The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first loaf... Who is sleeping in that cave??

hazimtug's picture

My first loaf... Who is sleeping in that cave??

Overproofed & not scored...

Well, this was my first try at baking bread in March 07. Finally, it was time to try something thicker than pizza, I had time on my hands and a mud oven I could play with. Pictures show simple French Bread loaves before, during and after baking in the mud oven we have in our back yard. I can tell you that I really don't have any experience with wood-fired ovens. I did use the oven a bunch of times and then I stopped after a couple of failures, mainly due to not-hot-enough oven or overproofed loaves, i.e., lack of good timing. In any case, few times I had good success...

I was impressed with the ovenspring of my first loaves, except for the scored one. That one scored loaf just poofed down before it went into the oven, so I was naturally scared to score the other ones. In the oven, you can see the difference between the scored loaf (on the left) and the other non-scored loaves. Besides the nice caramelization, the non-scored loaves had big caves. You can see threads of gelatinized dough connecting the crumb to the roof. Upon some inquiry, I found out that my loaves were probably overproofed, obviously not scored to release that extra CO2, and not handled so gently during shaping. For my first try though, my family and I loved how they tasted with a hint of the wood smoke. The whole baking process was a nice weekend event for us... This is how I got sucked into bread baking. It's fun. I should start playing again with the wood-fired oven this summer.



qahtan's picture


 never mind the cave ;-)))) the crumb looks great....... qahtan

xaipete's picture

Wow, what oven spring! --Pamela

SylviaH's picture

Hazimtug, I think your bread is beautiful and whats a hole or two!!  We've all probably overproofed a loaf or two :)  I love your lovely the loaves look baking.  I sometimes like to just brush the ash to the back of the fine and much easier than sweeping it all out...though by the time its turned to ash there's not that much to clean.  I really like your bread paddle too!  Your loaves have wonderful browned crusts.  Im in the practicing stages of my wfo too...your doing fantastic!!  Thanks for posting your neat photos!


SylviaH's picture

Hazim, at what temperture did you fire your loaves at and how long did they take to bake?  Looks like your oven was nice and hot by the carmelization on the crusts!  More questions!!  I use a large spritzer bottle to put steam into my oven...I like it because it can shoot the water a good distance..I mist before the loaves go in and when they are put into the that a pan of water I see in your oven or do you mist your loaves?  I plan on using my oven a lot more this season!  They are so much fun and being outside adds to the enjoyment!  Plus Im looking forward to not heating up my kitchen this summer. 


hazimtug's picture

Sylvia- I haven't really measured the oven temperature. That's one thing I should do both for the home oven and the WFO. For the WFO, I put the loaves in when I can barely stick my hands in without burning- well, if I can time it right. That has been the trickiest thing for me while using the WFO.

As far as steam goes, yes, I place a pan in the oven to preheat and toss in some water immediately after I put the loaves in. And I do mist the loaves before I put them in, and I mist the inside of the oven for more steam within the next 2 minutes or so.

I am planning on firing it up this week with my dad if all goes planned. I have a feeling that I may get better results as I have some experience now making breads using just the regular oven. I as just starting to bake and that's when I also first started using the WFO... I'll share the results.


ivy b's picture
ivy b

HI Hazim,

Your loaves are gorgeous, the even browning, the shape, so, you have a nice big hole in the crumb? More personality, I say! :-D

Did you make your oven? It looks so interesting, like you first have brick then the mud? I am planning on making my own in about a month, once it warms up enough for friends' kids to come and "play in the mud", so I am very interested in learning as much as I can about making earth ovens right now.

Again, Kudos on your breads, they look fabulous!


ivy, ny

hazimtug's picture

Hi Ivy,

Thanks for the comments... Yes, when I can the oven to cooperate, or rather have my timing and temperatures right, the breads can be fantastic.

So, my dad and his friend made the oven. I just asked him. So, inside, it has brick (held together with some sort of a mortar), then a layer of mud (mixture of soil and hay actually) and wire mesh. The mud, once in place, is let dry out completely before finally applying a layer of concrete for the outside shell. Then, there is "baking" of the oven, which according to my dad, should get hot enough to melt glass- and that's what they did. This I guess helps acclimatize the oven materials so that they can handle high temperatures later on (just like ceramics are baked to high temperatures).

Hope this helps. Happy bakes- Hazim

ques2008's picture

great shots...and great bread!

DrPr's picture

Wow- that's some hole!! I'm relatively new to baking and rusty after a 4-year break from it, as well. I understand that holes like that are caused by gasses traveling through the dough as it is warming up in the oven. I believe you can control that with the right amount of moisture in the beginning of the baking period.    I absolutely adore your mud oven and am trying to figure out how to make or buy one myself. I'm in NE Ohio.  If you have any ideas, please pass them on.

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

cuz if you do, well, I might just have to hijack that oven and move it to my house.  lol.

Seriously, I LOVE your oven...AND your bread!

Kudos to you.