The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Little Loaf That Could

ein's picture

The Little Loaf That Could

Has anyone had a slip up like this that ended up ok?  I set out on the right foot yesterday converting my Liquid Levain into Stiff and building a little overnight preferment in preparation of making Jeffrey Hamelman's Pain au Levain. Step by thoughtful step ( I need to concentrate hard now being over 60 ) all seemed to be going well ... too well I guess since I was not paying full attention while loading the oven.

The tail end of my nicely formed oval loaf stuck to the end of the peel and ended up sliding back out of the oven and falling into the crack! between the oven and the door. Uggghhh!  What a mess. I grabbed it out and dropped it back onto the peel that was now laying on the open oven door.

I glanced at the garbage can, then back at the pitiful pile of dough sitting there and quickly squashed it back together into a rough log shape, at this point what did I have to lose? A quick swish with the lame, and back in the oven she went. The Bread Angels must have been smiling at such a scene.

To top it off ... it tastes great ... this is the best loaf I've made in weeks. :+)







dmsnyder's picture

That's a beautiful bâtard, ein!

I have had quite a variety of mishaps, usually when transferring loaves into the oven. I have managed to recover the bread in each instance and end up with a very edible product. 

You obviously did the right thing. In fact, your bread looks so nice, you may have discovered a new, superior shaping technique!


LindyD's picture

If that lovely bread was the result of a loading mess-up, I can't wait to see the next loaf you bake.  Quite a spectacular save, Ein.

And yes, I've had baguettes fly off the peel and wind up on the oven floor.  They're generally salvageable and avoid getting remade into breadsticks.

flournwater's picture

If you used an electric range and had dropped onto the bottom of the oven you'd have had some nice grill marks from the heating element

I'm looking forward to experiencing a survivable accident with the crumb you got on this loaf.  Nice looking hunk of bread, Ein.

How did you ever reshape it under those circumstances and retain the ear?  Amazing...

Nomadcruiser53's picture

It's like going to a movie with no expectations and being pleasantly surprised. Not having any idea of what the end result will be can really surprise you in a good way. Nice looking loaf. Dave

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, ein.

It absolutely does happen to every one sooner or later.

Here is a current blog entry from a very accomplished baker with a charming illustration:


ein's picture

You go Farine! It's great to see that during a meticulous work session a fun dose of serendipity can still slip in. Farine may have created a new Bread Art form. I'm sure someone will make Alphabaguettes and they will be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

Since my Dropped Dough obliterated the pre-shape, bench rest, and final shaping steps I thought about the possibility of skipping that part of the process.  Give the dough another degas/folding session at the close of bulk fermantation and go right into final fermentation in the same bowl. Turn the dough out gently right on the peel when proofed and sqish out the Shape du Jour while heading towards the oven.

This may work for a single loaf of Dubious Bread but I think I'll stick to trying to get consistent with the often elusive techniques I've been shown. It's only fair that I post a picture of my next bake of Hamelman's Pain au Levain (that hopefully won't be Oven Crack Bread!). What are the odds this loaf will be any better??