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jengineer 04-27-2006 07:54 AM

CanuckJim's 8 & 18 minute breads
5 Attachment(s)
Jim has asked that I post some of his breads for you

Eight minute baguette, both crust and crumb, first 3 pics
Eighteen minute Olive & Thyme Boule, both crust and crumb, last 2 pics

make your mouth water for smell-a-net

Richard 04-27-2006 05:39 PM

Looks good.

What was temp, that seems awfully fast

CanuckJim 04-27-2006 09:40 PM


Temps. For the 8 minute baguette (high hydration Pain a la Ancienne formula): 700 hearth brick, 650 dome brick, air temp around 600, first bake after firing (can't be sure of the air temp because my air therm pegs at 600). For the 18-20 minute boule, second bake, 650 hearth, 600 dome, air at 550-600. These guidelines are just that, rough. Close is fine. The working rule of thumb is that the hearth brick temp will read about 75 degrees hotter than the actual air temp.

You're correct, on the face of it, seems way too fast. BUT, it's only dough, so try it. Won't hurtcha.

It's a balance between the crust and the crumb. Use lots of steam. If the crust gets too brown for you after, say, 5 mins and 10 mins, respectively, leave the oven door off for the rest of the time. Personally, I prefer the dark "European Bake" look that varies from black to mahogany to tan over the surface, but suit yourself. Goes back to a lot of time spent in a tiny Provencal village during the early seventies, nineteen that is. Man, was that stuff black. Point is, look can be manipulated. Some of my first time, illiterate customers say my breads are "burned." Sad, but I try to educate them as politely as possible. Sigh. FO and die Betty Crocker, or you'll be cursed to marry the Pilsbury Dough Boy and figure out the gender/dominance stuff on the flay/fly.

The interior temps, respectively, should be circa 205 for baguette, 210 for boule (pan breads 190). At those temps, the breads MUST be baked properly and completely, period, no exceptions, but ballpark is good. Something higher okay, anything lower not.

There was a concern about the bottoms of the loaves burning at these extreme temps. JE has a pic that shows the undersides of the baguettes which might be posted. The bottoms are what I can only called whitened. There you go.

Ultimate answer: alchemy and rather strong Canadian ale. It's been a very long bake day.

By the way, all the loaves sold in twenty minutes; one guy took 15, not 16, baguette, firm about the number, too. Didn't ask. Astrology? Pan bread tomorrow: my bulletproof, poolish based, wheat and seed bread, mostly. Sigh again. Any takers? Doesn't fail, ever.

Hope this helps a bit for all those devoted, determined, demented people on this forum. Only glad I'm not on the tertiary side.


Richard 04-28-2006 04:19 PM


Truly appreciate your taking the time for such a full explanation.
Have another Labbatt's

CanuckJim 04-29-2006 06:59 AM

Labatt's 50?

No, no, no. I only have Labatt when in Quebec. In Ontario, Molson Canadian is the lager of choice. For IPA, Alexander Keith's rules. Maybe I'll start an export business. I'll trade Marzano's for Keith's any time.


jengineer 04-30-2006 04:57 PM

Botttom's Up
1 Attachment(s)
".....the bums are slightly browned but more like whitened. There was a LOT of semolina on the peels when they were loaded, but they were also coated with flour."

james 04-30-2006 05:22 PM


These look great. Excellent. Very motivating to fire the oven and get baking.

With your wet pan al'anciene recipe, are you slicing off the dough for the baguettes, and not making a torpedo shape?

What is your strategy for slashing?


CanuckJim 05-02-2006 01:07 AM


As you know, this dough is very, very wet and very resistant to shaping, not to say ornery. My strategy is to cut the dough into equal portions with a wet dough knife, gently roll them in flour, push them apart so they don't flow back together, then let them rest for a few minutes while I dust the peels. Be patient. Work quickly, but don't rush. Don't let them sit on the peel more than a few minutes, or they'll stick when you try to load them. If there's any delay at all, let them continue to rest on the floured work surface, then transfer.

When you lift the individual pieces to put them on the peel, they will stretch automatically, but you can stretch them further if you like once they're on the HEAVILY dusted peel. Depending on how wet the dough is and how long you've let it rest, the loaves might spring back a bit, leading to irregular lengths. Let it happen, don't force it. I use a long, flexible, floured cake spatula slid under the loaves to help in the lifting. It helps, but only a bit. Your working surface should have twice as much flour on it than you would normally use; about a cup or so. Right now, I'm using a sheet of corian, while my very unfinished large bake table rests in far too many little pieces in my woodworking shop.

Gently, gently: I've found that the more you handle this stuff, the more you deflate it, messing up the crumb. If you try for classic torpedos, you'll be baking sinkers. It's far, far better to be satisfied with irregular, "rustic" shapes than to be too concerned about perfectly symmetrical and matching loaves. You can pat them around a bit but no more. I'm selling this bread, so I'm careful about equal weights for each loaf, but not the exact same shape. Less hydrated baguette doughs can be made much "prettier" and consistent, but not this one. Come to think of it, classic French bread dough is one of the least hydrated formulas out there, so it takes and holds a shape very well.

Look is very important, of course, but with this dough crumb and flavour rule. At first, be satisfied with weird shapes, then refine.

I've seen quite a few pictures of Pain a la Ancienne baguette made by famous pros, and they all look, more or less, the same as what I'm doing. See, for instance, page 190 of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. His formula and methods are where I started with this bread. Check it out.

For me, high hydration dough does not slash in the ordinary razor blade way; the slashes close up immediately. Instead, just before, and I mean JUST before the loaves are loaded, I snip the tops in three or four places with wet kitchen shears opened as wide as the pivot allows and held at a very low angle (parallel with the tops of the loaves). Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't, as you can see from the various pics. Depends on how quick you are and how hot the oven is; if your timing is right, oven spring happens in a nanosecond, and the cuts will open. Don't worry, be happy. In my experience, you'll never get a perfect grigne with this dough, but I'm still learning.


CanuckJim 05-02-2006 01:25 AM

Oh, oh

Dang. Happened again. Tried to post a pic with my last, but it didn't show up in the reply. Maybe I'll work with JE's magic software and try again.


CanuckJim 05-04-2006 03:54 AM

Pics, finally
2 Attachment(s)

With help from the digital master, JE, I'm finally able to post a backup pic to the discussion we've been having on high temp baking.

The gear shot is meant to show how much semolina you really must have on the peel blade to get high hydration dough to release. Without it, you'll be scraping the loaves off.

The second shot is a beauty detail pic of the cosmetic trim work I've been doing on the outside of the oven portico. My frame house was built in 1856, so I'm mimicking the style on the oven.

Had one further shot of finished loaves but it's a just a tiny bit too large to fit here. I'll work further on that one, or whine to JE.


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