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Video: Baguette 80% hydration

This movie shows me making baguettes with a 80% hydration dough without mixing and only using autolyse and the stretch and folds technique to strengthen the dough. The baguettes are baked in a Rofco hearth bread oven. The oven floor unfortunately caters for shorter baguettes (45cm /17.7 inches), but that will be the case with other home bakers’ ovens too I guess. Over the next months I hope to improve my baguette shaping techniques. I developed the shaping technique you see in the movie myself to best handle the very wet dough that comes with 80% hydration. There is a little time lapse video shot at the ‘end’ of the movie were you see the oven spring of the baguette and the browning of the baguette in high speed.

Check out my recipe for the 80% hydration dough French baguette.

Keep track of my baguette baking adventures through my home baker’s log.

 

 

 

BAKING BAGUETTES: THE MOVIE

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49 Responses to Video: Baguette 80% hydration

  1. Jack says:

    These are excellent! I’ve made them 3 or 4 times and my wife and neighbors want more!
    One addition to the recipe I’ve made is 1 tsp of Thyme and 1/2 tsp of Rosemary – it seems to add just a nice touch.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. tim says:

    Very nice. I have only one really basic question: How did you get this very wet and sticky dough off of the peel, and onto the baking stones?

    Thanks!

    • Marieke says:

      I dust the baguettes a little while they are resting in their couches and I put rice flour on the peels. The trick is to use just enough flour so you just coat the baguettes but not get them covered with too much flour. It’s a delicate balance only to be discovered by baking and baking again. The first few times it didn’t go to well for me, but with each new try it got better and better.
      Hope this helps,

      Ed

    • You’ll find that the dough begins to sort of ‘find itself’ after a couple of ‘stretch-and-fold’ reps. It firms up a bit and becomes much, much easier to handle.
      Happy Baking!
      ja

  3. What a beautiful video. I was memorized. They are so lovingly made! So much time to make these lovelies, I’m not sure I have the patience to commit (– although it does like like so much fun.) I thought I might try to make them with help of Thermomix, but the dough is probably too sticky for it to done easily… hands are best for some things …

    Thank you!

  4. Marieke says:

    Thanks Helene!

    I couldn’t help you with the Thermomix and the sticky dough but it would be interesting to find out, but as you may have seen there is no real mixing with this recipe, it’s almost all stretching and folding by hand.

    But it seems that machine can do almost anything except pay your bills maybe ;-)

    Happy mixing, blending, chopping etc..

    Marieke

  5. Susan Snyder says:

    I made these successfully – but my problem was in attempting to score them – I could not cut them – and just gave up and had beautiful, but rounded baguettes – any tips?

  6. Marieke says:

    Hi Susan,

    Can I ask you what you use for cutting? Do you have a scoring knife / lame? If so you should try to oil it before you use it and then make swift and confident cuts. Have you seen our tips on handling wet dough: http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/tips-on-handling-high-hydration-dough/ and our tips on bread scoring? : http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/bread-scoring-with-confidence/
    Trust me, it will get better as you do it more often.
    Hope this helps! Glad the baguettes otherwise work out for you.

    Marieke

  7. JP says:

    Beautiful baguette and beautiful website. I’ve always had some trouble with wet doughs, and this looks like a great method to tackle them.
    I also have a question that has haunted me for a while. Do you guys know of a good method to check when a wet dough has developed a certain measure of gluten? I have seen some recipes saying that you should have medium gluten development before proceeding, or strong gluten, and I have no idea how to measure this. I have tried using the windowpane test, but I haven’t had much success with sticky doughs.

    Cheers

  8. Marieke says:

    Hi JP,
    We do not have a satisfying answer to your question. The windowpane method does not apply with these doughs. We haven’t heard of a (scientific) method for measuring gluten development. I guess ‘medium gluten’ is in the same category with ‘wait until doubled in size’. How do you know, how do you measure that, by calculating the volume of a sphere by measuring the diameter? So the only thing we can say is you begin with a good and well worked out recipe (from our website or from a good book like Hamelman Bread) and get a feel for the type of dough you are working with. With these baguettes you will notice that especially with the last stretch and fold phase the dough is ‘fighting back’ and it would tear if you would stretch it any further, so you know this is the point to stop and the gluten are well developed, even with a wet dough like this recipe the dough will let you know enough is enough. In short, you get a feel for the dough and what it should look like, based on experience and of course results.
    If anyone knows of an objective method to measure gluten development (apart from the windowpane) especially in the early stages of the dough development during the first kneading, we would like to know about it of course. Of course you can also do an extra stretch and fold and a little rest (15 minutes) when you think your dough needs some more development at the end of the bulk fermentation time before the actual shaping.

