The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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.

KipperCat's picture

Need suggestions for teaching a beginner

April 1, 2012 - 7:32pm -- KipperCat

I haven't baked bread for a couple of years now.  Eating that good bread every day is what finally made me accept that I don't do well eating gluten!  A friend's daughter is interested in artisan bread baking.  Everything I remember about artisan bread is a low and slow rise, with lots of time and little yeast.  I'd like ideas for a method that doesn't require frequent intervention.  We live only a 10 minute walk from each other, but somehow I can't picture having her drop by for a quick fold every hour!

dawkins's picture

Well this is my first batch of baking to be posted to this site, and having read so many rave reviews, I knew Norm's Onion Rolls had to be the recipe to start me off. I used the variation posted by Ehanner (which was really clear and easy to follow, so many thanks)

As mentioned, the dough was really stiff andif I hadn't been following the recipe so closely, I would definitely have added more liquid. After a quick initial knead, I left the dough to sit for about 20 minutes, then got stuck in and kneaded for about 10-15 in total. i'm still recovering from a back operation, so I have to do this kind of thing in stints.

After the first rise, shaping and the recommended relaxing time, I squished the rolls into the onion mixture, as advised, and it stuck really well. I was a bit nervous of flattening them too much, and squashed them to about .5 inch, but as they rose so beautifully later, I'd be less ginger next time.

My fan oven isn't that efficient, so I knocked the temp down by just 5 degrees, and once the rolls were proved ( judged by finger poking), I did the thumb poke in the middle of each and put them in the oven with a splash of hot water in the tray at the bottom. I turned and rotated the trays after 10 minutes, and thanks to a call from my Mum mid-bake, they were ina bit longer than I'd planned - just over 25 minutes. Some of the onion got a little singed, but it still tastes good, but I'd cook them for less time next time around. And there certainly will be a next time, because despite my botching, these turned out incredibly delicious - I see what all the fuss is about! Thanks to Norm and all of you who've posted about this recipe for inspiring me to try it.

One question I have, is that although I imagined these we going to be more bagel-like in terms of density, they actually ended up quite light and fluffy (I'm always startled at how much white flour bread rises). I don't know if that's the correct consistency, but I'll post some pics once I've figured out how. but here are some pics of the results:


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