Sourdough baguettes

Sourdough baguettes

In a yet to be published post, I am currently creating my own sourdough starter.  I felt bad discarding 1/2-2/3 of the starter everyday so started looking up recipes on what I could do with that discarded starter.  One thing people recommended was using it for the taste (“sour”) component prior to it being strong enough to act as yeast.  Therefore you still had to use some yeast (active dry in  my case) to help the dough rise.

So I decided to try my hand at baguettes.  I have not attempted this type/shape of dough yet so this was more an experiment than anything.

I found this recipe online and decided to run with it.

  • Flour 100%
  • Water 66%
  • Salt 2%
  • Instant yeast 0.36%
  • Poolish: 33% of the above total.

Poolish (done the night before and allowed to sit overnight at room temp):

  • 60g Sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 103g AP flour
  • 58g Room temperature water
Poolish made the night before

In the morning the poolish had spread out and developed the requisite bubbles to let me know it was working well.

Poolish in the AM (~12 hours later)

To the poolish I added:

  • 267g AP flour
  • 176g water
  • 8g salt
  • ~1.5g Active-dry yeast

I mixed the above with the poolish until it was well incorporated and let it auto-lyse for an hour.

Mixed dough after auto-lyse

I followed this with slap&fold kneading for about 15 minutes until I obtained a nice formed dough.  I let this bulk ferment for another hour and then did 2 stretch and folds separated by 20 minutes.

I divided the dough up into the individual baguette sizes and bench rested them for 15 minutes.

Bench resting

Then I set about shaping the dough.  I followed the video as seen here.   I definitely need to practice rolling out the dough to get an even product.  As you can see below in the final pictures, the baguettes came out a little lopsided.

I don’t currently have a baguette bouche so looked up ways to create a homemade one.  What I ended up using was a sheet pan, parchment paper and rolled up table placemats.

Homemade couche

I let these proof for 40 minutes and then turned them out onto my baking system (upside down sheet pan with parchment paper).  Other options I read include transfer to a pizza peel and putting on pizza stone in oven (I can see myself messing this up) or if you have the metal couche, you can bake directly in those.  I scored the baguettes with a sharp razor and did a terrible job of it (I also read that scoring is one of the hardest skills to master).

Uneven scoring

I placed the baguettes in a 450 F oven, sprayed the inside with my trusty water spray bottle and closed the door.  I sprayed the oven walls/bread again at 1 minute and 5 minutes in.  After 6 minutes I dropped the oven to 400 F.

Good oven spring

I wasn’t sure exactly how long to bake it for as some recipes I read said 12 minutes while others said 24 minutes.  I ended up going closer to the 24 minutes.  The baguettes never developed the deep brown color I was looking for but they were definitely cooked and done.  The wife noted the crust was a bit hard – though from what I read of classic baguettes they are supposed to have a very crispy outside.  All in all not a bad effort for a first try.

There was a mild sour taste to it so I may have to increase the amount of starter that I use to get the taste that my wife likes.