    Marieke and Ed

  9. j says:

    Thanks for your very helpful and informative site! I’d love to watch the videos, but unfortunately they’re encoded in some ridiculously high quality and it’s impossible for me to watch them without frame dropouts on my not-latest-and-greatest hardware. Could you possibly post smaller versions next time, or maybe upload them to YouTube? I think you’d definitely reach a larger audience. Thanks!

  10. j says:

    Hello again… oops, never mind, I just noticed they ARE on YouTube, and I can set the quality to something lower. Sorry, how embarrassing ;)

    Thanks again for a great site. I’m looking forward to trying your stretch-and-multiple-rest technique.

  11. Gill says:

    I love your site. I am a keen amateur baker and will definitley be trying your SF Sourdough. Have you watched the videos that come with Richard Bertinet’s Crust? In the extras there is an excellent one on shaping baguettes. Although it looks like he handles his dough more than you – I have used this technique and you still get a lovely ‘holey crumb’. I usually use the autolyse method recipe.
    I will be visiting regularly now I know you are here. Happy Baking!
    Gill

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Gill,

      Nice to meet you here and on Twitter too! We so love the SF sourdough, although it is a long process it is not a labor intensive loaf to make (lots of fridge time!). I hope the recipe works for you too.
      We do not know the video but are very interested to see it of course. I have looked on youtube but I am not sure which one you mean. Do you have the link maybe?

      Would also love to know your absolute favorite bread recipe if you would like to share?!

      Happy baking too

  12. Gill says:

    just noticed I did not answer your question. The Bertinet videos are actually on a DVD inside his books. the baguette shaping one is in the ‘Crust’ G

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  14. dan says:

    great video. you certainly have an easier time handling wet, sticky dough. with me, i am covered with it. half the mixture sticks either to the floured board or the scraper. took your recipe down & will try it in preparation for Christmas dinner. at the very least, the video was wonderful….and the music choice too. although, i listen exclusively to Bob Dylan when handling dough…oh well…

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      He Dan,
      Make sure to do a test version, to avoid Christmas stress, that would be my advice…
      I find that so great to hear, you and Bob Dylan and the dough handling. It is like your very own baking ritual.
      Same rituals here but with different music. Also love old style 40′ties, 50′ties music when in a nostalgic baking mood.
      I believe every recipe has its appropriate baking music.

      Happy (Christmas) baking,

      Marieke

  15. EB in TX says:

    Impressive! Love your technique. Real mastery!

    I’ll pass this along as another way to get a lot of flavor but without a separate preferment. My current favorite “baguette” (I’m limited to 15″, which I scale at 270 g) is a variant of Reinhart’s Pain à l’Ancienne done at 69% hydration using a blend of American flours and 1.0% IDY (SAF Red) with 2% salt. The flour blend is 5% KA White Whole Wheat and 95% KA AP. It comes about as close to a French Type 55 as can be done with typical hard red wheat American flours. Mix all ingredients as a straight dough using ice water in a KA stand mixer with an old fashioned dough hook on lowest speed to a shaggy state, then increase the speed to 2 and finish the mix on speed 2 for 2 minutes. Immediately put the just mixed dough in a clean bowl (no oil) covered with plastic into the refrigerator and allow to ferment cold for 48 – ? hours. The flavor develops very nicely in the cold — I let it go at least 48 hours, but think it’s best at 96 hrs, and have let it go as much as 7 days (I have no idea what happens beyond 7 days). If going beyond 48 hours gently degas without stretching every 48 hours. From the fridge it rests at room temp for an hour or two to knock of the chill, then it gets well degassed on the bench followed by a single 4-way stretch-and-fold, then 2 hours in the covered bowl to finish fermentation. From there it’s preshape, shape, proof and bake as you like.

