The New Bakers Dozen
Help with proofing a baguette

The The Bakers Dozen: Help with proofing a baguette
By seemichelle on Sunday, September 17, 2000 - 06:27 pm: Edit

I've been trying to make a baguette at home. For how long should I leave it for the final rise before placing it in the oven? I let mine rise till double, but when I slashed it the dough deflated. It never regained its shape in the oven.

By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, September 17, 2000 - 08:26 pm: Edit

proof it in a wet climate. Place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of your oven.
If you are proofing it in your oven, take it out and let it sit before you cut it. Bring your oven as high as you can. Cut it with an old fashioned double razor or something that sharp and thin.
A perforated pan is better, place it in the oven and give it a couple of shots with a spray bottle to create some steam. Do this throughout the first bake.Lower temp and finish the bake.
Use bread flour, not ap.
There are many recipe and proceedures for the home in print.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 12:23 am: Edit

Here is a cheap baker's lame: Buy some double razors from the drug store and stick them onto wooden coffee stir sticks, such as the type you get from Starbucks.

By W.DeBord on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 06:54 am: Edit

So are you guys saying that the problem with her dough deflating was from her slashing the dough wrong?

By Panini (Panini) on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 07:49 am: Edit

No, more than likely the proofing method or ingredients ie. flour, water temp, etc.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 08:21 am: Edit

Nah...I saw lots of deflated baguettes at school when the person in charge of making them forgot them in the proof box. I like to stick the dough in a cambro for the fermentation stage so I can see when it has doubled, but for the final proof I go by feel. Too little proofing and the dough won't push enough and give those nice ears, too much at it deflates.

By Ramodeo (Ramodeo) on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 08:45 am: Edit

Try the french bread recipe in Julia Child's Baking with Julia. It's given me the best results at home.

I found, in trying many different home recipes, that the length of the final rise depends a lot on the texture of the dough. I have one recipe for Italian bread that starts with a sponge made only with a pinch of yeast and rises overnight refrigerated, then the dough is made and it rises again at cool room temp, then the loaves are shaped and the final rise is only about 20-30 minutes. The long slow beginning allows the yeast to multiply and creates so many bubbles in the dough that if you let it rise too long after shaping, it get too soft and deflates more easily when slashing.

Also, having your oven temp as high as you can get it helps a lot. 500 degrees F. plus is great. If you can, bake the bread directly on unglazed quarry tiles placed on the lowest rack. Transfer the loaf to the tiles using a floured peel.

If you have created enough bubbles in the dough, AND your dough has enough strength (from using bread or hi-gluten flour as Panini suggested) AND your loaf has been shaped with a tightly stretched outer skin AND it goes into an extremely hot oven, the high heat will force the bubbles to expand and will cause the loaf to puff up to a cylinder shape even if it deflates somewhat when slashed. You won't even need those "U" shaped baguette pans! And it's so fun to watch them bake!

The Julia Child book has TONS on info. It's worth a trip to the library for sure, and to me, it's been easily worth the $45 it costs. the french bread recipe has 4 ingredients, I think, but it has 5 pages of info and explanations.

Good Luck!

By Rubble (Rubble) on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 01:16 pm: Edit

I agree with Ramadeo. julia Child's book is a real treasure and well worth the money. Buy it!

I also agree with the suggestions of Ramadeo and Panini, but am I mistaken or doesn't the baguette get some leavening from spraying down that sides of the oven during the first 5-10 minutes of hi-temp baking (then reducing the temp for the remainder of the baking time)? I've made french baguettes/sourdoughs at home and my bread has always inflated with the application of steam.

By Rubble (Rubble) on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 01:19 pm: Edit

Oops! Just re-read Panini's comments -- sorry for repeating what was already well stated... (It's Monday..what can I say?)

By seemichelle on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 07:30 pm: Edit

Thank you, everyone. Will try what you've said.

By Panini (Panini) on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 09:26 pm: Edit

I'm of the opinion that the moisture is more for proper crusting of the bread . Its better to kick it with temperature than steam. Of course the steam increases temp. Does that make sense?

By Rubble (Rubble) on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 11:41 am: Edit

Sure does, Panini! And my apologies again!

