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Erdbeereis 07-14-2012 09:01 PM

Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
I'm just starting to try to bake bread in my WFO and had one question about baguettes. Last time I tried to make baguettes, I formed them nicely and let them proof in a couche for about 1 hours. When I tried to transfer them, they pretty much collapsed when I tried to move them to the peel. How should I prevent this next time? My dough was very soft, is that the reason they collapsed?

What is your guys favorite recipe for all kinds of bread? I'm going to try to bake some baguettes tomorrow with the Forno Bravo recipe, wish me luck! I'll post my results after. :)

david s 07-14-2012 09:24 PM

Re: Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
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I form the baguettes and place them on a tray that I made that will hold two small baguettes. I let them prove for around an hour and pop them straight in. That way you don"t disturb them and risk collapse. It also means you don't need to clean the floor of ash too much because the bread is sitting on the tray.

Erdbeereis 07-14-2012 09:40 PM

Re: Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
That's a good idea! I think I'm going to try and place the baguettes on parchment paper after I shape them and place them in the couche with the parchment to proof. Then I'll put the baguettes in the oven with the parchment and slide them off the parchment after a few minutes. Hopefully it works!

WJW 07-14-2012 10:12 PM

Re: Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
I'm a beginner but I can tell you that in the short time I've been baking I have learned that when gluten is properly formed in the dough from doing your stretch and folds, the dough will take a bit more handling without degassing.

The other thing is that the manner in which you do the transfer is significant. As is the way in which you prevent the dough from sticking in the form. Whether it be linen, floured parchment, or whatever, you obviously need to get the dough out without beating it up. The wetter the dough, the more sticky it is going to be...Ideally, you want to have linen cloths between the dough and your banetons and you be better able to get the dough to release. The bread I made today (see below) was formed in ratan baskets of the type you see chips served in at a mexican restaurant. I spray the baskets with Pam, sprinkle with flour, then sprinkle with semollina.

I then invert the baskets on wooden peels. It takes anywhere between ten to thirty seconds or so for the dough to release on to the peels. (I have semollna sprinkeled on the peels.) Into the oven they go. I haven't tried this with baguettes, but I'd think it would work as well.


david s 07-15-2012 02:28 AM

Re: Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
For a beginner those are mighty fine loaves. Look just a French Boulangerie loaves.

texassourdough 07-15-2012 06:51 AM

Re: Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
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If your loaves are degassing your dough is simply not adequately developed. But mixing longer is not an automatic fix for overmixing/overdevelopment can be a problem also.

The dough should not be particularly sticky - even if it is 72% hydration. Stickiness tends to be a sign of underdevelopment. The level of stickiness should easily be controlled with only a minor dusting of flour - barely enough to see.

You can get away with a lot more with boules than baguettes. Well made baguettes are about as difficult as it gets. I would strongly encourage you to develop some skill before focusing on baguettes. If you want to leap into baguettes I highly recommend Artisanal Bread I at SBFI.

Handling baguettes can be a bit tricky (but shouldn't be from a degassing perspective). A hand peel is a great aid when you are makng baguettes. Simply a thin board or even cardboard about 24 inches long (or longer if you make longer loaves) and about 4 inches wide. You proof baguettes seam side down on floured linen, roll them onto the board seam side up, and then roll them onto the peel seam side down for transfer to the oven. Slash them and get them in the oven. Oven peels for baguettes are typically much longer than pizza peels to accommodate their longer length.

The attached image is a crumb shot of a 72% hydration baguette I made at SFBI last summer.

PS: Good crumb and look for a beginner, WJW. Your description of your boule release suggests you are still underdeveloped also. Try throwing some or a few more stretch and folds into your bulk fermentation. And maybe a bit more flour on the skin of the boule if it still gives you trouble!

WJW 07-16-2012 12:57 AM

Re: Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
Roger. Will do.

As always...Thanks for the tips Jay. They are much appreciated. The help/advice offered by you, Faith, and a few others has allowed me to get to the point where I can reliably produce serviceable, relatively presentable, (and delicious) loaves of sourdough bread in a far shorter time frame than I would have thought possible.

If any of you folks (you know who you are) ever get to Ventura or Santa Barbara County...let me know...cocktails and dinner on me.


mrchipster 07-16-2012 04:32 AM

Re: Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
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Rolling from the couch to a peel is quite easy, I built a peel from a piece of aluminum that was designed for use as a drip cap for a doorway.

It is curved and I cutoff a 20 inch long piece and attached it to a wood rod to use as a transfer peel.

As others have mentioned, roll the bread off the couch onto the peel and then roll back on to the bread seam inside the oven.


Erdbeereis 07-16-2012 09:03 AM

Re: Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
I just used parchment under the loaves and slid them from the couche to the peel. It worked very well!

GianniFocaccia 07-16-2012 04:42 PM

Re: Transferring Baguettes From Couche to Peel
Damn, Bill. That's some good-looking bread!

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