The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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hamletcat's picture

Loaf of bread inside a roasting pan?

Can you bake a loaf of bread inside a large roasting pan if you set it in a glass loaf pan?  I have been using a crock insert which works but I would like to have my bread be able to come out shaped more like sandwich bread.  Should I put a bit of water in the bottom of the roasting pan?  

Mike Jordan's picture
Mike Jordan

Light Whole Wheat Bread

I've been dabbling at baking artisan type bread for a couple of months now, sometimes doing several loafs a week. Sometimes I get better and sometimes not, but I learn a little more with almost each loaf.  Here are some pictures of a boule I did last night that is mainly unbleached white flour and part whole wheat flour that came out of the book "The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day".

Light Whole Wheat


Cut in Half


Close Up

MBaadsgaard's picture

Another try at open crumb

I have been baking! (big surprise...)

This time I was thinking that I should get gluten development, but not too much gluten alignment, so I tried Autolyse.

The crumb turned out nice and moist, with very irregular bubbles, but it's still not there yet.

I made my poolish as usual, 200g flour / 200g water and a pea-sized amount of yeast.

The next day I mixed the remaining 310g flour and 190g water and let it stand for 3 hours.

I then mixed the two (with a little trouble, because of the hydration difference), added oil, a pea-size yeast, and 10g of kosher salt.

It was then put in a box to bulk ferment for 3 hours, with S&F every hour.

Then it was put in a claypot for final proofing.

About 1½-2 hours later, it was put cold into the oven, covered, hoping steam would build up and help, at 525F/275C for 50 minutes.


The crumb was the most moist I have had yet. I guess this is the Autolyse? It's wonderful

The crust is no that great, but since it would go soft before tomorrow anyway, that doesn't bother me.

The dough held together okay, but had to bake it in a form of some sort. I guess high hydration dough is always baked with strong preheating? Or is it possible to shape it to last?

The bubbles look horizontal, maybe they could have expanded more upwards. Should I have scored the bread for better result? And yea, should have dimpled, have to learn to remember that...

Next time I am going to preheat, and I will match the hydration between the poolish and the autolysed dough so it mixes easier, and I will agitate the dough less.

Any other suggestions? For bigger holes and such..


mrmajeika's picture

Can i skip out part of the proving?

I am making a recipe from Paul Hollywood's book for corriander, olive and onion bread. The recipe calls for the dough to be made in the usual way and then to leave to prove until doubled in size as with a usual bread recipe. It then tells you to knock back the dough and knead in the fillings then leave to rise for half an hour. Then knock it back, shape, add toppings and prove again until doubled in size. I am a bit short on time so will it be ok to leave out the second proving stage, the one where after the filling is added. So i will knead, prove, knock back, add fillings and then do final prove. Will it still turn out ok? Also the recipe calls for the onion to be added raw. Will it cook ok?

Also i want to make some sort of fancy butter to serve with it. Like a garlic butter for example. Any suggestions?

Finally, I am making a foccacia with rosemary and garlic. I was going to add some blue cheese to it, will this go well or is a bit too much?

Athena53's picture

Sourdough smells weird


 I just recently started a new sourdough starter( It's the Finland Sourdough Culture from Sourdoughs International), which had been sitting in the fridge, unopened, for at least 2 years, maybe longer. I've had it going for about a week, and from the beginning it had an odd and unpleasant smell, sort of like wet paper. We have a different sourdough that's been in use for a few years, and its never smelled like this.I'm currently "washing" it( stir, dump all but one cup of starter, add 3/4 cup water and 1 cup flour. Stir again and dump all but one cup, feed again and put in a warm place.) I've done this twice so far, about once every 12 hours, in the hopes that it will remove the smell. Is this normal for this type of starter, or has something bad invaded? Thanks!



Lramik's picture

Issues with larger batches of Tartine sourdoughs


I've been reading the forums here and there for several years now, but this is my first post.

A little background: I'm the sous-chef at a small but popular restaurant where I've recently been able to take control of baking all the breads (sandwich loaves, focaccias, brioches, etc etc). Lately, since the winter is the slow season for us, I've had time to experiment with baking sourdoughs and hearth-type breads at work just as I do at home. I've had excellent results at home for quite some time, despite using totally average AP flour and an electric oven on its last legs; I've been maintaining my starter for almost three years now, and it's very happy, active and honestly loved like a pet in our house.

So, I was excited to take all that and transfer it to the restaurant, thinking that our big stand mixer, expansive work surfaces, warmer kitchen, large fridge for retarding, etc, would result in the same success and more, but that hasn't been the case.

Basically, my main issue is that I haven't been able to get the same kind of gluten development in my doughs while baking large batches at work as I do at home with a single batch, and my loaves, while delicious, don't have the same open crumb.

I've been baking almost exclusively from Tartine Bread since I picked it up in the fall (I know I'm years late to the Tartine party...) and I've been mostly baking the baguette recipe at work, though I truly love the whole wheat as well.

