)

  18. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Well, the beep beeped. At 380, bread flour only, 25 minutes, it is a nice light tan-brown. I think it needs hotter, or a surface wash that browns a bit more. So a nice detail that needs work. I’m giving it a couple of more minutes at 400 F to add just a touch more color, maybe.

  19. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    Well, cut a slice warm…

    Crust is very nice. Crisp with a bit of crunch. Insides still a bit too moist (may dry more as it cools). Flavor is very baguette-like. I think I’m close. Crumb is fine. Might want it a bit more open for a really big-bubble effect. Then again, I like a smaller bubble bread.

    So I think run hotter with a dryer dough will get me close enough to call it “baguette”. As it is, I’d call it “baguette adjacent” ;-)

  20. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Quail:

    Interesting idea. I’ll try that… (but not, I think, today… something about eating 4 loaves of bread in 2 days might be an issue ;-)

    Will a thin Olive Oil sheen prevent the dough from sticking to itself in the roll?

    (One is supposed to roll up a thin rectangle into a long roll and have the layers stick to each other making one smooth bread inside).

    I’ll often “grease the pigs” with olive oil (take my lump of dough roughly loaf pan in length and with olive oil coated hands pick it up and let it get all slippery on the way to the loaf pan…) Seems to make for a nice surface flavor too ;-)

  21. Quail, Vice President of the Compost Pile. Long may it steam. says:

    @EM If it is a light sheen it won’t keep the layers from sticking, while barely keeping the dough from sticking to the board.

  22. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Quail: VPofCP LMIS:

    Thanks. I’ll try it.

    @All:

    On cooling crust has gotten a bit crustier to the very nice stage. Center has dried a bit into the “just about right” finish.

    At this point, I think I’d upgrade my assessment from “Baguette Adjacent” to Blond Dumpy Baguette. ;-) It has all the right stuff, but just a bit misshapened. Kind of like the Captain Kirks in the Fan Trek shows. Has the right stuff, but what’s that beer belly doing in the captain’s chair?…

    One loaf almost gone already.. so clearly flavor and crust are right ;-) and my lack of baguette shaping skills not slowing down the consumption any.

    “Going forward”, I think I’ll continue to make batches of this dough composition, but divide them in two and freeze or refrigerate one. That will give a fresh loaf daily, and every other one from the fridge. I’ll use the Kitchenaid mixer for that instead of the bread maker with first rise setting. I’m also going to try taking a whole batch and making a Batard loaf out of it. (Better for sandwiches and toasting as the slices are larger).

    It would also likely work well as a big round.

  23. Not sure where anybody lives, so this may or may not be relevant, but altitude affects baking times and temperatures. Here’s some adjustments that may need to be made if you’re at a relatively high altitude:
    https://www.bettycrocker.com/how-to/tipslibrary/baking-tips/baking-cooking-high-altitudes

  24. President Elect H.R. says:

    I’m getting there. I wrote yesterday that the crust was perfect on my first go. I’m just doing plain white bread, BTW. The middle was just a bare smidge under properly done.

    I made a grilled ham, turkey breast, bacon, and 3-pepper cheese sandwich from it today. The slight drying overnight made the middle just fine and I got a great toasty grilled sandwich.

    Today, I used more of the same dough, but since I loved the crust and the innards are just plain ol’ white bread, I rolled it out very thin, cut it to form roughly 5″ x 5″ (~125mm x 125mm) squares, and let it rise to about 1.5″ (~35-ish mm), hoping to get lots of crust and less boring white bread middle.

    It worked out pretty good. Lot’s of that flakey, crisp crust and the middle came out fine this time.

    I let the oven do its thing and automatically subtract the 25 degrees. I reduced the time from 20 minutes to 12 minutes since the mini-loaves were so thin. I then sneaked up on the final time by watching for the shade of brown I wanted.

    I wound up adding 4 minutes and then another 1 minute for a total of 17 minutes.

    Oh, one of the tips from the convection oven article clipping E.M. posted yesterday or the day before was to turn the pan 180 degrees if you think the air flow from the fan is uneven. Since I was watching through the oven door I could see it was true for my oven, so I turned the pan at the 12 minute mark.

    I’m going to try one more thing and that’s to roll out two very long, very thin strips and let them rise about 1″. I’m going to try for an even crustier bread. Wait up… won’t I just be making a loaf of croutons? 😜
    .
    .
    Next up is to get a middle more to my liking such as sourdough. I might not get to that for a while.

  25. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    I’ve found that if you go through 3 rises it starts to get more sourdough like (as the starch level drops with longer yeast life).

    For real sourdough you need a lactic acid fermentation, so add a bit of yogurt to the mix and let it ride…

  26. V.P. Elect Smith says:

    @Quail VPofCPP:

    I did the olive oil thing when making balls for the dinner rolls and it worked fine, so thanks for that.

    @Karen:

    I’ve been using a bread maker for mix and first rise. That made it different for titrating in the water.

    At first, my main mix was just too wet. Hard to titrate the water in when you already have too much…

    On the 2nd batch where I was using just bread flour, I titrated in additional flour until it nicely pulled away from the pan (as you described). That worked fairly well.

    With that, going forward, I’m going to shift to using my Kitchenaide with dough hook and do it as you described. Flour & salt first, water until the texture is right (now that I think I have a handle on what “right” looks like).

    I’d gotten way too dependent on the scale and the bread maker. OK. I can change.

    So I’d carefully worked out exactly what amount of water to add to my soft sweet loaf potato bread mix. It’s way too wet for the ‘just bread flour’ and without a working scale, I need to revert to “old school” and actually feel and look at my dough (as you pointed me in the right direction…). It worked, so now I’m on to the Kitchenaide and ignoring the bread maker. Got it.

    Thanks again. I’m now getting nice baguette texture and crust. Shaping is still something that I need to improve, but at least now the dough cooperates ;-)

  27. Pingback: Friends Of Australia Friday Lamburger & Lil’Penguin Pinot Grigio | Musings from the Chiefio

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