Week 95: Rustic Baguettes

You can add a little bit of whole grain flour to your baguette dough without sacrificing a tender, open crumb. I know there’s 100% whole wheat baguettes out there, but I’m not ready to tackle them just yet. They can be tricky to shape, but I found a great video from Noah Weston, and he’s making alot of them, so there’s opportunity to watch his process over and over again. New to me is the use of a “bread board” to help lift teh baguettes onto the baking sheet. I made one out of a flap of a cardboard box, covered in clear tap so the dough doesn’t stick.

This takes about 7 hours, so if you start at 10:00 AM, they’ll be ready to bake at around 5:30.

Step 1: Make poolish (4~16 hr rest)

  • 150g flour
  • 150g warm water (about 90 degrees)
  • 1/8 tsp yeast (about .5g)

Let this ripen at room temperature for at least 4 hours. You can also make it before going to bed, and then letting it rest on the counter overnight for up to 16 hours.

Step 2: Make dough (30 minute rest)

  • 280g water (90 degrees)
  • 2g yeast (3/4 tsp)
  1. Put the yeast in a medium bowl, add water and stir to combine
  2. Empty the poolish into the yeast and water mixture.
  • 350g flour
  • 50g whole wheat flour (sifted, to remove the sharp germ)
  • 10g salt
  • 5g sugar
  1. Add the flours, salt and sugar and mix well with the handle of a wooden spoon until it’s incorporated, and there’s no dry bits on the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  2. Then start mixing with your hand, squeezing dough with one hand, and turning the bowl with the other. Do this for about 2 minutes to fully incorporate everything, lifting sides up and over as it starts to become elastic.
  3. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Stregthen dough (30 min + 1 hr rest)

  1. Wet fingertips and do about 8~10 stretch and folds in the bowl
  2. Scoop and fold about 8 times. pick up, let one side drip down and fold under to lay dough on top
  3. Rest 30 minutes
  4. Repeat stretch adn fold and scoop and fold
  5. Rest one hour (total rest time: 2 hours)

Step 4: Shape Dough (15 min + 15 min + 45 min rests)

  1. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface
  2. Cut into two halves
  3. Watch video below for shaping and scoring. I am not as rough as he is!
    • Pre-Shape: Loose tri-fold and 15 minute rest
    • Shape and let rest 15 minutes: Fold top third down and press, then botton third up and press, then fold in half and press
    • Final shape: roll to full length
    • Place on couche seem side down, and rest 40 minutes
  4. While dough is resting, preheat oven to 525. Boil water and fill two loaf pans (or one pan…whatever you have) and place on opposite sides of the bottom rack

Step : Bake

  1. Score bread as instructed in the video. With wet dough like this, the blade can drag. You might find it easier to oil or wet it.
  2. Use a potholder when you transfer the dough to the oven. A lot of steam will come out when you open the door.
  3. Put in oven gently, shut door quickly
  4. Turn down oven to 500
  5. Bake 20~30 minutes. Check it often, so it doesn’t burn.
  6. Remove from tray and let cool before slicing. If it’s humid in your kitchen, cool bread in the turned off oven with the door ajar

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