Hi, so this is my 6th round of baguette baking. Overall, much much better oven spring and crumb than before. I think the next big thing to work on is my scoring technique. I documented the process pretty meticulously this time, so let me know if you spot anything I can improve on. Thanks!

 

Photos

French folds number 90-100. My weighing scale turned off while I was measuring the water so the dough probably ended up around 76% hydration, I don’t think this negatively impacted the outcome and I like playing with high hydration dough anyways.

Gluten development was o.k. I did 300 french folds and 4 S&Fs spaced between 20 minute intervals. Windowpane could’ve been better but the crumb turned out fine so maybe it doesn’t matter.

Portioned out for 20 hr cold ferment. Dough isn’t super smooth.

A misstep? After the cold ferment I took the dough out of their containers warmed them up for 1 hr. Initially I had just let them fall out of their boxes and rest like that (see smaller image). But I realized I was losing a lot of bubbles, so I did one gentle letter fold to each dough. The consequence of this fold is that the dough was already really elongated by the time I did the final shape, so I only did one fold during the final shaping before rolling them out. I thought this was a mistake, but it might’ve actually contributed to the openness of the crumb.

Only needed one fold for the final shaping. Means the skin of the loaves weren’t tight enough, but that I could minimize handling which helped the openness of the crumb.

Post final 50-minute proof.

Feedback please? Post-scoring. This is probably my worse scoring yet haha. The dough was more hydrated and bubbly than in previous rounds so I really struggled. Experimented with doing just one long score (far right), which actually turned out to be my best, probably mostly because it was the deepest and most angled.

Final product. Baked these at a higher temperature for an even shorter amount of time. Oven preheated at 500 ˚F, baked with steam for 10 minutes at 470 ˚F, then steamed removed and baked for a further 10 minutes at 470 ˚F with convection.

By far my best crumb yet. This isn’t even the loaf with the one long score above!

Some scores didn’t open up as much.

 

Ingredients

I’ve basically been modifying the KAF classic baguette recipe, at this point its only vaguely like the original. I’ve been sticking to this recipe just because I don’t have a miligram scale for yeast and repeating and modifying one recipe is a good way for me to keep track of what changes I’m making.

Poolish

    113 g cool water
    1/16 tsp SAF instant yeast
    120 g KAF AP flour

Dough

    All of the starter
    1 1/2 tsp SAF instant yeast
    274 g lukewarm water (for 72% hydration, probably added more)
    418 g KAF AP flour
    1 1/2 tsp salt

 

Steps

  1. Mix everything to make the poolish, cover and rest at room temperature for 13 hrs.
  2. Add all the other ingredients except for salt into the starter and mixing until incorporated, then autolyse for 40 mins.
  3. Incorporate the salt and make 300 french folds with 5 minute rests between every 100.
  4. Place dough into a large bowl and S&F every 20 mins 4 times.
  5. Portion dough into 3 equal parts (roughly 300 g each), shape lightly and place seam-side down into container.
  6. Cold ferment in refrigerator for 20 hrs.
  7. Remove dough from fridge, make one gentle letter fold and let rest, covered, on counter for 60 mins.
  8. Preheat oven to 500 ˚F (regular bake) with a cast-iron pan in the bottom rack.
  9. Shape the dough with just one fold where you bring the edge of the dough to the countertop. Rolled out gently only once to prevent de-gassing.
  10. Rest, covered, on floured couche for 50 minutes.
  11. Boil 2 cups of water and transfer all three loaves to a well-floured peel, change oven temp to 470 ˚F.
  12. Score the loaves (see image) and load into oven, close oven door.
  13. Pour boiled water into cast iron pan and spray the loaves and oven walls generously with water.
  14. Close oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  15. Remove steam, set oven to 470 ˚F at convection and bake for another 10 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven immediately and let cool.

 

Conclusions

Everything bolded above is a step that I’ve significantly changed since last timeI basically used a higher baking temperature, an additional S&F, let the dough warm up for longer, and a different order of shaping steps. I think I will actually keep this shaping sequence- doing a letter fold immediately after cold ferment and before the 1 hr bench rest- as it helped with the crumb.

Things I need to work on include gluten development and scoring (I think).



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