This is the comment thread for the Breadtopia blog post originally published here:
In making both the poolish and the dough, could I substitute ¼ cup sourdough starter (mine is 100% hydration-half flour, half water by weight) for the ¼ teaspoon yeast in each, as you do with other sourdough recipes?
Yes, you sure can. The rising times will likely be different, but if you’re keeping your eye on somewhat you should be fine. I bought a sourdough baguette at Madison (WI) Sourdough last week and it was awesome. The crumb was just as open as the non sourdough version. Although I wonder if they also use a bit of commercial yeast along with the sourdough. I would have asked if I thought of it when I was there.
Many thanks, Eric. I’ll try it without adding yeast and see how they come out.
Fresh from the oven! (And part of yesterday’s Boulle.) Excellent recipe - they always come out perfect!
Thanks! This was my first time baguetting and I fudged everything and the bread came out ugly and delicious. I had a little too much sourdough starter lying around, so 250g of freshly fed starter = poolish. It didn’t look awesome and bubbly in the morning. I started the process but then had to run out, so dumped the whole mess in the fridge for 7ish hours and came back home and kind of rushed it through — ugly, but delicious. Posting this to give other newcomers hope.
I’m confused about substituting the sourdough starter for the poolish. One commenter states that 100 grams of starter is the poolish. But the polish made with yeast weighs 250g. Shouldn’t one use 250g of starter if you are using it as a substitute?
Yes. And ideally close to the same hydration so the total liquid content is the same.
Just FYI, not everyone likes sitting through a 15 minute video just to get directions on how to bake a baguette. All I wanted to know is how hot your oven is. I’m sure your video is top-notch, but having these simple instructions written somewhere in the recipe would be most helpful. Thanks.
Can I divide the dough in half to make two larger loaves to fit into my two-loaf French bread pan with larger wells? I imagine the baking time would increase to 25-35 minutes.
Yes, dividing into 2 loaves is perfectly fine, but you would probably only need to increase the baking time a few minutes. Investing in an instant read thermometer to check the internal dough temp would take a lot of the guesswork out of it. When the internal temp hits about 200ºF, your bread is done baking.
How do I get more holes, gluten structure (?) in my baguette? It seems kind of dense.
There are many things that effect crumb structure. Dough hydration, dough handling, proofing times, yeast viability, type of flour are some that come to mind. What kind of flour are you using?
It’s un bleached organic white from Highwood Crossing here locally. It has 13.3% protein content. Check highwoodcrossing.com for more info. It was certainly a lot stickier than the dough in your video but that usually yields a more porous final product. I mixed the poolish at about 9 last night and did the baguettes starting about 6 this morning. Perhaps the poolish needed more time. Here’s the inside of the baguette:
Or maybe more dough development (mixing, kneading, stretch & folds), whichever methods you’re using for gluten development. Your flour seems fine, but if you’re unable to solve this, you might try another brand of bread flour just to see if that’s it.
Using your recipe, cooking for 17 minutes, and using a 3 loaf baguette pan, I achieve excellent results. My wife gave it a B+. Being an engineer, I plan to achieve her A+
What I want to see is a thicker crust with the same crumb. Any ideas about that? Ken in Annapolis, MD
Maybe should let rise longer😊
After several miserable failures, tried again yesterday and got lucky! The crumb is more dense than I’d like, so may try again with higher hydration. Thanks, Eric!
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Whoops, obviously copy and paste doesn’t work for photos…!
Tweaked a bit (60% more salt, 50% less DIY, 10% more H2O), make oven a bit hotter next also-will get serious about developing complexity on flavor next mix.