The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Beginning Baker here

Rickyg's picture

Beginning Baker here

Hi everyone, Im Ricky.  I started baking recently after discovering my fascination for it. Im in culinary school and have been doing fine dining for about a year and a half now but the whole baking thing is new and scary for me haha. I got my sourdough starter going about 2 weeks ago and Its nice and strong.  I made my first loaves today and I have a few questions.  

I made a baguette and a boule.  My baguette blew out on the bottom while baking.  I scored it but I think the problem was my forming technique.  The baguette had creases on the bottom from where I formed it. I didn't want to work it too much and let the gas escape.  should I not worry too much about the air escaping and roll away? or did my creases not seal because the dough is not hydrated enough?  I just cut a piece off and it is absolutely delicious nonetheless.

Im kicking myself right now because towards the end of cooking the boule I realized that I forgot to reduce my heat from 500 to 450 :/

Its beautiful but the internal temp only hit like 195 when I pulled it and it's really dark. 

I would really appreciate any suggestions because at the moment Im kind of leading myself blindly lol.  




LindyD's picture

Welcome to TFL, Ricky.

If you'll go to the video tab at the TFL home page, you'll find some wonderful shaping videos by Mark Sinclair of Back Home Bakery.

Unless your crust was charred and blackened, I wouldn't worry about it.  A nicely caramalized, boldly baked crust imparts wondeful flavor to the bread.  Better bold than pale and bland!

rileybri's picture

I am fairly new to baking as well and am not in culinary school ( i did stay at a Holiday inn Express last night if that helps at all) but I figure we can learn for each others trials and errors first I would say check out any and all of the tutorial videos the were incredibly helpful for folding and forming techniques. Then google Sourdough bread forming and check out all of them.  From the sounds of the blow out (I had my first "blow out" this weekend as well) it sounds like the seam was not crimped enough. Just a guess...... As for the temp its my understanding that the true bread makers are using heat well beyond what we are cooking with at home. That said I have stopped using temp alone to judge doneness. I use temp (between 190-200*) now more than anything to to judge doneness. you can try tenting the bread with foil for the last 20-30 min. of cooking to "lessen" the darkness. Hope this helps......

Janknitz's picture

I'm kind of absent minded, and forgetting to turn down the oven sounds like one of my favorite (NOT) tricks. 

When that happens to me, when the crust is almost as dark as I can stand (you have to get it a little BEFORE it's too far gone because it continutes to carmalize a bit anyway) you can cover the loaf with foil until the internal temp is where you want it (provided you are within 10 degrees or so at that point in the first place). 

Oh, and don't forget to turn down the oven when you do this if you haven't already ;o)

Rickyg's picture

Thanks for all the feedback, I will be keeping all of this in mind for the next go around.  

Alas, I do have another question, I left my stiff starter out on the counter at 1:30 to ferment and asked my dad to put it in the refrigerator at 5:30 because I had to go to work. The recipe calls to let the starter rest in the refrigerator overnight before making the final dough.  So at about 6 I text my little sister and ask her if the old man has put the dough into the refrigerator and it wasn't till 8 that she responded and it was still on the counter. So my question would be, can I still use this starter tomorrow morning and just use a little less water to compensate for the over fermentation? 

alabubba's picture

Your starter will be fine, And unless you added water to your starter, it will still contain the same amount, so I wouldn't reduce the water in the final recipe.

Oh, And welcome to the board.

Rickyg's picture

Ok awesome

I checked out some of those videos last night too, they were extremely helpful 

Rickyg's picture

So I rolled the baguettes today and they totally like flattened out during the proofing, so I formed them into boules but they are baking weird. Like the bottoms have kind of blown out because of the weak crease but they aren't terrible.  We'll see how they come out.  Any idea why my baguettes flattened out while proofing? not enough gluten structure, or too much hydration?


Edit: Nevermind, I found a thread that answered this.  I just need to proof them inside of a tablecloth so they don't spread