By Ramodeo (Ramodeo) on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 05:38 pm: Edit

How does steam increase temperature?

By Panini (Panini) on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 06:15 pm: Edit

Yea, ya know I asked myself that same question after I read my response. For some reason I thought that steam is hotter than it's envoirnment. I don't know. Something about water turned into vapor i??? I'll have to ask my 9 year old.
It may be just in my head due to the caution of steam in the industry.Or doesn't the temp. rise in the oven when you hit the steam?
Ramodeo, do you know?

By Yankee on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 06:15 pm: Edit

When water is converted into gas(steam), the process is exothermic (heat is produced). The steam is hotter than the boiling water from which it is being produced. As the steam cools, it turns back into water.

Honestly, this is one of the few things I remember from Chem 1A. Besides, I watch people burn themselves all day long...

The steam is also added during the initial baking process to help the bread form a crust. The water forms on the outside of the bread after the addition of moisture to the oven, and as it turns into steam, it dries the outside skin of the bread. The water basically boils off of the skin of the bread, thereby cooking the skin faster than the inside of the loaf.

This process also helps keep the rest of the bread moist, kind of like searing the outside of a piece of meat. Carmalization for looks and flavor, plus moisture retention.

Happy baking.

By Panini (Panini) on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 09:37 pm: Edit

Did you answer the question? Does injecting steam into an oven increase the temp.?

By momoreg on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 09:52 pm: Edit

Yankee, How hot is steam? I was always under the impression that it's the same as boiling water. I didn't know that H2O could go any higher in temp.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - 12:28 am: Edit

How hot is steam is a difficult question to answer. Here is some more chemistry for you.

As energy is added to water molecules they get excited and move with increasing speed causing the temperature to increase. Each degree increase from freezing point to boiling point requires 1 calorie of energy per gram of water. (As an off topic point of interest, if you have every seen the beer & ice cream diet hoax, the reason why it doesn't work is because they calculate the calories in beer and ice cream when they are in reality kilocalories).

When the water reaches 100degC it goes through a phase change from liquid to gas. This phase change requires the addition of a huge amount of extra energy, 540cal/g to be precise. This extra energy is called the LATENT HEAT OF VAPORIZATION. So, water at 100degC has 100 calories worth of energy in it, but steam at 100degC has 640 calories worth of energy. This is why steam burns so badly, because it has a lot more energy in it. The same is true with oil, spill 100degC oil on one arm and 100degC water on the other and the oil will produce the worse burn.

The other major difference is that steam is a gas and is much, much less dense. In order to increase the temperature of steam much beyond 100degC it needs to be under pressure. I can dig around for the equation for that too, but I don't think you want it.

So, in answer to the original question, I can't determine what the temperature of the steam entering the oven is, but I am guessing that it is significantly less than 500degF and that it probably lowers the oven temperature slightly. Yankee is correct in that it causes rapid evaporation of moisture from the outside of the bread.

An FYI, when ice melts from a 0degC ice cube to 0degC water it draws 80 cal/g of heat from the surrounding matter -- this is the latent heat of fusion.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - 12:37 am: Edit

What mika Said

My understanding of using steam in bread baking is to keep the dough moist so it doesn't harden up before it gets its last bounce. If there is no moisture in the oven the crust dries out before it can expand.

By Yankee on Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - 02:03 am: Edit

Actually, that steam helps the crust form, which like searing, keeps the moisture inside.

Those slashes on top form an escape hatch for the steam that forms inside the loaf while it bakes. Without them, the loaf will crack all over as the steam tries to get out.

The crust actually starts forming during the second proof. There should be a slight skin on the bread when it gets cut and put into the oven.

By Yankee on Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - 02:14 am: Edit

As for the oven temp rising after the injection of steam, I'm sure it's one of those physics things.

All the bread ovens that I have worked with that had steam injections -- at least the good ones -- I really did not notice any radical temp variation after shooting the steam. If anything, it would drop and then shoot up.

The steam would initially drop the temp, then it would shoot up as whatever was left of the water evaporated out. As Mikeh said, this a major energy release, which would increase your oven temp with all other things being equal.

Hack science lesson over for tonight.

