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Recreating perfect sandwich baguette

In 2010, I accidentally made the perfect sandwich baguette.

This is my attempt at recreating that accident on purpose.

2015-04-14 17:26:49

Step one: high hydration dough

I think this is close to 65%

2015-04-14 17:27:11

Step two: plenty of water and 260C

A *very* hot oven to effect fast spring, and a decent water buffer to prevent heat from below will be important.

2015-04-14 18:18:27

Step four: score bread

Reasonably deep scores because this is supposed to spring hard.

2015-04-14 18:19:06

Step five: load bread

2015-04-14 18:17:42

step three: a dusting of flour

The original didn't use a flour dusting, but I find it makes the bread just more appealing without affecting the flavour, while improving the fragrance.

2015-04-14 18:35:01

Step six: rotate breads midway through

This is important to even out the baking. Also, not as much spring as I'd hoped, the resulting crumb was a bit too dense.

2015-04-14 18:48:57

Result one: A decent top crust, mediocre crumb

The top crust turned out just fine, no complaints there. The crumb, however, was too fine. I think I'll need to shape the dough immediately after first rising, doing the second rise preshaped, without a "proofing" stage, instead of first rise, punch down, second rise, shape, proof.

2015-04-14 18:49:27

Result two: minor crust formation at the bottom

Next time: loading the bread closer to the water to prevent that crust formation. We want straight up "it looks like it was baked pre-cut" texture.

Or, using an insulated baking sheet.

Likely I'll try both to see which is better.

2015-04-14 18:47:05

Step seven: finish up

I left the breads in the oven after turning it off, with the door ajar.

2015-04-16 14:13:11

step one: dough

Though the dough seemed too low hydration. At 65%... so let's try 75% next.

2015-04-16 14:14:13

step two: score

this clearly demonstrates why the dough wasn't high hydration enough

2015-04-16 14:14:53

step three: load

The sheet is now directly over the water buffer. Compared to before there is almost no room between the water and sheet now.

2015-04-16 14:31:01

step four: bakerthebake

It... looks alright? Still not quite enough spring it looks like.

2015-04-16 15:09:58

Result two: crumb

The crumb's about to be expected given the spring: thankfully not as dense as white bread, but certainly not as varied and large as typical baguette crumb.

2015-04-16 14:42:22

Result one: still crust

Definitely better than before, but the point is a crustless bottom, so this is still a failure. It's paper thin, but that's still too much crust.

Next experiment: using a heavily insulated aluminium cookie sheet, to keep the bottom cooler than everything else longer.

2015-04-17 12:40:02

Step one: higher hydration

This is... somewhere between 70% and 75% - it's not as accurate as I'd like, but that's because it's a higher hydration mixed with yesterday's lower hydration dough. I think it evens out to 72%ish?

2015-04-17 12:41:05

Step two (a): insulated sheet

This will prevent a lot of heat from coming through the bottom

2015-04-17 12:41:13

Step two (b): insulated sheet

Properly thick, with an air seal inside.

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