The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Any type of bread that doesn't fall into the other buckets: herb breads, sandwich breads, fruit and nut breads, anything else you enjoy.

jhaygood's picture

Bulk and Proof - what and why?

July 20, 2016 - 10:23pm -- jhaygood

As I work to get more control over each recipe I try, I wonder what the function of the separate bulk and proof stages are?  I'm trying to get better about judging when each is complete, but I don't really understand the distinct functions.

It seems that the leaven is affecting the dough throughout, so why the two steps? I'd like to get better at controlling the crumb of the finished loaf, and also to better judge when each step has served its purpose.


l2obin's picture

Floppy dough? How to maintain shape of high hydration doughs?

July 19, 2016 - 4:27am -- l2obin

I have been trying to make a good hooley crumb loaf on and off for a couple of years now, based on my own experimentations.   It all started with the no kneed bread, which worked fine however it took 2 days and it was always floppy. I worked out that flours aint flours and that hydration ratio was important (i worked it out by ratio on a specific flour, rather than hydration %).


My interest has recently ben reignited and I would like to try to push making a good loaf to a level beyond my previous hands off approach.

BXMurphy's picture

Lumps in shaggy mass?

July 17, 2016 - 1:22pm -- BXMurphy


Should there be lumps in a "shaggy mass?"

I'm working on a few runs of dmsnyder's SD from SFBI Artisan II class. That, and many other recipes, call for an initial mix of ingredients to a shaggy mass. I use a bowl and wooden spoon. In order to get all the lumps of dry dough out, I'd have to knead and it wouldn't be shaggy any more.

I imagine lumps are ok at this point but I find it difficult to get them all out later with just stretches and folds. Where am I going wrong?


BXMurphy's picture

He swings! It's a brick!!

July 16, 2016 - 7:56pm -- BXMurphy

Ovenproofed.  <sigh>

20% levain. 75% hydration. AP flour. Mix, counter ferment four hours, retard 15 hours. All good-ish...

I think I should have shaped and baked cold.

Instead, I toyed with it, stretching and folding four or five times at 30-45 minutes over two or three hours and then vegetable strainer proof for another 45 minutes using an under-floured dish towel that stuck with a vengeance straight out of the Bible.

Wifey suggested I throw it out. I got annoyed since I had a hot oven, some sort of flour/water thing, yada yada... bing... boom...

Elagins's picture

Latest on my blog: Latvian Coarse Rye/ Rudzu Rupjā Maize

July 16, 2016 - 6:38pm -- Elagins

Over the months and years I've spent baking rye breads, I've developed a special fondness for Baltic ryes and for coarse-textured rustic breads. This Coarse Rye from Latvia fills the bill on both, making it one of my favorites. Interestingly, it combines bulk ferment, soaking and proofing into a single 12 to 16-hour stretch, after which the dough gets benched and baked in quick succession.


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