The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

Oops!

Yesterday I baked two sourdough boules; it's become a weekly chore. Sourdough has all but replaced our pre-starter days' bread machine whole wheat or white sandwich loaf dough. Two loaves, with a baguette or two, and occasionally Jewish Rye keeps the two of us well stocked for a week to ten days.


Nice looking loaves, yes?


 


And now, another point of view.


Late pre-heating the oven, worried I was nearing over-proofing the two boules, and although the oven's status display showed it hadn't reached pre-heat temperature yet, I opened the oven door, and was greeted by a waft of very warm air. "Hey, it's close," I told myself. I started steaming, turned out and slashed the boules, and popped them in the oven.  When I reduced the oven temperature, after loading the loaves, the heating element shut off immediately. "Good," I told myself, thinking that proof that the oven had been near pre-heat temperature.


They seemed to be a little sluggish spring, but otherwise, all looked normal. I removed the steam pan after 15 minutes. Ten minutes later I pulled out one loaf to check for doneness; the bottom of the loaf was dough-colored, hardly a hint of browning. I dug out my thermometer, and checked internal temperature: 203°F. Yep, the oven had nearly reached pre-heat temperature; the baking stone had obviously lagged, far, far behind :-(


Fortunately, it only cost a valuable ego deflate. The bread has it's usual tastiness, and chewy crumb. I try the ignore the bottom crusts softness, and locally bland flavor. Of course, I haven't looked at it since I'd taken its picture.


David G.

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Oops!  The oven stones need pre-heating time for nearly an hour in my oven to heat up to the oven set temperature.  My stones are nearly 1/2 thick.  The oven may have read up to temperature but the stones were not 'pre-heated' near the set temperature of the oven causing the bread bottoms to be unbrowned and it probably greatly affectly your oven spring.  I even have to let my stones regain a little pre-heating time inbetween making pizza's  on my stones.  Where the last pizza set it has cooled the stone enough to effect the next one going into the oven.  Maybe next time put the loaves in the refrigerator to slow down the proofing until the oven stones are ready.


Sylvia

davidg618's picture
davidg618

for your wanting to help me. Not to diminish what you wrote, I know it. I normally pre-heat my oven and stone for at least 1 hour. I know my oven and stone's nuances well, and, when I'm attentive, I work at refining that knowing.


I was guilty of "this is just routine" inattention, and convinced myself it was OK to go ahead, and cheat. At that moment I rationalized the stone was probably heated enough also: the "wishing it, makes it so" philosophy.


I wrote it up thinking other's--I've seem some posting questioning the need for thorough preheating--and thought this goof might be a lesson to more than just myself.


Regards,


David G


P.S. And I just had the thought perhaps you added the "how-to" details  in the same vein of helping others along with helping me.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I kept saying to myself 'I know David knows this' :o)  ... and then after writing it and running around doing multi-tasking, cooking and baking, getting ready to charcoal up some steaks too in the wfo..I decided well..maybe someone will read it that it will help ... If you lived next door I could have fixed your bread real quick...I have a hot stone floor all ready and it would turn those bottoms brown and crusty in a few minutes : ) Now this is hot..when it reads HI that means it's over 900F


                                                                     Now that's one hot oven 


                  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm calling the crust police!    Do they have the same # as the sourdough police?


How come you didn't pop them back in upside down?  A cooling rack between the stone and the loaves perhaps.  Might keep you from getting "busted."


The tops look good, can you stick the bottoms together?


 

davidg618's picture
davidg618

You made my day. Both Yvonne and I had a wonderful laugh over your reply.


David G

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


On the other hand, it's better to just make sure your stone is adequately pre-heated, as you've discovered.


David

davidg618's picture
davidg618

but I have a friendly neighbor just down the street that does acetylene gas welding. That would work...


in about six seconds.


David G

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

(A toast.)


