Baguettes with pàte Fermentée

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    baguettes at 14 oz each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

Baguettes Produced with pâte fermentée share certain qualities with those made with poolish: rich crust color, creamy crumb, subtle nutty fragrance. The cell structure tends to be slightly more open with poolish baguettes due to the higher activity of the protease enzyme in poolish, which also results in a more extensible bread. Nevertheless, production can be simplified when the pâte fermentée comes from a previous mix, and the overall bread quality can be of the highest quality. Round loaves (boules), oval loaves (bâtards), pan loaves, and rolls can be made with this dough. Scale the round and oval loaves at 1 to 1.5 pounds, and the rolls at 2.5 to 3.25 ounces.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 25%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 20 lb 10 kg 2 lb 100 %
Water 13.2 lb 6.6 kg 1 lb, 5.2 oz 66 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Yeast .25 lb, fresh .125 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry 1.25 %
Total Yield 33.85 lb 16.93 kg 3 lb, 5.8 oz 169.25 %

Pâte Fermentée

Bread Flour 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 3.3 lb 1.65 kg 5.3 oz ( cup) 66 %
Salt .1 lb .05 kg .2 oz (1 tsp) 2 %
Yeast .01 lb, fresh .005 kg, fresh ( tsp, instant dry) .2%
Total 8.41 lb 4.21 kg 13.5 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 15 lb 7.5 kg 1 lb, 8 oz ( cups)
Water 9.9 lb 4.95 kg 15.8 oz (2 cups)
Salt .3 lb .15 kg .4 oz (2 tsp)
Yeast .24 lb, fresh .12 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Pâte Fermentée 8.41 lb 4.21 kg 13.5 oz (all of above)
Total 33.85 lb 16.93 kg 3 lb, 5.8 oz


  1. Pâte Fermentée: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and salt, and mix until just smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F. Alternatively, remove a portion from a previous mix for use as pâte fermentée. In this case, refer to “Preparing the Pre-Ferment”, for correct handling of the pre-ferment.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl except the pâte fermentée. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. As the dough is coming together, add the pâte fermentée in chunks. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. Finish mixing on second speed for 3 to 3½ minutes. The dough should be supple and moderately loose. Desired dough temperature: 76°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2 hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough once after 1 hour.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 12- to 16-ounce pieces. Preshape lightly into rounds and let stand on a lightly floured work surface, seams up, covered with plastic. Once the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 30 minutes, depending on how tightly it was preshaped), shape into baguettes. Place them between folds of baker’s linen, leaving sufficient space between each baguette so they can expand without tearing during final fermentation. Cover the loaves with baker’s linen and plastic to protect them from air currents and prevent the formation of a crust on the surface of the loaves.
  6. Final Fermentation: 1 to 1½ hours at 76°F.
  7. Baking: With normal steam, 460°F for 24 to 26 minutes for baguettes, depending on dough weight. Round and oval loaves: about 30 minutes for a 1-pound loaf, with round loaves taking slightly longer than oval ones.