The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


danthebakerman's picture

Big Holes in Bread

January 8, 2013 - 5:37pm -- danthebakerman

Howdy All, 

I seem to have a predicament on my hands. My name is Dan, and I'm a young, and very eager bread-baker. From Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" I've tried the "Pain A L'Ancienne" bread a few times, along with Ciabatta. I get small, maybe 1/4'' holes, but nothing huge and extravagant like the pictures state. I will highly admit, I'm a new baker, I've only been baking for only a few years, I do have the equipment I need, but I will admit that my knowledge and skill are limited. 


Szanter5339's picture

Loaf shape.

Loaf shape. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Szanter5339's picture

cowboy33's picture

Collapse after Rise - Trying to place in oven

November 20, 2012 - 1:00pm -- cowboy33

Having trouble getting my breads from the final rise into the oven, onto the baking stone.

Especially the "wetter" breads, had one collapse on me and it never rose nicely in the oven.


Is there a technique for moving them?

Is it okay if they collapse, will they re-rise?

Was the oven to hot and the outside baked to fastto aloow any rise, should i do more steam, or wet or brush oil/butter on top before baking? To allow the crust not to form as fast. Maybe back at lower temps.

Mebake's picture

Dear TFL'ers

I'm on an obligatory pause from baking, as i've underwent a spinal fusion Surgery in my lower back. Can't bake nothing now, nor bend forward... It is a dead pause for 3 months at least!  I'm bound to this dreadful back brace, so the only bread related activity i'll do is watch TFL, and learn more, take it easy, and enjoy some time in some personal reflection (remembering how vulnerable we are as humans, and that without God's mercy and grace, we are helpless).

In the meantime, my dried starters are now dormant in my freezer, and i'm looking forward to the day when i'm ready to fire them up again :)

My thoughts and wishes to you all, especially those of you experiencing tough times.




AprilSky's picture

Pizza bread made last weekend~~~^^


This is why I call it "Pizza bread"~~~lol


A sandwitch loaf for breakfast next morning~~~

Mr. Keith's picture

Batard Blowout - Underproofing?

October 24, 2012 - 6:34am -- Mr. Keith

Maybe someone can help me with a problem I have been having with my batards (and to a lesser exten with boules).  Recently, during oven spring my bread has been expanding to such a degree that it spills out from the docking and frequently tears the corners of the seams, making for an unsightly loaf.  The bread tastes delicious and I am really happy with the crumb.  There is a nice, airy matrix of holes through the loaf and there isn't a ring of dough around the edge (this one is actually a little more dense than my others because it is 1/3 wheat flour).  

cookingbyheart's picture

My guy, Paul, is a lover of bread. In particular, he loves a good baguette. Through him, I have been initiated into the life of baguette enthusiasm.  A good baguette is dark and crusty on the outside, fluffy and light on the inside. That seems simple enough, most baguettes should fit that description vaguely, but there is a scale within that description. In France we found that the artisanal handmade loaves are usually best and everything else is, well, not best.

In France, bakeries prepare baguettes and other breads daily, usually preparing a morning batch and an evening batch in order to provide the freshest loaves all day long. In order to stock the shelves with the freshest breads when the shop opens at 6a, Boulanger William Courderot begins his day at 1am. When we arrived to meet him at 5am, he was well into his daily routine. Each day, Courderot rolls out 600 traditional baguettes and each day they fly off the shelf.

There are many types of baguettes. The hand rolled ones are usually called tradition or l'ancienne, they are made in the old French way. You can literally taste the love with which they are made. This is why I advise you to steer clear of the standard machine made baguettes! They are usually lighter in color, less crispy. They are longer and more uniform, there is no trace of flour on the finished crust, and they are maybe 10 cents cheaper. I'm not sure why anybody buys them.

In the states, it's getting more and more possible to find quality bread but it's still always fun to see what you can do yourself. When we were in France, I made a pact to learn how to make a good baguette by baking them daily. But after a couple of sad attempts, I gave in to the fact that everywhere I looked I saw perfect baguettes for €1 or less. I was in the land of incredible baguettes and I wasn't about to waste time and empty calories on bad ones! It takes a lot of patience to come up with a method that works for you in your setting. It's tough for a recipe to account for the moisture or dryness of the air in your environment. Consumer ovens just don't get as hot as industrial ones. But have no fear, Julia Child is here! Julia offers a thorough recipe with helpful pictures in her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, and you can see her recipe sans photos here.

One useful tip I can offer to fresh bread lovers: the best way to keep baguettes and other breads fresh and tasty is to wrap them in aluminum foil and freeze. If you have a big country loaf, cut it into smaller more manageable meal-size pieces and wrap each piece separately. When you want to eat some bread, place it in the oven or toaster oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes. When you can easily squeeze the baguette in your hand (with a glove of course), remove the foil, turn off the oven and put the bread back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so to crisp it up. Enjoy!

William Courderot's French Baguette


1 kg farine / ~7 cups flour

650 g eau / ~3 cups water

20 g sel / ~3.5 tsp salt

20 g levure / ~5 tsp yeast


Mix all ingredients in kitchenaid or cuisinart mixer until smooth. Let rest for an hour and a half.

Flour prep area and separate dough into three equal pieces. Generously flour a linen cloth. Gently fold the dough over itself and roll while pushing the dough outwards until it becomes a long snake. Notice how little Courderot handles the dough as he forms it into baguettes. Don't handle the dough more than you have to. Place the baguettes on your floured linen cloth, cradling each loaf in fabric so they don't touch one another. Leave to rest for one hour.

Preheat oven to 550°F (or as high as your oven will go).

Use a new razor blade or very sharp knife to score the bread with evenly distributed diagonal marks, about 4-5 scores per loaf. Fill a cast iron pan with ice water and place it on the bottom rack of your oven. This helps keep a good amount of moisture in the oven while the bread bakes. Place the baguettes in the oven for 20-30minutes or until they are crusty and brown. When they're done, let them cool on a rack for 10 minutes or so before you break bread.


Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

The last few weeks have sucked TREMENDOUSLY around here. Good bread is how I cope. In order to stop the current round of chaos that was the wind down for bedtime last night, I offered to the kids that we should mix up dough.

400g flour

2 pinches of yeast

8g salt

300g water

I wanted a wet, tasty dough that would be ready in time for dinner the next day. I woke up today and at 3 or so punched it down and shaped it. A couple hours later I put it in the oven. Half an hour at 425 later, this is what I pulled out of the oven:

The loaves are almost round. ROUND. Can't believe it.

Basic things can make you so happy.


Subscribe to RSS - bread