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  • Steam escaping through the bottom

    Hey Jim,

    Can I run my newest bread malady by you? I made baguettes today, and looking at the loaves, you can see that the steam blew a hole through the bottom of the loaf, not the top where I slashed.

    Why do you think that would happen, and what can I do to stop it.

    These were moist (about 70&#37, with good quality flour, and I shaped the torpedos, and folded and sealed (or at least I tried to) them and put the seam side down for the final proof before baking.

    I've seen this before, so I thought I would ask.

    Any takers on this one?
    James
    Last edited by james; 05-13-2007, 03:29 AM.
    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces

  • #2
    Re: Steam escaping through the bottom

    Nice looking loaves nevertheless. Could it be you are not docking the loaves deeply enough to allow for expansion?

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    • #3
      Re: Steam escaping through the bottom

      That makes a lot of sense. I'll try that next. In my spartan kitchen, I don't have my blade, so I have resorted to scissors. I'm going to try a boule next and see if that does the same thing -- now that I am looking more closely.
      James
      Pizza Ovens
      Outdoor Fireplaces

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      • #4
        Re: Steam escaping through the bottom

        James,

        Been out of comission for a few days, because the box went down. Sent it to the the computospital, so now I'm back up and running. You should make a shallow indent in the bottom of your loaves with the heel of your hand. The indendation should be sealed to create surface tension, also with the heel of you hand. When using high hydration, you don't have to slash deeply, but it should be aggressive. You should actually see a flap of dough that rises above the loaf. What temp did you use? High hyration doughs favor high temps. Try 600 F; 12 minutes. Good steam, vented halfway through.

        Looking good, though, you're getting there.

        Jim
        "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

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        • #5
          Re: Steam escaping through the bottom

          Hey Jim,

          Hope the box is feeling better. Scary how much we rely on the box these days.

          Thanks for the tip -- that makes sense. Is this something similar to the punt at the bottom of a champagne bottle. More surface space for steam to escape through, without breaking the surface? I can't say how much I appreciate the advice -- I will give the "indention" technique a try next. If the bottom of the loaf doesn't explode, I will have more steam rising upward.

          You shape the loaf, seal the seam, then make the indent and set it seam side downl. Right?

          Off topic, this is good at a dinner party. Dom Perignon did not invent champagne. He invented the glass bottle with a punt. There are numerous written records of sparkling wine in English (no less) well before Mr. Perignon. I think he got tired of his sparkling wine bottles exploding, and he created the punt.
          James
          Pizza Ovens
          Outdoor Fireplaces

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          • #6
            Re: Steam escaping through the bottom

            James,

            You're close on the technique. You divide the dough into pieces as close to even in weight as you can. There will be cut edges on the middle pieces. Make the indent, then fold the cut edges together by pinching the seam with your fingers or heel of your hand, then then shape. By this time, you'll find that most of the shaping has already been done. All I do is run floured hands down the sides of each loaf to stretch it out, then more or less point the ends. I don't worry too much about perfect baguette shape; close is good, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. The absolutely perfect baguettes you see for sale have been extruded by machine. I prefer a handmade look.

            For secondary proofing, a floured couche really works the best for baguette or batard: gives a much better rise and better finished shape. You can get true Baker's Linen by the yard from The San Francisco Baking Institute; not expensive. Alternately, any thick canvas or duck type fabric would do.

            Say this like a mantra: I will get there, I will get there.

            Jim
            "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

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