The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Artisan Baking

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bikeprof's picture

bagging, condensation, and retarding loaves

July 22, 2014 - 1:29pm -- bikeprof

Particularly in using really high hydration formulas--I find that when I cover my loaves in their baskets with plastic grocery bags (usually with some decent sized gaps or holes, they are not totally sealed) and retard them overnight in the fridge (40F)--and the next day the top facing side of the loaves are REALLY wet from collected condensation.

So I turn to you all for best practices, rather than trial and do you store your baskets in the fridge?

angiechia's picture

shiny/wet/gummy crumb

July 22, 2014 - 12:12am -- angiechia

Hi all

I have been getting bread with a crumb like that - shiny/wet look. Somewhat gummy and chewy to taste, like eating rubber. Loaf feels very heavy in the hand too. I have searched the web and seen others with similar problems but there were no solutions at the end of the discussion.

Wonder if anyone who have managed to counter this problem? And what has been done?

Is this due to undermixing? Overproofing? Steam? Oven temp? Or flour type? Or anything else?

Thanks so much!





HappyHighwayman's picture

Baking Steel vs. Combo Cooker: Crust

July 18, 2014 - 8:32am -- HappyHighwayman

Normally I bake my loaves in a cast iron combo cooker. I find this gives me the best ends up being very hard and lasting. It takes ~45 minutes per loaf, and since I have only one combo cooker it takes 1.5 hours to do two loaves.


Yesterday I used my baking steel and I baked two loaves in 30 minutes...the bread tastes amazing and looks great but the crust is much, much softer.

How do I get the crisp crust when not using an enclosed baking method?


Pablo's picture

Mexican flour to make artisan-style bread

July 17, 2014 - 9:35am -- Pablo


I live in Mexico.  I've purchased incredibly expensive US flours here to continue to make artisan style breads.  Now I'm trying to use the local Mexican flour, but with very poor results.  Even if I can get a good rise the bread has a flat, kind of bisquity quality to it.  I notice that from the local pizzaria as well.  I'm hoping to find something to augment the local flour.  I've tried some gluten but without much success as yet.

Has anyone had experience with this?

Thanks for any info.


HPoirot's picture

Doubling in size?

July 14, 2014 - 1:49am -- HPoirot

Most recipes call for proofing till the dough has doubled in size. But if we keep doing Stretch & Folds (effectively deflating any growth it's had) till the final minute of the proofing, how could we tell how much it's grown?

My dough at the end of the first rise usually looks pretty much the same size as my initial dough, just better developed. It may be a little more plumb, but definitely not double.

Am i missing something? Is the finger poke test the only way to know if my dough is ready?

AdamF's picture

Loaf side bulge

July 13, 2014 - 6:41am -- AdamF

I have been making bread for about 3 years, however over the last year, without changing anything in ingredients, equipment or process (that I am aware of), the loaves bulged when they baked in the oven. I have tried many things to attempt to resolve this, including testing in a brand new Neff oven, but it still happens. I follow Dan Lepard's method of minimal kneading.

HPoirot's picture

Do you bake by feel or recipe?

July 10, 2014 - 7:55pm -- HPoirot

Just the other day i was watching a video of a baker making bread.

He mentioned that due to the differences in temperature, humidity, flour absorption etc, the same recipe will give you different 'true' hydration every time you bake.

That is why he no longer measures anything, and instead adds water till the exact consistency he desires and proceeds from there.

Personally, at this point, i still prefer to scale everything, but which method do you guys do?

108 breads's picture

Recommending this rye bread video

July 8, 2014 - 10:39am -- 108 breads

Rye bread video and recipe: This rye bread recipe has a super-wet dough, but what I like is the visualization of the dough's appearance and texture. You get a complete picture of where the dough should be after mixing. Also interesting is the use of water and not flour when manipulating and shaping the dough. Good instruction on shaping. No words, just film of what was done.


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