Baguette training Part 2- Tips & Tricks

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Baguette training part 2!  This time I want to write about baking tips I find useful and that work.  When I tried to bake baguettes for the first time, they didn’t look like baguettes. It was just a long bread. But after a few times, trying various tips and tricks, I finally got a descent look. Those tips and tricks made a huge difference.

As I was researching how to achieve the look of baguettes you see in shops, I found a few very important points.
1) Steam
2) Position in the oven
3) The first 5 minutes

So how do you do it?

1) Steam is very important for getting those lovely cuts (coupe) in the hard crust, as well as achieving a better oven spring.

To get steam, I use pie-stones and a roasting tray. When preheating the oven, I put a roasting tray with pie-stones on the bottom of the oven. When the oven is hot enough (280℃ or higher) just before putting in the bread, I pour 1/2 a cup of boiling water into the roasting tray.

I spray a very fine mist on the bread (4-5 squirts of the bottle) just before putting it in the oven.

2) In the previous post, ‘Baguette training“, I was baking my baguettes on the bottom of the oven to get maximum heat from below. I found that by putting the baguettes on the top shelf in the oven and keeping the pie stones on the bottom, you get steam evenly throughout the oven.  It’s also easier to pour the water in the pie stones tray.

With a better positioning of the bread, I got those lovely “ears” on the bread I’d been struggling to get.

3) I’m using a gas convection oven which has a very strong fan. When I first started making baguettes, I would just put the bread in and cook away. The first five minutes are very important as the bread opens up and this determines how successful your coupe will be. My fan would blow hot air and dry up the surface of the bread too quickly, preventing it from opening up.

Now, I pre-heat the oven to a higher temperature (280℃) and as soon as I put the bread in, I turn the oven off for 5 minutes. The temperature comes down to around 220℃ which is the ideal temperature for my bread. Then, I turn the oven back on at 210℃ for the last 15-20 minutes.

During those first 5 minutes, I am usually glued to the oven door, checking to see how the bread is coming along.

I hope these tips and tricks help you as much as they did me!

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This post is submitted to YeastSpotting.

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About Mamiko

My name is Mamiko, I am Japanese, wife of a French-Australian artist and mother of 2 little girls who are full of life and energy. Through my husband’s work we have ended up travelling and moving around an awful lot. I have had to give up on my profession of choice, magazine editor, but in doing so I have had some time to explore different avenues and have been focusing a lot on food – I loooove eating! I have worked in a few restaurants since leaving Japan so I guess it was a bit of a natural progression. My English is far from perfect so you'll have to bare with me while I blog about my experiments with food. Thanks for taking an interest and I hope you'll find this journey as exciting as it is for me!

4 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing these tips. Trying to get my baguettes to open up properly is something that I struggle with. It’s never occurred to me that the fan may have an impact on this so I’ll have a look at my oven settings to see of there is a way of switching it off – my fan keeps going even when the oven is off unfortunately.

    • Thank you for your comment. I think difficult thing is that knowing the character of your oven because every oven has different character! It took while to get to know mine. (oh maybe it’s because mine is old…) :) maybe try using fine spray of water? wishing you good luck!

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