Chronicles: First time baguette

Chronicles: First time baguette

Hey, fellow bakers!

I just felt so compelled to share a small moment I had in baking baguettes.

I have to admit I was terrified to start my baking adventures with the baguette for fear of a high hydration dough—something I have never had to work with. Prior to making baguettes, I have made challah (not a total disaster), brioche hot cross buns (these went well!) and milk buns (probably my fave). As great as these enriched breads were, I have always had a soft spot for lean breads—I fondly remember the days of my mother picking up a (supermarket—I know, but it’s all we had in Barbados in those days) baguette and joining me devouring.

I said I would attempt to make it myself and have to admit, it turned out alright! Would love to hear your thoughts or any feedback.

I used a 73% hydration dough with baker’s flour (11.4%) and some spelt flour. Since I have a sourdough starter going, I went for a sourdough baguette—I know, perhaps not the most traditional but I love the slight tang. This was the first time I made a lean dough or even a sourdough, far less one of this hydration level.

I have to work on my shaping and more importantly, my scoring. I used a fresh razor blade but found it wasn’t slicing cleanly—kept snagging. I imagine a lame would probably make it easier to slice into the dough? Also, these were baked on a cast iron griddle in the oven since I don’t own a baking stone or steel (though I do plan to buy one!). Each loaf was 250g but wished I had made them a bit smaller since the griddle is only about 14”. I also used steam generated from lava rocks and wet towels in a gas oven.

They had a nice crackly crust, a chewy inside—really nice. Is it normal for the crust to be less “crunchy/crusty” after a few hours? I do live in a very humid climate. I was wondering if maybe the crust is too thick? If it is, what can I do to correct? I did bake these at 500F—thinking I should have dropped to 475 for 20 min.

I am pretty proud and think they turned out nice but I look forward to hearing what you all may say.

Crumb and crust