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Baguettes or bread sticks?
Posted: 23 January 2014 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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SO:  FreshKid says:  salt-to-yeast ratio is too high.  I should reduce the salt to = the yeast.
      Charles T says: salt-to-flour ratio is OK.   

      Both can be accommodated by increasing the yeast to = the salt.
 
      I’ve now tried the recipe twice, with identical failure.  Next tries:  (1) reduce the salt to = the recipe’s yeast, and (2) increase the yeast to = the recipe’s salt. 

      It’s disappointing that the recipe as published seems simply unworkable.
      Surely RLB made this work, so maybe there’s a typo in the printed version?  I’m new here; how can I bring this to her attention?

      Thanks for your helpful comments.  Stay tuned.

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Posted: 23 January 2014 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Donald - 23 January 2014 11:49 AM

Both can be accommodated by increasing the yeast to = the salt.

There is no relationship between the salt and the yeast percents. The amount of yeast varies depending on how quick of a rise you want. It just so happens that for fast-rising bread, you need salt and yeast at about 2%, but long-rising bread might have quite a bit less yeast. If the dough rose during fermentation and proofing, you can discount an ingredient problem.

I raise the issue again of overproofing; see Julie’s post above about how to check to see if the dough is ready.

The Bread Bible has been in print for 10 years, and a recipe as fundamental as baguettes could not have been unworkable for so long. Even a flawed recipe should still rise in the oven.

 

Edit: And I think you said the flour was old. How old? People do report rising problems with very old flour.

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Posted: 25 January 2014 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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A couple of things to check:

what temp are you proofing at?  Rose uses 75-80 for the Bread Bible

could the bread be overbaked (too long) and understeamed?  So much can happen in the oven to make the bread not rise adequately- using a baguette pan is not ideal because it limits the contact of the loaves with your stone.  the best set up is to bake the loaves on a well heated stone with lots of steam and the slashes cut just right- it’s a lot to get right and one of the reasons that baguettes are a challenge.

good luck

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Posted: 25 January 2014 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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DONALD:
Good morning. Thank you for the timely reply. Donald, I read your posting. You are thinking of increasing the instant yeast.
Donald you do not want to do that…WHY !!! because excessive yeast has an effect on the gluten strands. It makes them pourous. That means the strength is compromised. You already have that problem because the excessive amount of salt is diluting the properties of the yeast. The gluten is weak. And the baked loaf is flattened because there is no strength…it’s foundation is weakened.

Donald I will say this the salt at 2% of the flour is basically correct… But in this recipe is an exception to that rule…WHY I rather not reveal. because I rather not teach others who think they know more baking science than I do. I study baking science & I can teach this subject to every member we have in this circle.

Donald do what you think is best for yourself, If you want a viable loaf of a yeasted lean bread than simply put, reduce the salt.
.
Enjoy the rest of the day.
.
  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 25 January 2014 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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OK, so I tried yeast = salt at both high and low levels (1/8 tsp yeast and salt, then 1 tsp yeast and salt).  And the kitchen was warmer.  Both rose well in the preshaping proof, so the yeast lived through that!  After the shaping and refrigeration steps I proofed only 40 mins (instead of the recipe’s 90) because I was poking the finger and the depression was slowly filling in.  Voila!  Oven spring.  But not enough.  The crumb was still too moist (my perpetual bane) and the crust nearly impenetrable.  But progress was achieved.

I think the lower yeast/salt levels produced a slightly better result, more holes and slightly more tender crust.  So I will try that again with a difference in baking; perhaps even shorter post-fridge rise, lower baking temp and less steam. 

I wish there were someone on the forum who has succeeded in making RLB’s perfect crumb-showery baguette and could tell me it’s actually possible at home.  I’m not so sure.

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Posted: 25 January 2014 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Donald - 25 January 2014 06:35 PM

I think the lower yeast/salt levels produced a slightly better result, more holes and slightly more tender crust.

