The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
Bagermanden's picture

Does the amount of starter matter?

April 13, 2018 - 11:10pm -- Bagermanden



i am completely new to sourdough and have just completed day 7 in the process of making a starter and it’s looking great.


now I have looked for ways to keep the discard portion on the low side and one way I found was to feed 1 tbsp of starter with 1 tbsp of both flour and water (1:1:1). Over three days you do the same thing, still 1 tpsb and eventually it adds up to a usable amount of starter. 


The other method is this video:


Miller's picture

Should dough rise in the dark or doesn't it matter?

April 13, 2018 - 10:52pm -- Miller

There are hundreds of questions about how to calculate when dough has doubled in size, at what temperature it should be kept in order to rise etc.

My question, however, is different and I have not seen an answer for it anywhere: Should dough that is left to rise be kept in darkness or does this not matter? I wonder if yeast thrives better in a dark environment or in the light.

BreadBabies's picture

My husband and I are taking our first trip anywhere since we were married 3 years ago. We didn't have the funds for a honeymoon and the kiddo was created just one month after we said our vows.  This year, for my birthday, I asked him to arrange a long weekend and surprise me with the destination. I wanted somewhere close enough that we could be back in a flash if necessary, but far enough that we had to take a plane. He chose Portland. 

Naturally, I hear Portland and I think Ken Forkish. We're only going to be there for a couple days, but trips to his bakery and pizzeria are a top priority. Thus in preparation, I ordered Elements of Pizza.

I've only been at bread baking for just over a year. But I've been at pizza for over a decade. I spent 10 years working in the industry and I have a husband who loses his  $&*^! at the mention of a Neopolitan pizza. Together, we spent years in pursuit of delicious pizza -- at restaurants and at home.

A few months ago, we made a trip to Central Milling. Much to our surprise and delight, we encountered Tony Gemignani's 00 flour. I've always understood that 00 requires north of 900 degrees, so I generally don't bother with it. But it's Tony. Tony of legend...Tony of some of the most delicious pizza I've ever had...Tony whose restaurant we never pass up even if it means we have to get in line half an hour early and eat our pizza standing up on the side of the road. So, yeah...we bought the flour with no real plans to use it.

In his 24-48 hour dough, Forkish calls for 00. I was skeptical for the reasons I mentioned. I also didn't think it could match the flavor of my usual 3 day cold fermented dough. But I followed the recipe. Anyway, it was the perfect opportunity to try this special edition 00 flour from The Legend.

I used my baking method. I developed it across much trial and error and it's the closest I can get to foolproof and repeatable results in the home oven. It solves two critical problems a). messy pizza transfers. b) the bottom being done before the top or vice versa. (I have never been able to get good results with the stone at the top rack under the broiler. My oven just isn't good enough and has too many hot spots. So, treating the bottom and top separately in this manner was a revelation.)

Amy's Pizza Baking Method

1. Place two oven racks in the oven. One at the lowest position and one at the highest position. Place steel or pizza stone on lowest rack.

2. Pre-heat oven at 550F for an hour.

3. Shape dough into disk. Transfer to parchment paper and top pizza as desired.

4. Use a peel to place the pizza with parchment paper on the lower rack's pizza stone.

5. After 2 minutes, your dough should be set enough to allow you to easily remove the parchment paper. Using tongs and pizza peel, remove the parchment paper.

6. Continue cooking until your pizza's bottom has reached your desired level of doneness.

7. Transfer pizza directly to the top rack. (It should have no problem being supported by the rack as the crust is well set at this point) and turn on the broiler.

8. Broil for 1-2 minutes until the top of your pizza has reached your desired level of doneness. Don't walk away. Watch it through your window so you know exactly when to pull it.

Forkish calls for a 7 minute bake time. I did 6 minutes on the bottom rack and 1 minute on the top. This pizza turned out a little too crispy. I did the second pizza for 5 minutes on the bottom rack and 90 seconds on the top rack. This was absolutely perfect. It had a thin crisp layer on the outside but a soft, air center. It was full of flavor. The difference in those 30 seconds from the first pizza to the second is transformative. It's not a matter of heat loss as the oven remained on and re-heated for half an hour between pies.

My pictures are not plentiful or super revealing, but this was really a great dough. Before bake the dough was more supple than any dough I've ever worked with, even without oil. This is some really good flour and it made a great pie.

will slick's picture
will slick

After a couple of really good attempts to recreate a Brooklyn style pizza, I had a couple of disasters. Trying to slide a 16" dough disk onto a 16" steel proved to need more precision than I could muster.  I was ready to quit, when my wife reminded me how good the pies were before I got the steel. On her advice I combined the two methods. Pizza screen on the steel.

barryvabeach's picture

What is the impact of Bulk Ferment timing on Final Baking Size and Timing

April 13, 2018 - 7:14pm -- barryvabeach

I have been experimenting quite a bit with a pretty conventional sourdough formula, and have a general question about how far I let the dough go in Bulk Ferment ( BF ) and the impact on final proof timing and size of finished loaf.

Hanzosbm's picture

How to avoid heat loss with multiple pizzas

April 13, 2018 - 12:56pm -- Hanzosbm

My wife and I like to make Neapolitan style pizzas at home on occasion.  We've gotten pretty good at it from the dough and toppings and I've got a pizza steel which I love.  I just recently read about the broiler technique, which I intend to try, but what we've always struggled with is the second pizza.  It has turned into a bit of a war over who gets the first pizza as it's always better.  And, maybe with the broiler technique, the steel will get back up to temperature faster, but as it is, it's frustrating.  I'm curious how the rest of the members here handle this issue.

love's picture

[experiment] on the effects of permeability of final proofing container

April 13, 2018 - 9:00am -- love


I was wondering what the effect of the permeability of the proofing container would have, if any, on my final bread. (In overnight proofing.)

Does using a container that is open to air circulation significantly dry out the crust and reduce shine and oven spring?

cocomoomoo's picture

oven max temp is low... what should I do?

April 13, 2018 - 8:15am -- cocomoomoo

my oven only heats up to 482f (250c) and loses lots of heat when I open the door.

Some recipes I'd like to try requires 500f. What should I do to bring it up to 500f?

I have a baking steel and thinking about placing it either under or over the combo cooker.

Which side would be better? or do you have any other ideas please?

BTW this is my first post on tfl! I'm so glad to be a member.


Thank you in advance.

jim.mcmillan's picture

Bread Done Long Before Time

April 13, 2018 - 6:31am -- jim.mcmillan

Good Day all,

I decide bread is done when the crust looks beautiful and the centre of the crumb is between 200 and 210 degrees.  The oddity is that the bread always meets those two qualifiers long before the recommended bake time - often half the time.  I could experiment and just leave the bread in the oven for the balance of time but I want to ask here as well.

What happens to the bread if I leave it in a hot oven for an additional 20 minutes after the centre temperature is already 205 degrees?

Many thanks, as always.



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