The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help a newbie

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pepe77's picture
pepe77

Help a newbie

Hi all

I am new to this forum and relatively new to baking.

I have discovered my passion for baking bread and have during the last 3 months been experimenting with different bread styles, baking methods etc.

I still fail to understand the bread....to be able to look at the bread and analyse it - this is where you professionals come in :)

The below photos are both from the basic recipe of no knead bread (3 cups of breadflour, 1,5cup of water, 1/4 tsp yeast, 1,5tsp of salt) and both baked inside dutch ovens.

Both are baked by pre heating the oven and the dutch oven.

Still they come out very different and I am trying to understand what the actual difference is. (for the 2 below examples I might have used different techniques for folding, shaping etc - but same ingrediences and baking method)

I am especially interested in hearing your comments about the inside, the crumble. 

From looking at those 2 pictures, what can you say about the bread ? which one looks more "right" and "healthy" ? 

Can the differences be explained ?

Thanks :)

cranbo's picture
cranbo

1st one looks just about right.

The 2nd one looks slightly overproofed and/or insufficiently shaped. That's suggested by the flat profile, more pale crust and the slightly more even and larger bubbles/holes in the crumb. 

I bet you let each ferment for different lengths of time before baking, hence the different results...am I right?

pepe77's picture
pepe77

Thanks cranbo - I appreciate it

To be honest I dont remember all details for the first one - it has been a few weeks since I baked it.

And for every bread I try different methods of shaping, proofing, bringing the dough to the baking vessel etc.

I normally (for this bread) start the dough at night and continue the next day; approx. 22 hours. I think the proofing time is about the same for both - however, there might have been difference in the room temperature, humidity etc.

But...what happens when overproofed ?

By insufficiently shaped, do you mean this for second rise ? the the photo suggests that I have done a better/more proper shaping before second rise ?

cranbo's picture
cranbo

But...what happens when overproofed ?

As I said before: when overproofed, you get a flatter profile; pale crust; top slashes don't open well; potentially gummy texture; and larger bubbles/holes in the crumb. Sometimes overproofed can also taste "beery" or "yeasty".

By insufficiently shaped, do you mean this for second rise ? the the photo suggests that I have done a better/more proper shaping before second rise ?

Yes, shaping for the final proof. It's hard to say; If there were no dough recipe varations, and you handled the dough exactly the same way, then shaping was probably not the issue. 


dwfender's picture
dwfender

It looks like you are getting some solid results for a beginner. If I were looking to take the next step with my baking I would find a reputable recipe from the 3 or 4 books talked about consistently on the forum. Have a picture of the result handy and just keep baking the dough, following the recipe as best you can, till your results look the same. You will end up learning a lot more than you think just following the recipe the same way 3 or 4 times and not trying to change a thing, I promise. Consistency is one of the hardest things for beginner bakers. 

Also, for shaping I recommend checking out Ciril Hitz's video. Short and sweet and straight foward. It touches on the main preshape and final shapes you will ever need to produce good bread. 

My .02 on your first bread is that if you had the dutch oven covered you left the cover on too long and the crust over developed. It looks quite thick and chewy. Great start for a beginner though ! Keep it up!

D
www.allthingswheat.com 

pepe77's picture
pepe77

Thank you for your reply.

I think you have a good point about sticking to the exact same recipe and procedure and learn from that.

The video you link to is very informative and gives some great advice.

I have made made many breads where the result is somewhere in between the 2 that I show in my initial post - for example the below sesame covered one, that I quite liked for the shape and crust.

I just found that the 2 breads that I show in my initial post are with so different results that they would be the most relavant to use in the discussion about the differences.

Thanks again...

Farmpride's picture
Farmpride

you said..."

To be honest I dont remember all details for the first one - it has been a few weeks since I baked it.

And for every bread I try different methods of shaping, proofing, bringing the dough to the baking vessel etc."

another said...."You will end up learning a lot more than you think just following the recipe the same way 3 or 4 times and not trying to change a thing, I promise. Consistency is one of the hardest things for beginner bakers. "

I will concur with "another said" and add that most , like 90% of how the bread or bakery products turns out is handling,..handling,..and then more handling... you said you did not recall above,... start writing down things as you go,  eventually your mind and hands will remember, like a blind man navigating his home..  forget the elusive recipe, heck they are all about the same for whatever product line,.. some things vary sure, but it is in the handling, that only you  can learn,  no one can know how you mix, or how you kneed, sure you can say,.."i kneaded it for 10 min." but i do not know how hard, how fast, your fingers, that you must take personal note of , leave the ingredients alone and concentrate on the handling.... and  by the way,..i liked all your photos!


albert/farmpride.com

pepe77's picture
pepe77

Great comments, thanks

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I agree with much of what was said above about your loaves.  I want to add this:  there's so much to learn about bread baking that I recommend that you start with a text book rather than BBA or any other cook book.  If you work with a text book from beginning to end, your questions will be answered gradually as your knowledge base grows.  Don't be in a hurry with the learning process.  Like a good lacquer wood finish, is develops slowly.  A year with a text will give you such a wonderful foundation!

Here are two text books:  DiMuzio's Bread Baking and Hamelman's Bread.  I suggest that you look at both before you choose.  For my money, I'd start with the DiMuzio.  It's inexpensive, nowhere near as long as the Hamelman, yet it is thorough.  Hamelman's is quite detailed.  Had I been given it at the beginning I would have quit bread baking, thinking it was too hard.  Now, with lots of experience under my belt I treasure both.  Look for both used at Alibris on the web.

Also, have you watched all the videos on the link provided at the top of this page?  Go through all of them them once to give you some ideas, but be prepared to go back to the ones that become relevant along the way.

Practice, practice and practice some more. Practice so much that you have to give your loaves away you have so many of them. Practice until all of your friends and neighbors start complaining they feel so guilty. No one will complain about your bread really. But always demand of those to whom you give your loaves that they return the favor with honest constructive criticism about appearance, flavor, crust and crumb.

pepe77's picture
pepe77

Thanks for all your advice and comments; very constructive.

And yes, practice is the key. I probably baked 20 loafs for past 2 months or so. During that time I have probably tried too many things....now I will stick to the same procedures and focus more on handling. I will start to bake more frequenlty and - as you say - give the bread away to friends and colleagues. Good point that it is important to ask for their constructive feed back in return.

I haven´t see all videos yet - will go through them...will also take your advice and check out teh text book (though I really feel more like just baking :)

 

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

"Just baking".  What a wonderful thing.  The problem though is that you can learn only so much without expert advice.  Texts offer that; cook books only go so far.  And this website offers no way of telling good from bad advice.  Stick with an expert.  That's what a text book is.  That's not to say that you've not learned from your many practice loaves; you probably have.  But you may be making bad habits along the way.