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Baguettes or bread sticks?
Posted: 27 September 2009 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi all,

Does anyone have experience of the BB recipe for baguettes. Mine looked really good when they went into the oven, bursting out the top of my new baguette tin (birthday present),  but when they came out they had considerably shrunk to just over 1 inch diameter, much to the amusement of my family whose comments were ‘oh look Dad’s made some bread sticks’. How we laughed.

Anyway, can anyone suggest why this might have happened? My only excuse at the moment is that I may not have slashed the loaves deep enough, preventing expansion, but perhaps there was something more fundamental wrong with my technique.

Any advice gratefully received.

Phil

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Posted: 27 September 2009 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Phil, is it possible that you over-proofed them?  All the expansion would then have happened before you put them into the oven and the yeast was exhausted so had nothing left.  How long were they proofing and what was the room temp?

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Posted: 27 September 2009 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hello again Annie,

I’ve had the over-proofing problem before, but this seems different because the loaves actually shrunk from what was a respectable size before baking. Usually when over-proved they just don’t rise any bigger. Also this recipe has such a tiny amount of yeast that over-proofing should surely be less of a problem.

I followed the recipe as best I could although I omitted the 3 hours in the fridge, cos I just didn’t have time.  My kitchen temperature is about 68 F at the moment.

As I understood it, once the loaf is placed into a very hot oven, the yeast plays no further part in the process, as yeast is intollerent of heat; its the air trapped in the bubbles that expand as they rapidly heat up (oven spring). Have I completely misunderstood this? I have grown to accept the fact that my bread will never resemble those in Rose’s photographs because they never rise that high but shrinkage seems to be a different problem.

Regards

Phil

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Posted: 27 September 2009 09:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Phil,
I think Annie is correct to suspect over proofing but the yeast rationale is not right. What happens when bread is over proofed is that the gluten is stretched past it’s elastic limit. When the over proofed bread is baked the carbon dioxide bubbles generated by the yeast pop. Leading to deflation. In less severe cases just the center of a loaf contracts a bit. Baguettes because they are baked without support are more susceptible to collapse. How much you can let a loaf rise is dependent upon the elasticity of the gluten. You might think about a small amount of extra gluten in the recipe when you don’t have time for the rest step. Keep practicing even bread sticks are tasty.

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Posted: 28 September 2009 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks for the explanation, Gene.  The WORST thing that can happen when you tip a loaf out of the banneton on to the peel is to hear a loud *sigh* from the loaf and watch it deflate!  I suppose if the loaf is proofed on the baguette pan you have no prewarning that is going to collapse.

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Posted: 29 September 2009 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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OK thank you both for this. My next question, obviously, is how do I prevent the bread from over-proofing? It seems to be a persistant problem in my baking although I follow the recipes to the letter (usually).

The bread sticks were indeed very nice and when they’ve gone stale we found they make excellent doggy chews too. 

Phil

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Posted: 29 September 2009 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Phil, That’s the problem with bread—it is so dependent on the prevailing conditions such as room temperature, humidity, how active your yeast is, etc.  Practice, practice, practice is the key to knowing when your bread is perfectly proofed.  It should have risen considerably - but not too much; it should feel puffy - but not too puffy… see what I mean?  I sometimes think it’s better to under-proof rather than over-proof.  If under-proofed the loaves will have huge oven spring and ‘burst’ open - I sometimes call them pregnant loaves if baked in a tin.  They have ‘hats’ on them!  Then get to know what that feels like.  Start allowing them more proof (depending on the weather etc this may not mean more time) and then see what that results in.  You will eventually hit the perfect proof to produce the perfect loaf.  There’s nothing quite like it.  Then convert it all to sourdough and reach bread nirvana - but that’s another story!

Good luck and remember your bread will be delicious and better than any store-bought bread whatever happens.