    The things I like about this approach – simplicity at mix time, ease of timing through the week (any day between the second and day 7 is really good), and most importantly the flavor is, in my opinion, the best I have experienced. I think you could easily adapt this to higher hydration levels by just doing in some more folding stages during the RT fermentation period as you did with your method. You can also use the no-knead method of recovering just a portion of the dough to finish and bake, saving the rest for a later day.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello EB,

      Thanks for adding your favorite recipe. We have to try it of course! Great to learn it works for so many days and you can use it almost at any time. It sounds very versatile and convenient and the time and slow fermentation will indeed make it very tasty and full of flavor.
      So many (commercial) bakers will not have the time or inclination to go with these types of recipes. People have told us after tasting the baguette that ‘you cannot buy this anywhere’ and we understand that it is almost impossible to put so much effort and time in a loaf of bread and also make money from it. But a serious :) home baker does not have these worries and can go for maximum taste, giving the dough all the time, love and attention it needs.

      Again thank you so much and happy baking!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi EB,
      Just made your dough and put it in the fridge, intent on leaving it at least till Sunday. Only adjustment I made is lowering the salt to 1.8%, the amount we use and like for most of our breads, and a little extra water to compensate for the slightly higher absorption of the flour I used . For the rest I am going to follow your method and see how it turns out this side of the ocean :)

      Thank again for sharing,

      Marieke

      • JP says:

        Hi Marieke,

        Can you email or post EB’s version of the baguette that you are trialling.
        Love your 80% hydration baguette, great work & great video.
        Thanks,
        John

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Hello JP,
          It is the recipe you will find in the comment by EB just above.
          And thanks for liking our version of the baguette too.

          Happy Baking!

          Marieke

  16. Calantha says:

    Wow, thank you so much for this video. What a great resource. I’ve been wanting to work with higher hydration breads but always feel immediately defeated when I start working with the dough. But what this video shows me is that I’m not working the dough enough and that if I just spend the time, it will come together nicely! Thank you again.

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  18. Adrian says:

    The song towards the end is soooo hilarious. After all those singing about French food and whatnot the girl asked ‘Parlez-vous français?’(Do you speak French) Long pause. The man: Non. (No). The girl: Hmm…

    Your movie is as awesome as the one on croissants thank you so much!!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      We cannot help saying huh huh huh baguette! when we bake them :)

      • Adrian says:

        Your weekend bakery sure sounds like a fun place to be! By the way I have decided to make my 5th batch of croissant AND my first try on baguettes tomorrow. Not sure if I’ve bitten more than I can chew there but considering I’ve got the entire day to myself I shall hope for the best. My Uni results are coming out tomorrow though so I think I’ll probably be too excited to do anything before I actually see them.

        I think I’m starting to get addicted to the smell that yeast gives off during proofing. It’s like a sweet aroma with a hint sourness.

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          We hear you! Fingers crossed for good uni results!! Let us know if we can congratulate you on both your bread and study results :O

  19. Drew says:

    There is no way the dough in that video is an 80% hydration!

    I tried making these, I followed the recipe to the letter and I ended up with something slightly thicker than pancake mix! endless rounds of stretching, resting, folding yielded no result. In the end I poured the hopping mess into a silicon mould and baked it. The resulting bread was tasty, but not at all strong enough to stretch or fold, let alone shape into a baguette!

    Very disappointed.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Drew,
      Please do not blame the recipe and please do not blame yourself. It is very likely that your flour is cause of your result.
      In all likelihood the lack of gluten in your flour prevented the dough from developing properly. Every flour in every country is different and lots of countries have different systems. Try to find a higher gluten (organic) bread flour and perhaps also reduce the amount of water a little (5%). That should hopefully make a lot of difference.
      Hope you will give it another try!

      Ed & Marieke

  20. Drew says:

    Hi there,

    Apologies, I didn’t mean to be, well, mean, but reading back it does read like a douchey comment.

    The flour I used is 12% protein, I’m no stranger to baking so I think it was overly hydrated for the given humidity: It was around 24̊C today. Having said that, the conventional shaped load I ended up with tasted fantastic, its one of the joys of home baking: Even the mistakes taste great!

    I’m trying to source some Canadian flour, where I live (Sweden) there’s very little choice at the supermarket since everyone here just bakes boring little cinnamon bun, so I’ll give this another go when I can find something with a bit more strength.

