Because making this Sourdough Baguette is so tricky and maybe one of the recipes that I find so difficult to make. I decided to make this post also mainly for including all the notes that I’ve to save and an entire guide on how I shaped my baguettes.
Factors that define a Baguette’s appearance and taste
- For more tasteful baguettes, let the dough ferment in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours, up to 40 hours.
- Use dough that is 75% or higher hydration.
- It is the very, very hot oven (260C) that make baguettes get the volume.
- For the flour, I used all-purpose flour, type 00, and whole wheat.
- I will use my baking stone for baking these baguettes.
- Another piece of equipment that is extremely helpful is the baker’s couche that you will need for proofing. I don’t have this, so I will use a tea towel and dust it generously with rice flour or any gluten-free flour or a piece of parchment paper cut into long pieces.
- A sharp bread lame or razor blade for scoring the baguettes.
- Finally, you will need a large pizza shovel, peel, or something similar to load baguettes in the oven. I find that the easiest way to do it is to place the baguettes on each cut piece of parchment paper, score then slide on the baking stone.
Important to know before making Sourdough Baguettes
- You can check if your starter is ready to bake when you see lots of bubbly activity, and it should smell pleasantly acidic, look light and creamy. The starter should not be runny! Once your starter is looking active, you can use it to make a levain for your bread.
- You can mix your starter in the morning and mix the dough in the afternoon. Use lukewarm water and put it in a warm area if you want to hurry the process.
- Measure ingredients by weight.
- The amount of water will depend on the type of flour you are using. Wholewheat flour tends to be more thirsty.
- This baguette recipe is a very wet dough (82% hydration). That is why I use my stand mixer to help the dough develop the gluten early by kneading it for 15 minutes and use stretch and fold during the bulk fermentation to develop more structure in my dough. But handle the dough very carefully in the final stretch and fold so as not to degas it.
- When using a stand mixer, be careful not to overmix or over-knead the dough. I always check my dough temperature using my digital thermometer, and my target dough temperature should be around 26C (79F).
- You can check how well your gluten has developed by performing the windowpane test towards the end of bulk fermentation. Lift and stretch a small corner of the dough with your fingers to see if it holds together in a single thin pane. If it breaks apart quickly, it needs more time. A well develops gluten helps to trap gasses in the dough, which helps to create a nice open crumb in your bread.
- At the end of bulk fermentation, the dough should have roughly increased by 20% to 30%. The dough should have a glossy sheen, a slightly domed top, and some bubbles on the top and sides.
- Shape the dough and cover with rice flour. I used rice flour because it does not absorb water too well and prevents sticking.
- Being a regular home baker, I don’t have a bakers couche, so I improvised by using a flour sack from my home country, Philippines, or you can use tea towels. Then I sat my large rolling bin on one of the ends and my large bench scraper on the other end.
- How long the baguettes should rise (after you have shaped them) can also vary depending on what temperature is in the room, how humid it is etc. So, if you do not think your baguettes are raised enough, let them rest for half hours of extra time.
- It would also be wise to measure the length of your oven and/or baking stone before shaping your baguettes. So, you are sure that your dough will fit in your oven. My baguettes are 35cm or 13.7 inches, so they will fit in my oven and baking stone.
- To check if the baguettes are ready to bake, dip your finger in some flour and gently poke in your dough. If the hole disappears completely, the dough is under proofed. If the hole dent pops halfway back out, the proofing is just right. If the hole stays entirely dented in, the dough is over-proofed.
- Make sure to use a sharp bread lame or razor. Without the razor is sharp, it tears rather than slashes your dough.
- To get a nice crust, try to create some steam in your oven by putting a baking pan on your oven floor with some lava rocks or rolled towels then pour a half cup of hot water immediately after placing the bread in the oven.
Links that I recommend to visit too before baking Sourdough Baguettes:
- French Baguette recipe for Taste of Artisan
- High Hydration Baguette from Weekendbakery.com
- Sourdough Baguettes from MyLoveOfBaking
- Sourdough Baguettes from Theperfectloaf
Photo Gallery of my Sourdough Baguettes Journey
I will post a new picture every time I try to experiment with baguettes and will try to include a short conclusion. 😊