The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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nicodvb's picture

No more excuses to avoid convection baking

So far every time I had to bake a free form loaf I've always been undecided: convection or static? From cold or hot oven?

I'm incredibly cheap: I don't like wasting money for preheating the oven. Moreover I like the crust that I get with convection baking, but I don't like how the hot air prematurely dries the dough limiting oven spring.

I've been searching a solution, a method to get the best of both worlds. This is what I've come out with. Judge yourself if it worked :-)

And yes, absolutely convection baking from COLD oven.



A very long sheet of oven paper involved almost completely the dough to protect it from the hot air flow. At oven spring completed, when I saw the first spots of crust, I removed it.

I'm satisfied:-) Yet I feel that bread bakes better in fan-assisted mode rather than in convection mode. Convection blows hot air all on one side, so either you need a rotating dish (like in combination microwave ovens) or you need to turn the loaf every 20 minutes to prevent burning the side facing the fan.

clearlyanidiot's picture

Husking oats.

I'd like to be using a bit more oats in the bread I bake; only I prefer to mill my own grain. I have access to oats, only they're still in the husk.

Is there an easy way to husk oats before milling?

qahtan's picture

This time it"s Bermaline bread

 photo 102_0208.jpg

       photo 102_0218.jpg                                                           

 the name is not do good on this one.q
qahtan's picture

.Hovis pans, before and after

 photo e43827de-781d-4630-9556-7c5420da1e6a_zps7cdbf43b.jpg    photo 100_0780.jpg I wanted a Hovis loaf pan,, a kind soul sent me two.. the top picture is how the arrived for me,, bottom picture after my husband worked on them,,, just though you would like to see my antiqie treasures.. qahtan 

david earls's picture
david earls

biga or poolish for short pre-ferment?

I can't believe I didn't start a pre-ferment last night - but I didn't and Sunday has to be a fresh loaf day.

I'm doing focaccia, which i usually make with an overnight poolish. But today i only have time for an hour or two for the preferment, and i'm trying it with a biga. This really just means flipping the hydration percentage in the two stages, and it will turn out to be what it turns out to be. But I am curious.

When you have a shortened period for preferment, is one or the other (biga or poolish) more favorable? I will, as they say on talk radio "Take my answer off the air."

Superman07's picture

First Post - First Loaf!

Greetings.  Been waiting to get into bread baking while until we received a nice stove, but not sure when that's happening.  Anyway, been getting impatient with local stores and offerings so decided to take a crack myself.

I used the Anis Bouabsa approach I came across here -

Split dough 2/3 and 1/3 - made a larger boule and a small loaf (was supposed to be baguette...).  For a first attempt I think it turned out okay.  I hadn't added enough salt initially, so I think the taste was a bit lacking.  The dough was very wet to work with and was difficult to form.  Hence the flat globs and flatter end products.  The crumb structure I was very pleased with, although a little dense and chewy.  Would have liked an airier end product.

Next time I'm thinking of either reducing the water by ~20g or leaving the water and subbing in 25g of bread flour.

Feedback or suggestions?!


Skibum's picture

Sourdough Pulla!

I have baked this in the past as a yeasted recipe and thought I would try a half recipe using my SD starter.  I fed the starter 1:1:1 and 4 hours later it had more than doubled, so I mixed as per the recipe only using dabrownman's sourdough process:  knead for 5 minutes, 5 rest then knead for another 5.  Bulk proof on the counter with S&F's at 30, 60 and 90 minutes, 11/2 hours on the counter then into the fridge to retard overnight.  An hour to warm up this morning, then divide and scale the dough, pre-shape and bake.  I baked about 25 minutes @ 400F on convection, using steam for the first 10 minutes, which is something I have never done with pulla.  The steam seemed to help.

This bake nearly turned into a gong show as I ran out of bread flour before the dough was mixed and ended up using about 5% each cake & pastry flour and durham semolina.  The result is some of the best tasting pulla I have ever baked!  Fantastic with strong, fresh coffee!

I also let the dough tell me when to bake and proofed for 40 minutes, rather than the suggested 20 in the original recipe.  I had 2 loaves, so I proofed the 2nd for 60 minutes and saw no difference in the loaves, so 40 minutes is right.

I paid a visit to this morning and gifted the head baker a half loaf and was able to purchase another 20 kg bag of Bakemark Deluxe Strong Bakers Flour for $20 and that should keep me out of trouble for another 4 or 5 months.

Happy baking TFLers!


Gene New's picture
Gene New

Rehydrated frozen starter


I wonder if someone could tell me if this is normal or not.

Just  after the new year I started making my own starter but in April I was due to go on a course which meant I would be washy from home for a while so I dried some in my oven and froze it.  The rest I left in a pot in the fridge and asked hubby to feed it once a week which he apparently did for a few weeks but then he got bored or forgot.

When I got back  the refrigerated starter had a grey yukey liquid on the surface, smelt like a brewery and looked pretty bad so I threw it out.  

I didn't hold much home for the frozen starter because I had dried it in a slightly warm oven and had no way of telling whether I had killed the yeast or not so the day before yesterday I mixed flour and water with the intention of starting again but just for the fun of it I weighed a packet of the frozen starter and rehydrated it with an equal volume of water.  

When I got up this morning the container was full of quite big bubbles so I thought why not and I mixed the two starters together and gave then a feed of 70g flour 70g warm water and after mixing its all in I left them on the side. That was around an hour or so ago and I am shocked to find its more than doubled in size and bubbling like a witches brew see photo.

I would have thought it needed a couple of feeds at least before it started to work again so is this normal or do I have something weird going on?

all the best Gene




ericb's picture

"beat the batter one whole hour..."

I recently ran across this reproduction of a 17th Century recipe for "Prince Bread," which apparently produces a cookie with the texture of angel food cake. The ingredients aren't anything special, but I couldn't get over the mixing time: 45 minutes! In fact, the original instructions say to "beat it all to batter one whole houre: for the more you beat it, the better your bread is."

Seriously! Check it out:


I can't imagine that it would work, but the author seems to have tried it with good results. What's going on here? What advantage could mixing a batter for 45 minutes possibly have over mixing it, say, five or ten minutes?

taurus430's picture

Pumpkin Bread with Seeds





Another great bread for sandwiches or for breakfast with apple butter!