Yeast Breads

Overnight Saision Baguettes


 Prep Time : 5 + 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : Overnight | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! We are just gonna jump in at the deep end. I couldn’t wait to share this with you. It’s so fabulous. And I know you can make a baguette even if it seems out of reach. Have faith. We are using some rye flour to give these baguettes flavour. We are also using special yeast. One of my experiments of the last little while has been using different strains of brewing yeast to see if it makes a difference. Well it does. It makes a delicious difference. For this recipe we are using Saison. A yeast for making fruit-forward french style beers. Totally appropriate. Any shop that sells supplies for home brewing will have small packets of different yeasts, usually in a chiller. It is a bit more expensive than regular baking yeast but we only need a teeny amount. That 1/4 teaspoon packs a big flavour punch though. If you can’t get your hands on it you can use the same amount of regular yeast and your baguettes will still be amazing. They’ll just have less hipster street cred. There’s five minutes work before bed then the active and passive time is spread over about 3 hours in the morning. There are a lot of pictures below but they’re there to help. Let’s jump in – it’s easier than you think!

The first thing we need to do is make a poolish before we go to bed. It’s a mix of a portion of the water and flour and the yeast and left overnight to ferment and gain flavour. Measure the water into a large bowl and sprinkle over the yeast.

Leave it to soften for 5 minutes then add the flours. Mix everything to a thick paste. Cover and leave overnight.

In the morning it will look like this. It will be puffy and volcanic.

Add the water and the malt syrup (or honey) and mix thoroughly. It will be runny and smell delicious.

Add the flour and then the salt on top.

Mix everything together. Start by roughly mixing the salt into the flour before mixing the dry and wet together. When it comes together into a soft dough cover and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. This will give the flour time to absorb some of the water and it will be easier to handle.

Moisten a hand and reach under the dough on one side. Pull the dough up and fold it over and stick it down.

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Go around the bowl twice for a total of 8 folds.

Cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Repeat the folds twice more for a total of three sets of folds. that’s it for ‘kneading’.

Cover and leave until doubled in size – about an hour.

Tip the dough out onto a floured bench. Divide the dough into three equal pieces.

Now comes the fun shaping part. You’ll get better and faster the more you do it. The first step is to make some rectangles. Fold the long ends in to the centre.

Now fold in the other direction to form a neat rectangle.

Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes. Now let’s get sausage-y. Using your hands separately or together, pinch the sides of the dough up on top while gently easing the log of dough a little longer and thinner as you go.

Work your way along the dough from the middle to either end. Put that piece aside and repeat with the other two. They will be stumpy.

Now repeat the pinch/stretch situation twice more on each log, making the baguettes longer and thinner each time. My oven is 41 cm wide so the longest baguette I can make is about 40cm so that’s where I stop. They will seem way to thin right now but don’t panic.

Once the baguettes are shaped we need to leave them to rise. If you have a couche (maybe you got lucky and got one for Christmas), dust it heavily with flour. Lay it on a rimmed sheet tray for easy moving around.

Lay the baguettes seam side up onto the floured part with space in between.

Pinch the couche up between the baguettes to form little channels for the dough to sit in.

Pro-tip: use laundry pegs to hold the couche in place. Substance is more important than style.

Sprinkle the top with a little flour and fold the edges of the couche over to protect the top of the dough. Leave the baguettes in a warm spot until doubled in size – about 45 minutes to an hour.

If you don’t have a couche lay your baguettes seam side down onto strips of baking paper and cover with a tea towel to prove.

While the baguettes are rising put your heaviest baking sheet or cast iron griddle into the middle of the oven. Put a rack in the bottom. Heat the oven to 230C (450F).

When the baguettes are risen we need to get them ready for baking. Boil the jug. Put a shallow baking dish onto the bottom rack of the oven. Pour a cup or so of boiling water and put it by the oven.

If your baguettes are on a couche you will need to gently flip them over onto strips of baking paper for easy transfer to the oven.

Open out the folds in the fabric. Place a strip of baking paper right up against the closest baguette.

Using the edge of a rimless baking sheet or a board made for this task (my dad made this for me for Christmas – best dad ever) flip the baguette towards you so the smooth side is now on top. Gently ease the edge of the board under the far side of the dough and draw it up and towards you.

Repeat with the other two baguettes. Now to slashing. The best tool is a lame, a razor blade on a handle. You can also use a very sharp serrated knife or a razor blade which has one side covered in tape to protect your fingers.

Slash along the length of the baguette at a 45 degree angle rather than straight down. Slash as quickly as you can so the blade doesn’t get caught and to keep the slashes neat and straight. Mine are jagged in this one because I was trying to take a photo at the same time. You should always give your full attention to anything involving razor blades.

Your slashes should be almost parallel to the dough itself and overlap a teeny bit between each slash.

If your baguettes are already on baking paper all you need to do is slash the tops so they rise beautifully.

Let’s bake. Open the oven. Use the baking paper to lift and place the baguettes onto the hot tray/griddle.Make sure there is a bit of room between them so the sides get crisp. Pull out the bottom rack and pour the water into the hot pan and quickly close the door.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until well browned and risen. The heavier the tray you bake on the faster they will cook. You should experiment with letting them go a few minutes more to get a darker crust. This is a good thing.

Your neatly slashed pockets may break through. If the dough is slightly under-proved or the slashes are too shallow this can happen. You can go down a perfection rabbit hole with this if you want but don’t have a stroke over it.

Transfer the baguettes to a wire rack to cool before slicing.

You did it! I knew you could. The more you practice the better you’ll get. So get to it. Hope you’ve got some butter handy…

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Overnight Saison Baguettes


Prep Time : 5 + 30 mins | Cook Time : 20 mins | Total Time : overnight | Difficulty : Bread | Makes : 3 x 40 cm baguettes

Crispy crust, soft nutty interior and a classic irregular structure – perfect baguettes!

