The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


chopper757's picture


Hello everyone.

I ran across this site while looking for a certain type of bread.

From what I have seen so far, this is the best bread site I have found so far.

I am looking forward on meeting other bread bakers.


jncameron's picture

Hi all:

Just found this site and I'm so happy that I found it.

I'm new to baking...I have recently retired, and I've found

that it's wise to set up a budget if it's needed. I'm now

more aware of the situation that deals with the WANTS and NEEDS

And being more aware of dietary habits has shown that many

of my earlier favorite foods are not always nutritionally sensible.

I've always wanted to be able to bake but right now I'm

stuck...every loaf I've tried to bake so far has been a disaster.

Not one loaf has risen properly...doesn't mater which proffing,

1st or second, in a bowl or in the loaf pans. And all have been

extremely DENSE!  Very discouraging, to say the least.

If anyone has been in this situation and might possibly have

a suggestion or two, I would be so grateful. I've tried using

a sourdough that I built, kept it fed, refrigerated it when it

was puffy on top and spposedly ready for use, keeping it fed

about twice a week. I've also tried granular luck.

Must close, thanks for allowing this ,my first post.



aka (Neil)



BabyBlue's picture

Hi Neil,

When I was new to baking bread, I was experiencing the same thing.  A friend of mine was getting great results to I watched her do it...  my problem was water temperature.  When the recipe calls for lukewarm... it really means HOT!  Use a thermometer to check the temperature of your water, and always account for a few degrees being lost from the tap to the bowl, to warm the bowl, and then to get the yeast in there. 

White bread is easier to make than whole wheat.  "Bread" flours are easier to use than artisan or home milled flours.  Start with a basic loaf to get technique and then gradually change it up to see how the dough properties change. 

I am new to sour dough... my first batch is in progress right now, so I can't tell you where you went wrong... but you have me worried now!! 

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress.


Blue (therese)

LindyD's picture

A warm welcome to  you, Neil.

Am sorry that  your efforts so far have been a disaster.  How about posting the recipe you've been using, in the event the recipe has some errors.

Set aside your discouragement - you'll get lots of help here.

jncameron's picture

Hi LindyD:

Thanks for your reply...I appreciate it.

About the recipe you mentioned...I got it from this website:e reads:

The home page reads:   Sourdouegh Baking

                                    The Basics, by S. John Ross

his recipe:

2 cups of sponge (proofed starter)

(I used his recipe to build my own great)

3 cups unbleached flour

2 TBL Olive oil or softened margarine

4 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

He the first proofing in a bowl, towel-covered,

for about an hour or so...put loaves in pans, put in oven and

proof again until doubled. Turn oven on THEN, (not preheated)

to 350 degrees and bake for 30-45 minutes. Test for the hollow sound,

turn out on a cooling rack. Let cool for about 1 hour...

-------------------------------------------urn out beautif

I'm sure I followed his directions for new bakers, interested

in sourdough. But alas, no luck.

I've tried numerous other simple "first-time bakers' recipes" luck, either.

Wouldn't it be great if I could pick up some tips/tricks and try again, and have

both loaves turn out beautifully?

I'm hoping my learning skills will happen sister wants to visit

me soon...shanks again, LindyDe's lives in RENO.   

Thanks again, LindyD...good to hear from you.

Neil  (jncameron)



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I followed the link, in the recipe, it says about the dough under the towel:

Note that sourdough rises more slowly than yeast bread; my starter takes about an hour or so, but some starters take much longer. Let the dough double in bulk, just like yeast-bread dough. When a finger poked into the top of the dough creates a pit that doesn't "heal" (spring back), you've got a risen dough.

This seems to be the hardest step, waiting for this dough to rise.  The first time seems to take forever.  But it happens.

By "granular yeast," which kind of yeast are you talking about.  Is it like fine sawdust or more like little round beads?  Is it Instant Yeast or is it Active Dry Yeast?  The two activate differently which might be the problem.

You might have better luck starting out with a basic here.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on LESSONS and try the first one with instant yeast.