Baguettes au Levain Set No. 10 and 11

Some of you probably know that I’ve been trying to improve on my baguette baking skills. It has been a challenge with one step forward then two steps back. Today I took a step forward. Now these are far from perfect for sure as they are more long batards that true slender and long baguettes. My baking steel is only 16” wide so that is the maximum length of baguette I can strive for. Unfortunately my baguettes contracted somewhat while in the couche. As well, my shaping and ability to stretch the baguettes isn’t quite there yet. I do like the pointy ends though :sunglasses:. I’m also happy that this time I think I finally had enough tension in the skin of the dough, the right angle of score and deep enough score that I actually had some decent ears. Like my sourdough batards, ears took a while to get any and then took some time to get them consistently, I’m sure that will be the case with my baguettes as well.

These are maybe a T75 flour (it was sold to me as T55 but there is bran in there so it isn’t T55), 9% prefermented flour, 0.07% IDY, 68% hydration.

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Rather than start another thread I decided to post my 11th bake of baguettes here. I found an all purpose flour with 12% protein much lower than the 13.3% my usual all purpose flour has and decided to give it a try with the baguettes. I would like to get the original T55 flour I once had but cannot currently find it. I think that was the best flour for baguettes that I’ve used so far.

I used 0.25% nutritional yeast in this dough, it improves the extensibility and helps with stretching the shaped dough out with less contraction after shaping. This was the same formula otherwise but with 67% hydration this time. I did very little gluten development with this with only Rubaud when mixing the salt in followed by only two sets of coil folds. Baguettes seem to do better with less rather than more gluten development.

I have taken to baking these at 500ºF with steam for 13 minutes then venting and continuing to bake at 500ºF with convection on. I’ve been having uneven browning but now with convection they are browning much better.

Overall I think I’m improving on the shaping. Despite the addition of the nutritional yeast they did contract somewhat. I did the pre-shape as a boule so next time when using this flour I will pre-shape as a loose roll, that will get me partway to the length that I want these to be. Happy overall with the bake, I’m feeling more confident and successful with the shaping which has so many challenges. One of the biggest challenges that I never expected was the right amount of flour on the bench to roll and stretch them out. Too little flour and they stick and don’t roll. Too much flour and there isn’t enough friction to roll and stretch. I think I’m finally getting a better handle on flouring LOL.

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Wow those are amazing. I’ve never heard of using nutritional yeast in dough – I put it in a veggie soup and cracker dough for “cheesiness.”

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@Fermentada my understanding is that the glutathione in the nutritional yeast improves extensibility. I’ve used it a couple of times now making baguettes. I’m not sure if I will increase the amount next time to 0.5% but at these levels there isn’t any affect on flavour. I have found the best way to add it is to dissolve it in the water, it dissolves very quickly.

Glutathione is one of those very good for you things. Nice! I had no idea nutritional yeast offered more than heaps of B12.

I struggle to measure things like yeast flakes or herbs. Can you give me a sense of teaspoons per Xg flour that would be 0.25%?

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@Fermentada I just measured out a tsp of nutritional yeast and it weighs 1.83 g. So 0.25% of 1000 g is 2.5 g. So in teaspoons for 1000 g of flour 0.25% nutritional yeast is about 1.4 teaspoons if my math is correct.

Thank you! I’ll round up to 1.5 tsp per 1000g and hopefully remember to try it with my next baguettes.

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I’d love to hear what you think of the difference. I may need to increase it to 0.5% next time with the current flour I’m using since they did contract more than I wanted. I wish I could get my hands on the T55 flour again, that made the best tasting and best crumb of any of my baguettes so far.

T55 is an AP with a slight amount of whole grainness to it?

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The T55 I purchased and used was very white without any bran in it. It was lowish protein similar to AP but seemed to be milled very very fine. It really produce the best crumb and crust.

Here is the crumb from that bake.

From the San Francisco Baking Institute in a newsletter.
“ To improve dough extensibility without using an autolyse, deactivated yeast can also be used. It will increase dough extensibility, improving dough and bread characteristics. Because deactivated yeast is a natural product (therefore maintaining a “clean” label) it is used more often in laminated dough and formulas of “long-shaped” breads like baguettes. It is important to remember that this type of yeast won’t generate any fermentation activity.”

So I read up on the 0.55% in T55 flour. It’s what’s left if you burn a flour and it indicates presence of bran, germ, and outer endosperm.

Breadtopia’s AP flour is 0.56% and 10-10.5% protein. Have you tried using it? It seems like a good approximation for T55.

No I haven’t looked into it. I just assumed that the cost of shipping to Canada would be prohibitive @Fermentada. I guess I should actually look at that.

Oh yeah, it might be.

Here is the response about shipping to Canada for a 10 lbs bag of flour.

  • UPS Worldwide Expedited (3-5 biz days): $42.17
  • UPS Worldwide Saver (2-3 biz days): $44.37
  • Priority Mail Intl. (USPS): $67.69
  • Priority Mail Express Int. (USPS): $100.83

Otherwise it would have been a consideration.

International shipping is expensive whew!

Thank you, I’ll keep looking locally, I’m sure I can find something better than my current AP flour, although it isn’t too bad.

My goodness!!!

How beautiful Benny!!

I was so “into” that conversation…and admire the tenacity you both possess!

When flour was tough to get (here in Chicago) - we found 44# bags (!) of an AP flour from Canada called “Bakers Roses”…

I simply love this flour!! It’s not unbleached - but my sourdough starter has never been happier! Also everything I’ve baked with it has been wonderful as far as rising and texture go.

Protein content?? Noooo clue.

I’m certainly not as advanced as you two are…but as I said enjoy reading your comments.

I wish I could watch you bake!!

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@Raydee8 you are too kind, I’m far from advanced but I appreciate the compliment.

I just picked up a flour I never noticed before. Our grocery stores shelves are now just starting to regularly have flour back on the shelves so a couple of days ago I had a look at each and everyone of the flours. Other than dropping way down to 8% flour for cake and pastry flour which was also bleached, every other Canadian flour was 13.3% protein, even what is supposed to be all purpose. I never really noticed how high Canadian flour protein is I just assumed I needed to get bread flour to get high protein flour, but apparently not if it is Canadian flour. I then noticed one bag of unbleached all purpose which is from a Canadian brand but the wheat is American. The bag says that it is milled very very fine and only 10% protein. I’m hoping to bake with this and maybe this is the one I’ll be able to get my baguettes to the next level with better extensibility without nutritional yeast. Fingers crossed this is the one, it may take a couple of bakes to see because I find every time I use a new flour it takes at least one bake to figure it out again.

Yes!! I was so surprised by the behavior of the flour…didn’t pay attention to where it was from until I realized how much I love it!

And you sir are quite experienced!