The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

first time

Half Baked's picture

First attempt at making Baguette with Poolish didn't come out too well...

April 8, 2013 - 7:19am -- Half Baked

Hi all, I found this site not long ago and it’s been nigh on invaluable after I recently got into baking. The tips and recipes have all really inspired me, and I have been happily experimenting away with different flours and types of bread for the last couple of months. I tried to test my abilities and learn some new skills over the weekend by using making a French Baguette using a poolish, and it failed and I’m really not too sure why, I was wondering if you ladies and gents had any suggestions as to where I went wrong?


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?

Bread Baker 101's picture
Bread Baker 101

Ok, so I really enjoy cooking and love to bake cakes, and I've been wanting to try baking some breads and try to start baking my own loaves for my family (without the perservatives and such of the super market breads), so I thought I'd try my hand at my first loaf of active yeast bread today - the culprit....a loaf of seeminly easy, beautiful, delicious looking Homemade Cinnamon Bread.

Score: Bread - 1, Me - 0.

I followed directions on the recipe as I thought I was following to a "T"; however, did have some silent doubts along the way as this is the very first time I have EVER tried making a loaf of any type of bread using active dry yeast. I have been reading other blogs, tips and tricks and all of the such and I'm sure the following are the reasons for my bread making failure:

1. I'm afraid I let the liquid get too hot and did not let it cool enough before adding the yeast.
2. When I added the yeast, I stirred the mixture with the knife I had laying nearby that I cut my hunk of butter off with.
3. My proofing mixture did not have any real noticeable CO2 bubbles.
4. I live in AZ and thought that a good place for my bread to rise for the first rising was in my warmed glass bowl, loosely covered with plastic wrap, on my patio chair in my back yard in the AZ sun (it was a beautiful 90 or so out when it was out there during the 2 hours).
5. I don't have a fancy mixer so I kneaded by hand (in the bowl) - I was so nervous, I didn't take the dough out of the bowl...
6.My dough didn't rise that much, so when I formed it into the roll and placed it in the pan, for the second rising I turned my oven on and placed the pan (again covered with plastic wrap) in my microwave that is directly above/on top of my built-in oven - thinking the microwave would get  enough heat from the oven for rising. Not much happened after over 2 hours.
7. So then, my 87 year old aunt who lives with us suggested placing the pan on the open oven door - so I did this for about another 45 min and still not a lot of activity - so I just decided to bake the loaf.

What a disaster - my loaf is soooo dense and dry - with a pretty good flavor - but who wants to eat dry dense bread? What a long day - felt kind of gratifying during the process, but after nearly the whole entire day, and ending with a loaf of bread nearly inedible, it was a huge let down and disappointment.

So, I've come to one conclusion - there is definitley room for improvement! Today is the beginning of a new life challenge - try to master the art and science of active yeast bread baking. Please wish me luck! Hope to be able to gather a lot of different tips from this site and ultimately end up making delicious, weekly bread for my family - without so much as a grimace on my face (except while kneading the dough).

Take care fellow bakers!
Erin aka Bread Baker 101 

abovethelau's picture

I'm making my first Italian loaf .. and its for my future in-laws - help!

May 12, 2011 - 8:19am -- abovethelau

Hi Everyone!

So I am no baking novice, but when it comes to baking bread I am not nearly as experienced as I am when it comes to cookies!

I have previously made successful white bread (with some help from everyone here in the past) and was hoping that I could get a few pointers before taking on my first Italian loaf, especially since I am making it for my future in-laws this weekend!

Sudz's picture

Just starting out

October 6, 2010 - 1:04pm -- Sudz

Hey all! Hopefully going to get a starter, started tonight!

My goal is in 12 days, to make a loaf of sourdough.

Now, Looking around, it seems like it's one of the harder loafs to make. I am handy with baking, but this will be my first attempt at anything with yeast! Wish me luck! I'm thinking I will start a blog on here to document my adventures (hopefully not misadventures!) through my trials!

Update soon!

JT's picture

Help! First time Seed Culture/Barm went horribly awry!

September 5, 2009 - 11:23am -- JT

"Hi all,

So this week I tried to make my first sourdough, and seeming as how I live in San Francisco I was pretty excited about this! I have been thoroughly enjoying "The Bread Baker's Apprentice," so I figured I'd use Reinhart's formula for Seed Culture, Barm and Starter.

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