Ingredients:

For the poolish (before bed)

  • 135 mls warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon saison brewer’s yeast (or active dried yeast)
  • 100 grams rye flour
  • 20 grams bread flour

For the dough (in the morning)

  • 215 mls warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon malt syrup or honey
  • 375 grams bread flour
  • 10 grams (1 + 1/2 teaspoons) fine salt

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Bowl and spoons
  • Baking paper
  • Heavy baking sheet
  • Highly Recommended: bread couche, lame, cast iron griddle

Directions:

The first thing we need to do is make a poolish before we go to bed. It’s a mix of a portion of the water and flour and the yeast and left overnight to ferment and gain flavour. Measure the water into a large bowl and sprinkle over the yeast.

Leave it to soften for 5 minutes then add the flours. Mix everything to a thick paste. Cover and leave overnight.

In the morning it will look like this. It will be puffy and volcanic.

Add the water and the malt syrup (or honey) and mix thoroughly. It will be runny and smell delicious.

Add the flour and then the salt on top.

Mix everything together. Start by roughly mixing the salt into the flour before mixing the dry and wet together. When it comes together into a soft dough cover and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. This will give the flour time to absorb some of the water and it will be easier to handle.

Moisten a hand and reach under the dough on one side. Pull the dough up and fold it over and stick it down.

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat. Go around the bowl twice for a total of 8 folds.

Cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Repeat the folds twice more for a total of three sets of folds. that’s it for ‘kneading’. Cover and leave until doubled in size – about an hour.

Tip the dough out onto a floured bench. Divide the dough into three equal pieces.

Now comes the fun shaping part. You’ll get better and faster the more you do it. The first step is to make some rectangles. Fold the long ends in to the centre.

Now fold in the other direction to form a neat rectangle.

Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes. Now let’s get sausage-y. Using your hands separately or together, pinch the sides of the dough up on top while gently easing the log of dough a little longer and thinner as you go.

Work your way along the dough from the middle to either end. Put that piece aside and repeat with the other two. They will be stumpy.

Now repeat the pinch/stretch situation twice more on each log, making the baguettes longer and thinner each time. My oven is 41 cm wide so the longest baguette I can make is about 40cm so that’s where I stop. They will seem way to thin right now but don’t panic.

Once the baguettes are shaped we need to leave them to rise. If you have a couche (maybe you got lucky and got one for Christmas), dust it heavily with flour. Lay it on a rimmed sheet tray for easy moving around.

Lay the baguettes seam side up onto the floured part with space in between.

Pinch the couche up between the baguettes to form little channels for the dough to sit in.

Pro-tip: use laundry pegs to hold the couche in place. Substance is more important than style.

Sprinkle the top with a little flour and fold the edges of the couche over to protect the top of the dough. Leave the baguettes in a warm spot until doubled in size – about 45 minutes to an hour.

If you don’t have a couche lay your baguettes seam side down onto strips of baking paper and cover with a tea towel to prove.

While the baguettes are rising put your heaviest baking sheet or cast iron griddle into the middle of the oven. Put a rack in the bottom. Heat the oven to 230C (450F).

When the baguettes are risen we need to get them ready for baking. Boil the jug. Put a shallow baking dish onto the bottom rack of the oven. Pour a cup or so of boiling water and put it by the oven.

If your baguettes are on a couche you will need to gently flip them over onto strips of baking paper for easy transfer to the oven.

Open out the folds in the fabric. Place a strip of baking paper right up against the closest baguette.

Using the edge of a rimless baking sheet or a board made for this task flip the baguette towards you so the smooth side is now on top. Gently ease the edge of the board under the far side of the dough and draw it up and towards you.

Repeat with the other two baguettes. Now to slashing. The best tool is a lame, a razor blade on a handle. You can also use a very sharp serrated knife or a razor blade which has one side covered in tape to protect your fingers.

Slash along the length of the baguette at a 45 degree angle rather than straight down. Slash as quickly as you can so the blade doesn’t get caught and to keep the slashes neat and straight. Mine are jagged in this one because I was trying to take a photo at the same time. You should always give your full attention to anything involving razor blades.

Your slashes should be almost parallel to the dough itself and overlap a teeny bit between each slash.

If your baguettes are already on baking paper all you need to do is slash the tops so they rise beautifully.

Let’s bake. Open the oven. Use the baking paper to lift and place the baguettes onto the hot tray/griddle. Make sure there is a bit of room between them so the sides get crisp. Pull out the bottom rack and pour the water into the hot pan and quickly close the door.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until well browned and risen. The heavier the tray you bake on the faster they will cook. You should experiment with letting them go a few minutes more to get a darker crust. This is a good thing.

Your neatly slashed pockets may break through. If the dough is slightly under-proved or the slashes are too shallow this can happen. You can go down a perfection rabbit hole with this if you want but don’t have a stroke over it.

Transfer the baguettes to a wire rack to cool before slicing.

You did it! I knew you could. The more you practice the better you’ll get. So get to it. Hope you’ve got some butter handy…

Cook’s Notes:

  • If you want to make bread and particular baguettes often I strongly recommend getting a bit of gear to make it more satisfying. A cast iron griddle, a couche and a lame will totally up your bread game.
  • Practice makes perfect with slashing and shaping. Be patient and don’t beat yourself up. Just keep doing it.
  • The baking time and colour of the crust are a starting point – I urge you to try baking them a little longer each time to get more colour and flavour in the crust.

 – These baguettes are best the day they are made or the day after. They can be toasted for up to a week to extend their deliciousness. They can also be frozen just thaw completely before using – 

© 2017 The Winsome Baker. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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