The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crust & Crumb Help Please

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kkinderen's picture

Crust & Crumb Help Please

I'm new to baking and I'm confused about what I'm reading in this book. Can someone put me on the right track? 

I think the first three master formulas: poolish, biga and pate fermentee are starters to be used to make breads. So when I got to french bread I expected one or the ingredients to be one of these three starters. I'm confused on how I use the starters in the formulas that follow. 

Have I missed something in the opening pages?

richkaimd's picture

I am a home baker of some 40 years.  I love it, but I have learned this:  bread cook books are not text books.  Proressional bakers take classes in bread baking using text books which teach them from the ground up.  Crust and Crumb is a cook book.  If you could stop now and start using a good simple text book you would then ultimately be able to go back to the cook book and easily know the answer to your question. 

I recommend DuMuzio's Bread Baking as a starter text.  Get a used one from Alibris on line for about $25.  If you're into bread baking for fun you'll find more than enough of it going through the chapters from beginning to end, building up your knowledge slowly and surely.  At the end, this website will make lots more sense.


kkinderen's picture

Thank you very much for the advice. I will take it. I was hoping Crust & Crumb was more than a cook book. In fact the first couple of chapters went into pretty fair depth. I guess the rabbit hole goes deeper than that.

I think I discovered the answer to my question. There are two French bread formulas (recipes). The first is a basic recipe following the slow-rise principle. The second one using pre-fermented dough as a starter. I was excited about starting out and kind of read too fast. I still plan to try this out for fun but will investigate Bread Baking by DuMuzio. I still have to eat! ;)

Thank you,