The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Bread Since Joining The Forum

Bixmeister's picture

First Bread Since Joining The Forum



I recently retired(630-08).  One of my hobbies was baking including bread baking.  With all the distractions of married life and the job my hobby time was restricted.  I like to home brew, garden, cook, read, woodworking, general physical fitness-walking, hiking etc.  My time for baking was practically nil with all the other things taking their share of time.  Now that I am retired I have been reading up recipes, techniques etc. for bread making.  I purchased S.F. Sourdough Starter and 2 Italian starters from Sourdough International.  I have both starters active.  Although I have made French Bread before, I never shaped a Boule.


 Here is my 1st attempt at Boule: 



Notice the fine toothed serrated tomato knife to the right of the

bread.  I had trouble getting a clean scoring action with knife for

this bread.



Here is the crumb for this 1st Boule attempt:



Used a bread proofing basket for forming shape.  like the small green basket from Pastry Chef Central:

I wanted to try this bread shape again.  Here is my 2nd attempt:



Notice better scoring.  I used a different tomato knife with long large serrations and I cut less deep with a smoother action.

I think I am getting there.  Thanks D.M. Snyder for the scoring tutorial.  I didn't photograph the crumb this time, but is was similar to the first time.  The texture and taste of bread was excellent(medium chewy.

I employed some things I learned from previous baking.  I also used a technique suggested on the forum a few times previously.

For getting the bread onto a baking stone quickly I used a black teflon baking sheet that withstands high temperatures and can be used over and over.  This sheet is several years old and has been used in the oven for various types of baking including bread.  I used it on my Kamado which I use for all types of cooking, barbecuing and baking.  To see go to:

An example of the teflon baking liner is at:

I placed the teflon sheet on a cookie sheet.  Then I opened the oven and pulled the rack with the baking stone out so I could easily grab hold of the teflon sheet and pull it on the stone.  Parchment paper might work as well, but is not as strong as teflon.  

Here is my Boule baking on the aforementioned teflon baking sheet: 



The picture doesn''t show my next tip.  I place a 9X9 pan of

hot water at the bottom of my gas oven.  For easy quick addition

of water I turn a corner of the pan to face as far forward as the

door will allow.  This way when I preheat the stone and the hot

water at the start of the baking cycle I can slide the bread off a

cookie sheet onto baking stone, then push rack and stone back

into oven.  Next I pour the water I have standing by into the

exposed corner of the very hot pan and quickly close the oven.

I derived the recipe using the recipe converter on the forum

site.  It worked very well for me!  Kudos to the converter"s


My next bread attempt was a sourdough.  The recipe was found

at the following location:

The photographs are as follows:



Notice the sort of flat top.  The top was puffed up more, before

I glazed the top with egg white.  ??.  The dough started when it

filled the bread pan about half way up.  What you see is after

15 hours of proofing per recipe instructions.  I used activated

San Francisco Sourdough Starter from my master starter that I

mentioned I made earlier.

Next is the baked bread that had an internal temperature of 

slightly over 200 º F. Here is the photograph of the baked


I haven't cut or tasted this bread yet but will comment later

when I cut and taste it.

My apologies for such a long entry.  This is my first entry of recipe

descriptions and pictures since joining the forum.  I really like this

bread forum for its very informative information pictures, techniques

and tools.  This is a great way for us all to become better bakers.

I really like your editor on this site.  It is very intuitive.








pmccool's picture

Have fun with your hobby, now that you have time to indulge!

Your scoring definitely improved between the first and second attempts.  You might want to score even less deeply on your next attempt.  You can also angle the blade so that it's maybe 30 degrees from horizontal, instead of holding it vertical while making the slash.

Your panned sourdough appears to have over-fermented before going into the oven.  If you were aiming for a nicely domed dough prior to baking, you probably want to adjust something.  Either more dough for that size pan, or a smaller pan for that amount of dough would work.  Ideally, you want to pop the bread into the oven before it is fully inflated, since it will expand further as it bakes.  If it is already at its peak expansion when it reaches the oven, it will usually collapse while baking. 

Keep on experimenting.  Every one of us has a few doorstops to our credit.  The main thing is to figure out what happened and why, so that the next effort is better than the last.  Have fun!


Bixmeister's picture

Paul, thanks for the input.  I think I will try your suggestions on my next Boules.

I have a lame so I might use it for one loaf and use the tomato knife I used for my 2nd boules for my 2nd loaf.

I believe you are right about the sourdough.  I knew I was in the double zone but I probably passed the peak.  My sourdough was more domed when I glazed with egg white. If I was before the peak it probably would have restored the dome shape.

Long proofing time and inexperience contributed to the problem.  I am usually a rapid learner so I expect my breads to improve.  I've gathered many good ideas on this site.  Like in home brewing there are some that like to experiment with techniques and ingredients.  I find this very interesting as well.