    Take care!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      You sound like a lone baker in the big Swedish cinnamon wilderness!
      Here in Holland we are lucky to have our windmills that are still working and producing good quality flour.
      We have done tests in the past, just to see what difference good or bad quality flour makes and we came to the conclusion that it is almost impossible to make a good loaf with supermarket flour in our country (bit the same as in Sweden I guess).
      I hope you can get your hands on some good flour from Canada or maybe some other source.

      Have a great (baking?) weekend!

  21. many says:

    Hi,

    Nice video, excelent instructions. Thanks. I only have one question… Can you talk about the oven? It is the first time I see something like that. It was custom made for you?
    Thanks a lot for all the information and passion you put in to bread

    From Caracas, Venzuela

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Many,
      Thanks for liking the video and for your kind words :)
      The oven you see is a Rofco and it is made in Belgium. You can see it as a semi-professional oven that is used by either very enthusiastic home bakers or micro bakeries. Inside it has ‘chamotte’ stone slaps on which you bake your bread.
      They come in different sizes with a capacity ranging from 2 to 12 breads in one bake.
      You can visit the Rofco website and check it out: http://www.rofco.be/index_EN.html
      We own a B20 and a B40 model. We are very happy with it.

      Happy Baking
      from Holland,

      Ed & Marieke

      • many says:

        Hi!

        Thanks again for all the info about your oven.
        I am just proofing the recipe for the baguetes :-) Thanks, thanks, thanks.

        Many

  22. Gabriel says:

    Hi, really nice and informative video. I really enjoy it and learned a lot from it. However, I am wondering did you use any special baguette couche for proofing your baguette? I live in a country (Malaysia) where home baking is not very popular, so I wonder if I could proof a baguette without the couche?

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Gabriel,
      Yes, we do use a couche made of thick bakers linen to proof the baguettes. You can try and use a, preferably linen, teacloth or tea towel and dust it liberally with flour and support it on both sides with pieces of wood or bags of sugar for instance. (cotton tends to stick more to the dough so you would have to use more flour than with linen cloth but if you can find nothing else you could try that too).

      Hope you will find a way to make it work!

      Happy Baking,

      Marieke & Ed

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  25. Janet Smith says:

    Hello, I really enjoy your bread site. I especially like the way you problem-solve—-makes many of the bread making steps much easier. You are to be complimented for helping to simplify what is a highly complex project.

    If needing to fold in multiple seeds and small nuts, especially into a wet dough, how and when would you advise this be done? Before bulk fermentation, or after? Or after bulk, but before shaping? I find it very difficult to get the seeds/nuts into the dough without really manhandling the puffy dough. Thank you for your advice.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Janet,
      Usually the best thing you can do is gently knead the seeds and nuts into the dough at the end of mixing. But the challenge with this recipe is that there is no mixing of course. So in this case, with the baguettes, we would wait until after the S&F and then try to incorporate them. But we have to say that we have never done anything like this and the chance of ‘damaging’ the carefully build up fluffy dough is very real. Which would lead to the conclusion that this really isn’t the best recipe to try something like this.
      But we would love to hear your feedback if and when you do.

      Happy baking!

      Ed & Marieke

  26. Philip says:

    Great video! I made my first high hydration bread, (75%) last night. They turned out OK for my first time.
    I can’t wait to make more using the techniques from your video.

    Thanks again!

  27. Peter J. Fusco says:

    Haven’t made the bread yet (I will), but I loved the video. The background music is a perfect complement, it was fun to watch. In the upcoming new edition of my cookbook I’m going to suggest this site for people who want to bake bread especially as the baguette is essentially the same thing as Italian bread only in a different shape.

    • Nicole says:

      I have made your baguette recipe once using bread flour and was very please with the result. Many recipes asked to use French flour type 55. Could you please tell me the reason your are using bread flour. I do trust all you recipes and I am making my second batch now and I am sticking to yours. ( I have got type 55 flour for my croissant )
      Many thank for your wonderful work on baking I am big fan.
      Nicole.

      • Weekend Bakers says:

        Hi Nicole,
        Thanks for that!
        With the bread flour and type 55 flour we use (because every brand can be different and give different results) we found that we get the best taste for the baguettes with our bread flour and the best shaped / airiest / layered croissants with the type 55 (the bread flour is a bit ‘heavier’).
        For you this could be a bit different because you source from other mills / shops. The only way to find out is to bake and test!

        Have a very merry Christmas and a very happy 2014 with lots of beautiful loaves, baguettes and croissants!

        Greetings,

        Marieke & Ed