Annie

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Posted: 30 September 2009 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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It can also be helpful to check proofing by making an indent in the dough with an oiled fingertip.  The rate at which the depression fills in indicates proofing- if it fills in pretty quickly, it could still use more time.  If it fills in slowly, it’s probably about right.  A full proof- indent remains- is a little trickier, I sometimes go too long and end up with overproofing.

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Posted: 21 January 2014 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I just had the same problem on my first try to make baguettes by the convoluted and cumbersome “old bread plus Poolish” technique.  Everything looked and felt OK until the baking, then…nothing.  Dough went in and bread sticks came out.  I’m trying it again, but two observations:  The “old bread” was not sticky and the Poolish rose only to 1 cup total.  I’m using King Arthur Artisan that’s been around awhile; if it seems necessary, is it wise to increase the liquid portions of both??[/size]

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Posted: 21 January 2014 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Donald - 21 January 2014 03:03 PM

I just had the same problem on my first try to make baguettes by the convoluted and cumbersome “old bread plus Poolish” technique.  Everything looked and felt OK until the baking, then…nothing.  Dough went in and bread sticks came out.  I’m trying it again, but two observations:  The “old bread” was not sticky and the Poolish rose only to 1 cup total.  I’m using King Arthur Artisan that’s been around awhile; if it seems necessary, is it wise to increase the liquid portions of both??[/size]

DONALD:
  Good afternoon Donald. Sorry to learn of your bread baking disappointment. Donald, I have the book the “BREAD BIBLE” I am unable to locate the recipe you have used. Can you identify it for us.

Donald I do not question so much the integritty of the recipe but I would like to ask you about the the mixing of the ingredients…Ie, length of time fermentation & proofing. I believe there is where the problem may lay, & if so then we can correct it .

Anyway, till then enjoy the rest of the day.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 22 January 2014 12:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Donald - 21 January 2014 03:03 PM

Everything looked and felt OK until the baking, then…nothing.

Likely overproofed. If you have yeast and they have food, the bread will rise. Make sure you can recognize by touching when the dough is ready for the oven and don’t go by any time measurements.

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Posted: 22 January 2014 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The recipe is on page 335.  There is a suggested time schedule on page 340, which I meticulously followed.  I’m trying it again today.

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Posted: 22 January 2014 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Donald - 22 January 2014 11:14 AM

There is a suggested time schedule on page 340, which I meticulously followed.

Time schedules are approximations and unreliable; you need to recognize when the dough is ready.

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If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

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Posted: 22 January 2014 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Donald - 22 January 2014 11:14 AM

The recipe is on page 335.  There is a suggested time schedule on page 340, which I meticulously followed.  I’m trying it again today.

DONALD:
  Good morning. Thank you for your timely reply. I am going to tell why this recipe has failed you. I also can see from your postings that you will not pay any attention to the recipe correction I am recommending to you. That is your affair. Mine is to be honest & helpful to all who ask for it.

  Donald simply put the failure is in the EXCESSIVE amount of SALT. SALT & SUGAR are friends to yeast….but & however when either or both are in excess they become enemys. In this case the salt is disabling the yeast function perhaps 100% or a partial amount….hence the gluten is compromised, it’s structure is weakened.

Donald just reduce the salt to the same amount of the yeast…Example, 1.5 tsp of instant yeast 1.5 to 2, tsp of salt. You will then have a successful bake.

  I wish you sucess & enjoy the rest of the day my friend.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 22 January 2014 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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So RLB’s recipe is faulty?  She says it makes great baguettes!

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Posted: 22 January 2014 07:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Donald - 22 January 2014 04:35 PM

So RLB’s recipe is faulty?  She says it makes great baguettes!

Faulty recipe? Rose? Heaven forbid!

The recipe is fine. The salt % for baguettes is usually around 2%, which is the weight of the salt divided by the weight of the flour. I calculate Rose’s recipe to be 2.5%, which is a bit higher than average, but within the “reasonable” range. The 2.2% figure she gives is calculated differently and I can’t duplicate her number.

 

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