Recipe: Chef Markus Farbinger’s Pointage En Bac / Slow Rise Baguettes

Okay, I admit it. I’m a baguette freak. I make baguettes at least once or twice a week. And up until this past week, I’ve been experimenting with different methods from baguettes made with a poolish to pate fermente to levain. But to tell you the truth, my favorite baguette to make is based on the slow rise or pointage en bac method; a method similar to the one Master Baker Markus Farbinger teaches in his baguette and ciabatta video series.

So what is the pointage en bac method? Simply put, it’s a straight dough slowly rises in the fridge. As opposed to using a preferment, the whole dough is allowed to rise and develop flavors over a long period of time.

I prefer this technique simply because it keeps things simple: Throw all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, let it ferment for an hour, fold the dough, cover it, then pop it into the fridge for 6-18 hours. I’ve even used a third of the amount of yeast called for and let it ferment for over 24 hours to develop flavor. It’s a very flexible technique that can easily be adjusted to acccomdate different schedules.

Formula

IngredientBaker’s %Example
AP Flour (11-12% protein)100%1000g
Water75%750g
Salt2%20g
Yeast0.6%6g
Target dough temp: 78-80°F

Yeast amount can be varied. I use the full 6g when I want a simple, overnight bulk ferment of about 8 hours @ 39°F. Otherwise, I’ll use as little as 0.5g and let the dough ferment for a couple of days.

Process

This is one of the few doughs that I make where I mix entirely by hand.

  1. Mix dry ingredients together, then sift into a mixing bowl. The sifting is ultra-important if you’re mixing by hand. If you’re using a machine it’s less important, but I still recommend it.
  2. While stirring the flour with a slightly cupped hand with fingers together (imagine your hand is a wooden spoon), slowly add the water, gradually incorporating the flour from the edges.
  3. Mix into a shaggy mass, making sure all dry ingredients are incorporated, then cover and let rest for an hour. You want to make sure your dough temp is in the 78-80°F range, so place your covered bowl in a place where you can maintain that.
  4. After an hour, fold the dough until taut and the dough doesn’t want to be folded any longer. A sure sign for me is when I can pick up the entire mass and it all comes up, then I know there’s strength in the dough. Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Retard in the fridge for 6-18 hours. Using the full 6g of yeast, 8 hours is probably the max you should let it rise.
  6. For dividing and pre-shaping, Chef Markus recommends dividing into 8 pieces at about 225g each. These will make 40cm loaves. Pre-shape the loaves into simple logs, then place on a couche or well-floured tea towel, and bench rest seam side up for 30 minutes.
  7. For shaping, there’s no better video than this. Let proof for 30 minutes.
  8. Transfer loaves to a transfer board or directly on a baking sheet if you’re not baking on a stone. And score the loaves.
  9. Bake at 480°F/250°C for 12 minutes with steam.
  10. Remove steam container, then bake for 8-15 minutes at 400°F/200°C (or until deep golden brown). Some folks like to bake until the scored edges are black. I never go that far.
  11. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. To me, baguettes are best eaten while warm!

Happy Baking!

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