Here's the rundown:

The first couple times I tried at work, I baked a 3x batch of the baguette recipe. I used all Five Roses AP flour, which I believe is between 11.5-12% protein. Mixed poolish night before, in fridge overnight. I did the initial mix (pre-autolyse) in the stand mixer, thinking that this would enable me to get a head start on gluten development with the big batch. During bulk ferment, S&Fs were difficult as the dough was not very extensible (less so than at home using Robin Hood AP, a comparable flour.) By the time the dough had almost doubled, it was better, but still not quite as smooth as what I achieve at home. I was very excited; the loaves held up well during the final proof, great oven spring and then... I cut one open and... evenly-textured smallish holes. Sudden disappointment, and no one else in the restaurant could understand why, as they crammed hot buttered chunks of bread into their mouths.

I figured it was the initial mechanical mixing that must be responsible for the dense crumb, so I switched back to an all-hand method and unfortunately achieved similar results. Now, there were sometimes a few large and irregular holes, but I felt as though the dough was underdeveloped even after 3-5 hours of bulk ferment, turning every half hour. The dough is webby, tears relatively easily during preshaping, and just generally does not have the smooth, supple softness that I enjoy working with. The loaves bake up alright... oven spring is great, although I never come close to developing "ears" (and I have at home), and that dense crumb just makes me mad every time!

Recently I bought a couple bags of bread flour (12.5 and 14 percent) and have been experimenting with them at home. Brought some to work for latest batch of baguettes. No real difference, and if anything, the dough was even webbier than usual. However it was a warm day in the prep room and by the time I'd done four turns the thing had almost doubled; threw it in the walk-in cooler for another couple hours and continued but it was just never quite "right."

Hopefully someone has gotten this far through my wall of text! Here's what I'm thinking:

  • maybe I'm not able to develop the dough as well with s&f in the larger batch? should I divide into two small batches after the first turn/salt addition? Or should I stay with one large batch, and retard in the fridge between turns so that I have more time to accomplish gluten development?
  • maybe I'm underproofing after the final shape at work; I usually leave them an hour and a half or so, and by that time they have usually risen to about one and a half times the initial volume, but some of the "rise" is "spreading" and I get all scared of overproofing and I get them in the oven. I feel like if I waited some more, maybe those big holes would develop?
  • I know my shaping technique can use some work, but I feel like the dough itself is almost preventing me from proper shaping.

Any ideas? Again, I apologize for the long post. I'll try to get some pictures up soon.

Bashert's picture

Whole-Wheat Rye Spelt

This was an experiment I thought turned out worthy of sharing. I keep trying to increase the depth of flavor and wean myself off store-bought white flour. So, here is my 90% hydration 60% whole-wheat, 30% rye, and 10% spelt sourdough, made using the Tartine method.

Formula for two 1000g loaves:

200g Levain

600g organic whole-wheat

300g organic rye

100g spelt

900g water

20g salt

3.5 hour bulk rise, 2 hour proof at room temp after shaping


Bubbling whole-grain dough.

The crumb.. and an arm.


Customers at the market seemed to love it! Ended up with a very soft crumb and slightly sweet, nutty whole-wheat flavor. My wife says my spelt breads are "dry... in a good way." And I always think the dough smells like a big matzo ball when I'm mixing it. Anybody else notice this when using spelt??

shopkins1994's picture

I dyed my bread, an experiment

Hi Everyone,

      I've been baking a few loaves of bread a day to learn the skill and yesterday I decided to dye the top part of the dough each time I folded it to see if folds have anything to do with say hole formation, etc. It doesn't appear that folding has anything to do with holes. I did three folded cycles. Each time I folded I painted the top of the dough blue.

SilverMaple's picture

Cranberry and other ingredients sticking

I am going to make a cranberry/walnut sourdough later today,  I have made it a few times with varying success (starter issues...), but each time I have had a problem with pieces of cranberry sticking to the pan during the baking process.  I think I am flouring the pan adequately - is there anything I am missing?

More flour?   Bake it on a stone?

I hope this is is the appropriate place for the question, wasn't quite sure.


dickeytt's picture

Smaller Oven Dilemma and cooking multiple loafs

Hi All, I am currently successfully cooking a single loaf in my smallish oven.  I have a small granite baking stone and heat my oven to 250C for 1 hour before cooking the loaf.  The process I use is to cook the loaf at 250C for 10 mins then turn down to 220C for 20 min, down again to 200C for 20 mins and finally 10 mins at 190C.  I have now used this process for my last few loaves and have found that it produces a very nice sourdough loaf.


So here is my dilemma, I would like to make more than 1 loaf at the same time, but not sure how to cook them as I can't fit 2 loaves in my oven at the same time and also want to minimise the amount of time I have to re-heat the oven back to 250C before putting in the next loaf.

Could you offer me some advice on the best way to cook the loaves without having to re-heat the oven between each loaf cooking.