There’s Nothing More Satisfying…

…than pulling baguettes out of the oven, picking one up, and immediately noticing that it weighs far less than how it looks. That goes for any bread, but for baguettes, it’s a crucial quality because it’s an indicator that the loaves had great oven spring which, in turn, means that the crumb will be light and airy.

I baked the loaves in the picture above yesterday. For those, I used a rye poolish, with the flour of the rye accounting for 25% of the total flour. I knew that even with 25%, the bran in the dark rye flour that I use can cut up gluten strands. But I handled the dough much more gently, making sure I didn’t tear it, and only folded it once as the bread flour I use has over 14% protein – gluten forms up fast.

I still took a hit on the overall openness of the crumb, but the crumb still came out light despite the lack of numerous large holes. I knew when I pulled them out just by looking at them, that they had sprung up quite a bit. And though I didn’t expect a super-open crumb due to the whole-grain rye, with that kind of volume expansion, I didn’t have to worry about the crumb being dense and chewy.

Then picking that first one up… I just smiled in satisfaction. It was a good bake.


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