By Bakerboy (Bakerboy) on Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - 04:34 am: Edit

The steam prevents the crust from forming too soon. It lets the inside of the bread coagulate first and then when the water evaporates it forms a thin crust. Otherwise the crust would form to fast and would be too thick. Also the cuts on the top of the dough, keep the crust from bursting because if the crust formed before oven spring was completed the crust would burst. Well its 4:30am...time to sleep some...

By vbean on Wednesday, September 27, 2000 - 04:30 am: Edit

I do not think that yankee bakes very much bread.
A slow rise, refrigerated (or cooled down/slowed down) is called retarding. This creates great texture, most of the great breads you will ever taste have been retarded. This is a question of controlling the yeast. Baker's rely on removing the dough from the retarding tunnel at the correct temperature.By taking the internal temp of the dough- that is how you know that it is ready for the oven.
Slashing the dough helps it rise by allowing the gas to release. Of course, each dough is different- dense doughs would fail if you slashed them. They need the gas to rise.
Proofing rushes the yeast to perform.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Wednesday, September 27, 2000 - 10:44 am: Edit

I'll admit I don't bake much bread and This is the first time I have learned the internal temp of the dough determins when it is ready for the oven. Is there a standard temp fo all doughs (what is it?) or is it different for different breads.

By Panini (Panini) on Wednesday, September 27, 2000 - 05:58 pm: Edit

Just my 2 cents, I've done an apprenticeship under a master baker from France, baked breads in many commercial places as well as unconventional places and have never retarded yeast breads.
A good baker never has to catch up to the bread the bread must always catch up to you. For baguettes, batards and petite pain we mostly dry proofed in a balancelle before the second jump.
Internal tempersature very important for the first jump in the bowl. I've never seen anyone take the internal temp of proofed bread.
P.S. not trying to start anything, and am certainly open to learning something new.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Wednesday, September 27, 2000 - 06:02 pm: Edit

I was taught that there is a proper temperature that bread should reach at the end of the kneading stage, but I have never heard of a proper temperature at the end of the proofing stage. Some commercial bakeries have machines that keep the water at a specific temperature for use in mixing doughs. However, I have produced hundred loaf batches simply by using approximations of ice cold, cool, tepid, or slightly warm water and mixing it until it I feel it is done with great results.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Wednesday, September 27, 2000 - 06:05 pm: Edit

I was taught that there is a proper temperature that bread should reach at the end of the kneading stage, but I have never heard of a proper temperature at the end of the proofing stage. Some commercial bakeries have machines that keep the water at a specific temperature for use in mixing doughs. However, I have produced hundred loaf batches simply by using approximations of ice cold, cool, tepid, or slightly warm water and mixing it until it I feel it is done with great results.

By Panini (Panini) on Wednesday, September 27, 2000 - 07:01 pm: Edit

Yes I agree, When you say kneading I assume you are speaking of the mixing.
I'm very interested in the cold tunnel thing, I've just never been around it.
We have a water chiller but never monitor it. My best thermometer is my hand, although I do stick the dough if its a large batch in the spiral.
Most of my breads use starters and sours.

By Bakerboy (Bakerboy) on Friday, September 29, 2000 - 12:24 am: Edit

I made some italian bread tonight. It came out like crap. I don't know why though, but I have some clues. First of all the cornmeal on the bottom of the pan burned. Also I tried proofing it in my oven, the way that was mentioned a few posts back. I guess this was a mistake too because the dough dried out. I didn't think I would have to cover it because it was in the oven and I kept the door shut. When I scored the bread, the cuts stayed like little slits. Usually I see bread kind of spread out when it is cut. It just stayed as a slit like a paper cut, if you know what I mean. Well I decided to bake it anyway and see what happend. It came out heavy, but the crust seemed fine. By the way the bread felt almost perfect when I was doing the make-up. Smooth and elastic, like its supposed to be...The inside, wasn't raw but it was spongie and doughy tasting.. Also, I was wondering if it could be the flour. I was short bread flour by 8 ounces so I used all-purpose bleached for that 8 and mixed it together. This is only the second time I have tried to make italian bread at home...So its not that disapointing. Hey I ate a lot of it anyway. I was pretty damn hungry when it was done, and something has to come out pretty damn bad and nasty tasting to keep me away. Its a whole different story baking things at home than at work...Maybe I should buy a proof box for my house...Another thing, this inside of the bread was was like it was not all together...there was the crust then there was the section that was the spongied part, than the bottom crust....Strange. Oh well, at least bread doesn't cost much to make...I might have made a few spelling errors, but I am not gonna correct them, becuase I am upset about my bread. I am gonna have to make it over and over till I get it right now, because thats how I get when I screw something up...I constantly think about it, and when I get what I need to make it, I make it over and over and over and over, till it comes out right, I guess I am a little obsesive about things...I'd like to hear what you all think...By the way never bake or cook when you are hungry or you will rush and make mistakes