Sorry. I couldn't help it. ;-)


David

hutchndi's picture
hutchndi

That's right, throw them out the window. Why not, you apparently can afford it if you are preheating your oven for an hour each time you bake bread, and all you have to be concerned about is the paleness of your bottom crust. I use 1/4"quarry tiles from the local hardware store that cost a few cents apiece, and they are good and hot when my oven is done preheating, I don't have to preheat any extra time to get them hot. And you certainly don't need to be steaming for 15 minutes, which is another reason your loaves are pale. Anybody who tells you you need to heat up 1/2" of stone for "mass" or whatever and steam for a third of the time to bake two loaves of bread is full of hooey. While you have the window open throw your wallet out too, maybe one of us poor folks might find it useful to help pay for those high utility bills brought on by certain energy hogs.


Sorry for the rant. Your loaves look really great, though a little pale, bottom crust aside. I actually remember reading some article by reinhart or one of those guys years ago recommending an hour preheat, cant remember who. Total crap.

SteveB's picture
SteveB


Sorry for the rant.



This nice thing about a written rant is that if you are truly sorry about it, you can always go back and delete it before it is posted.


 


SteveB


www.breadcetera.com 

hutchndi's picture
hutchndi

Another nice thing about these forums is that the poor guy could actually get some good advice here, rather than people just telling the guy he needs to preheat LONGER.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and don't preheat!  You won't have to waste anything on heating rocks.


The top color is wonderful!  There is a bright light on the bread which does a lot of reflecting off the surface.  That must be what you're seeing.

hutchndi's picture
hutchndi

 And glare from my overly energy hungry new computer monitor ;) Went the cold oven route for a bit mini, was never really happy with the results, not for free form loaves anyway, otherwise I would be singing praises to that too. If you have a method of zero preheat that produces results you are truly happy with, I am ready to learn, seriously! I also used to have more tiles and preheated for a whole hour, so been there done that, and found no benefit to it over using the thinner quarry tiles with normal oven preheat, nor so with succesive bakes. David makes beautiful bread, and can continue doing so wasting less energy is all.


The physics lesson is a wonderful example of sinking your own boat by overloading it with life preservers. In a wood fired oven, which so many artisan bakers try to emulate at home, the huge mass is indeed going to hold heat for quite some time, and it needs to because the heat source is no longer present, as opposed to your home oven, which is presumedly left on.

008cats's picture
008cats

Quick to heat up, quick to chill out.


That's my recommendation.

008cats's picture
008cats

Sorry, my recommendation was actually directed towards what I perceived to be high tempers.


But I do set my crust by turning off the oven and bringing the door ajar for 5 minutes at end of bake. Stone keeps bread warm, crust contracts and crackles. This emulates the effect I used to get by pulling cast iron out of oven, lid off but bread in situ.

hutchndi's picture
hutchndi

Never tried that cats, how does it affect the crust at eating time? Is this to keep the bake going a bit longer and at the same time avoid crust burning at the previous high temp?

008cats's picture
008cats

Burning isn't USUALLY a problem (altho I did have to throw some aluminum foil over the loaf I had in the oven this morning!)


I started letting the crust "set" as I described on advise from the Wild Yeast blog. I always use lots of steam because my gas stove vents like crazy. The bread would turn crisp, but (for me) there was too much softness right underneath the crust's shell - sorta like a just slightly under-inflated beach ball.


Crusts are 66% of the appeal of bread for me, so I began to set the crust by removing the heat source at the end of the bake and venting all residual moisture by cracking the oven door for 5 mins before transferring to rack. This seemed to harden it off, and I get a lot of that crackling of the crust which I understand is from the cooling/contracting of the outside of the loaf. This gives me a crust that is firm (no more sad beach ball), but still crisp enough to crunch nicely without poking you in the mouth or gum as you chew.

saltandserenity's picture
saltandserenity

Thanks for showing us your less than perfect bottom (crust!!).  Mistakes are how we learn and you are generous to share your less than perfect work.