Lower yeast may well produce larger holes, but your own technique will vary from one batch to the other, so be careful about drawing conclusions. The flavor of the baguettes will suffer with only 1/8 of a tsp salt. It needs to be what the recipe states.

Success with baguettes is more about technique than recipe, as Julie hinted above. It’s one of the more difficult types of bread to get right because of that, even though the ingredients are so simple.

It’s best to only change one variable at a time, or you may attribute success to unrelated factors. For instance, your recent improvement is likely due to your reduced proofing time, but you’ll probably under-salt your bread for the rest of your career. grin

 

One thing that would be helpful is a photo of your dough before it goes into the oven and one of it afterwards, both the outside and the interior of the bread.

 

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Posted: 04 February 2014 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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You will be overjoyed, I am sure, to learn that many iterations later I have made REAL baguettes - the kind that shower crumbs from a thin crust and are light and full of holes inside.  Part of the improvement was technique to be sure, but also, relative to RLB’s recipe: (1) 1/8 t more yeast (2) 6% whole wheat (3) lower oven temp (425) with NO induced steam and (4) two drops of honey at the dough-making stage.  That last would put a French baker in jail, but it did worlds of good for my rate and amount of rise.

This has succeeded three times in a row.  Just to be thorough I think I’ll return to the original recipe and see what I get.  Will it fail me as before?  Or will technique and/or more patience make it work now??

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Posted: 04 February 2014 08:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Congrats! You should post photos.

Suspect your improvement is mostly technique. The lower oven temp and no steam would tend to produce inferior baguettes. The honey would likely help if your yeast was running out of food, which can happen if there is excessive fermentation (produces a pale product). Diastolic malt can produce the same result and is a more common addition than honey. If the fermentation was too long, then the extra yeast probably worked against you. That’s the problem with changing too many things at once.

I bake my baguettes somewhere between 465 and 500, whatever mood strikes me, and I put them on a preheated baking stone. I cover the baguettes with an inverted hotel pan and shoot steam through a hole in the side. I take the cover off after about 5 minutes.

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Posted: 07 February 2014 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Two tries later, with 2% salt, then 1%.  Total failures.  No rise after refrigerator hold.  Honest, this recipe only works with low (0.8%) salt.

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Posted: 07 February 2014 11:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Donald - 07 February 2014 05:54 PM

Two tries later, with 2% salt, then 1%.  Total failures.  No rise after refrigerator hold.  Honest, this recipe only works with low (0.8%) salt.

Does it strike you as reasonable that a recipe would be sensitive to the difference between 1% and .8% salt? That’s about 1/2 gram, which is maybe 1/16 of a teaspoon. If that were enough to cause a recipe to fail, mere mortals could never be bread bakers. Do a bit of googling and you’ll see that I’m right.

 

 

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Posted: 10 February 2014 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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I am not looking at recipe but it i using instant?  Peter Reinhart says to put your yeast and your salt on opposite sides of the bowl when a adding to flour ....something about the salt not damaging the yeast.  This theory goes to technique.

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Posted: 10 February 2014 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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CRenee - 10 February 2014 04:56 PM

I am not looking at recipe but it i using instant?  Peter Reinhart says to put your yeast and your salt on opposite sides of the bowl when a adding to flour ....something about the salt not damaging the yeast.  This theory goes to technique.

That issue had occurred to me, too, but I gather the OP is getting a first and second rise, which wouldn’t be consistent with the yeast being killed.

When I was taking my baguette course SFBI, I was alarmed that people dumped the salt right on top of the yeast and no one seemed to have heard that you’re not supposed to do that. I asked the instructor and he sorta shrugged, as if it were no big deal. It may be that as long as the salt and yeast are dry, no fraternization occurs.

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Posted: 11 February 2014 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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I just posted this elsewhere, but I’ll reiterate here- similar to Charles’ experience at SFBI, Jeffrey Hamelman at KAF says that he has tested the salt-yeast thing extensively and has never found a problem. You really can just dump them in and let them land where they may.

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