The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Errans86's picture

A Dozen Beginner's Problems in One Recipe!

April 12, 2013 - 7:01pm -- Errans86

Hi folks, 

Newbie baker here, been lurking for a while and just encountered a problem that I think I can learn a lot from if someone just tells me what exactly went wrong. Which is going to be tricky, since I think the answer is about a dozen things. I've had a handful of successes so far and only three failures, but this latest one captured every issue I've had and rolled them all up into one. 

PNWBaker's picture

I made my 2nd loaf today. I modified the recipe in lesson 2 a bit by adding whole wheat flour, AP (unfortunately bleached - all I had on hand), and KAF bread flour. I used one of my tissue blades for the scoring, and I'm very impressed how well it worked. It was like slicing through air, absolutely no drag at all. Granted, tissue blades were originally used in order to take very thin slices of tissues for sampling, so I shouldn't be surprised. They're also used in some crafts (like beading) which is why I had some on hand.

I also cut down on the sugar. I practically inhaled the first bread, and I decided I really didn't need to be having that much sugar in the next one.

While the loaf's not bad, I'm definitely going to try some new things next time. For one, I need to increase the hydration in the dough. The crust really dried out on me this time, partly due to not enough water in the dough and also I think partly because I baked it too long. I cut 15 minutes off of the baking time, but I should have cut 25 instead. Next time I'll know not to ignore my gut instinct. Additionally, I'm going to try misting the crust with water and putting an upside down roasting pan on top of the bread for the first 10-15 minutes so I can get the crust I want without it drying out. I also need to shape it a little more firmly if I want it to retain its shape. This one expanded a bit more laterally than I expected.

Eventually, I also want to try to get a larger crumb. I'm going to experiment a bit with moisture content and see if that helps. I kind of want to 'perfect' this version before I move on to fermenting dough overnight, but we'll see if I get impatient. 

The official changes to the recipe were:

1 1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup white wheat
1 cup all purpose
1/16 cup sugar
about 1 1/2 tbs butter
1 scant teaspoon salt

After shaping, I put it in the slightly warm oven to rise for 40 min, baked a 75 minutes at 350 degrees.

Here's the first loaf I made, just for comparison. Also, any tips/comments are definitely welcome.

PNWBaker's picture

Hello from the Pacific Northwest!

January 28, 2013 - 12:51am -- PNWBaker

I discovered this site a few days ago, and today I made my first loaf of bread! I'm so happy I found this site. I bake a lot but I've never made a 'true' bread (I'm excluding pumpkin breads and non-knead, non-yeast breads). But because of this site I made my first loaf of 'actual' bread! It's very exciting and makes me feel very accomplished. I tried using a Santoku for the scoring, thinking that it was a thin enough blade, but I'll definitely be using a razor blade next time!

jconsford's picture

Hello all, my name is Jonathan, and i recently (less than 2 months ago) started baking the bread at the restraunt i work at.  I am extremely excited to have this opportunity presented to me.  I started the first couple of weeks making somewhat dense dough using <-- that recipe.  the more i made the more open my crumb became, and now ive tweaked the recipe (shown below) to my liking.  I am now trying to figure out how long i want to retard the dough once made.  


100% hyration
3lbs flour
3lbs water 

1 1/2 tablespoon salt

3/8 teaspoon yeast

final dough:

3lbs ~10oz flour
 2lbs water
1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

also, i can't get it through my bosses head how important the "unbleached"  flour is, i was using bleached AP flour at first and then he finally got me some bleached bread flour, anything i can tell him to stress the importance of unbleached flour?

dvalentine10's picture

First time making Tartine's Basic Country Bread - please help!

September 30, 2012 - 1:04pm -- dvalentine10

So I'm sure nobody here is remotely sick of reading posts about beginners who struggle making Chad Robertson's Basic Country Bread. Nobody at all. No problems. Please continue.


Today I baked my first basic loaf using the recipe (err, formula) described in the widely-read, wildly-quoted Tartine Bread cookbook. Very nice book. Loved the pictures.


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