By W.DeBord on Friday, September 29, 2000 - 08:33 am: Edit

Buy a proof box for home ....hope that's a joke??? You know bread proofs all by its-self just sitting on the counter and it's free.

I don't find baking at home a good place to learn. When at home your a home baker. You don't pay full attention, you rarely have all the ingred., your oven is usually way off, etc...

No one can say what went wrong...probably several things. Don't over think this, just make it again taking your time and closely follow the written directions for that recipe (it doesn't sound like your ready to improvise yet).

By Yankee on Friday, September 29, 2000 - 02:00 pm: Edit

Hey vbean,

Thanks again for the insult. You must have really had a bad day. For someone who gets so bent on others for being negative, you really seem to enjoy it.

"...bakes very much bread."

er, ok!

By Chefrick (Chefrick) on Friday, September 29, 2000 - 09:46 pm: Edit

Here we go again! Man your battle stations,DIVE,DIVE,!!

By Bakerboy (Bakerboy) on Friday, September 29, 2000 - 11:30 pm: Edit

Yes W.D Bord it was a joke about the proof box. What do you mean that I am not ready to improvise yet?..That was a nice cheap shot. Thanks for kicking me while I'm down.

By Panini (Panini) on Saturday, September 30, 2000 - 12:00 pm: Edit

That was not a cheap shot, it sounds like your not ready to experiment with formulas, flour,proofing etc. I was the one who mentioned proofing in a gas oven with the pilot.=, I also mentioned to put a pan of h20 on the bottom.
You may want to try some starters and sours. Did you get a jump in the bowl? Than another jump? than form and get another jump before you scored?
Its better to dip your bread in semolina or corm meal and then pan it up, stray grains will burn up. What kind of yeast are you using.

vbean, I still would like to hear about the cold proofing tunnel. Waiting.

By Bakerboy (Bakerboy) on Saturday, September 30, 2000 - 01:08 pm: Edit

So what do you mean? Are you trying to say that you are more of an authority on this?. What I am too incompedent? You know everything and I know nothing?. Thats ok, keep your comments to yourself. People come in hear for help, not to be ridiculed. Are you gonna make fun of my spelling now?. Please try and be more helpful...

By Panini (Panini) on Saturday, September 30, 2000 - 02:13 pm: Edit

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I'll keep my comments to myself with you. I have not ridiculed, I haven't a clue what your talking about" spelling".
I asked you a couple of questions about your method and proceedure? To help you, not to ridicule. I did not say you know nothing, but from your post it came across that way,hense, the improvise comment.
If your looking for confrontation than post to vbean.
I have been here for a while, I come here for help and give help when I can. Its a good idea to read the posts slowly and carefully so you don't misconstrue things.

By Chefrick (Chefrick) on Saturday, September 30, 2000 - 06:42 pm: Edit




By Bakerboy (Bakerboy) on Saturday, September 30, 2000 - 11:14 pm: Edit

Ok, guys I guess I was just having a bad day...Things just upset me easily like a lot of people in this business I guess. I just took it the wrong way. Thanks a lot for your input..I look forward to talking with you all again soon.

By vbean on Friday, November 03, 2000 - 05:47 am: Edit

O.K., you will get much better texture from slowly retarded yeast. Of course flour is very important in bread; unbleached flour from a reliable source is very important.
Read about La Brea Bread (at La Brea .com) and look foreward to tasting the bread. Modern bread baking in France will probably learn from this. Yes, place your doughs in the refigerator to rise overnight. You should take the temp of the dough because it tells you how active the yeast is. As the yeast warms up, you should continue to take the temp- this is how you will know (with your touch) when it is ready to bake.

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