The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Toronto

Mira's picture

Hello from Toronto

Hello from Toronto!

I'm very happy to have found this wonderful site! The depth and sharing of knowledge here is impressive and your photos are inspiring!

I'm a REAL newby to baking; just started experimenting with pastry 6 months ago and after a recent trip to San Francisco I've developed the urge to bake my own sourdough bread, Toronto style;)  Bread is my favourite food, after all!  It's time to learn how to bake it.

I'm far away from my end goal of baking great artisanal bread but I'm excited about learning.  My first and only attempt thus far was a simple white loaf made with commercial yeast.  I thought making pastry was more fun...until the dough responded to my kneading and I "got" it, I caught the bread making bug.  (Btw what's all the internet fuss about no-knead bread...isn't that part of the fun?)

I found this wonderful site through my internet googlings on how to make a starter.  Read Debra Wink's fascinating letter about her experiments with pineapple juice. Bought Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day" and, following his instructions, I'm on Day 2 of making my first ever seed culture:) 

Quick question: how important is it to measure ingredients with a scale?  I'm rigorous about this when making my pastry and wondering if it's just as critical in the art of breadmaking.

Looking forward to making new friends,


breadinquito's picture

To wellcome're right: this is a great sight, and know why? No matter of the years of experience or the skills one belongs, you can be sure that always someone is always ready to give you a tip, a link or to share his experience...I always say world isn't so big, after sister in law lives over there with their sons and husband and all my kids already visited your, to me it's a bit more familiar...Feel confident to ask about any doubt you might have...perhaps won't be able to aswer, but I'll try it. Happy baking from quito, ecuador. Paolo

Ford's picture

I find the scale most helpful, fast, and reproducible.

For example: many recipes are writen without telling how the author measured the flour.  The excepted way of measuring flour by the cup is to spoon the flour into the cup and level it off with a straight edge.  This will give you about 4 1/4 ounces per cup for bread flour or all purpose flour.  If you scoop it out of the bag and shake it down it will probably give you about 5 ounces.

You will find the thermometer also useful for determining when the loaf is done, when the milk has come to scalding temperature, and when the milk has cooled to mixing temperature, etc.

Welcome and have fun.  BTW, I like to hand knead also.  I work out a lot of frustrations by beating the h--- out of the dough!


jackie9999's picture

Welcome! I'm about an hour north of you in Aurora...nice to see a neighbor here :)

I use my scale religiously...I measure to the gram more, no less. If you don't you won't be sure if that amazing loaf you just made was a fluke. If ingredients are bang on every time, then if there are any problems with a loaf you can be sure it wasn't because you used too much of this..or too little of that. Just my 2cents...

Candango's picture

Welcome, Mira.  I am several hundred miles to the South, in Virginia, but close enough through the internet.  Re your question on measuring on a scale, I am a relatively recent convert.  Why?  Getting a recipe right the first time.  I have seen recipes written in volume measures (cups and Tablespoons, teaspoons) and now in both volume and weight.  When following one recipe, I used the volume measures and then weighed the results.  Oops, they were on the light side, and the flour came out light by 100 grams (3 ozs) for the recipe.  Why?  I am used to spooning the flour into the measuring cup and then leveling it off with a knife.  An e-mail to the book's author brought ba response that she plunged the cup measure into the bin (compressing the flour) and then leveling it.  That explained the difference.  Weighing is a lot faster.  Especially as most scales today can zero out the tare weight (of the bowl, of the bowl plus the flour, etc) and let you quickly measure the next ingredient in the same bowl.   This way, if you are not in love with the results and want to make changes, you can quickly modify proportions.

Again.  Welcome, and have fun.


Mira's picture

Hola Paolo in Ecuador! Hello to Ford, my neighbour Jackie, and Bob in Virginia! 

Thanks for confirming the importance of using a scale and thermometer.  I didn't weight my seed culture and I'm hoping to see some bubbles by tomorrow evening:)


rsherr's picture

Hi Mira,

I'm in Nova Scotia but I just wanted to let you know there's a wonderful French style flour (T65) milled in Montreal and available in Canada now and probably available in your area.  You can check it out at

Look at their unbleached whole white. Great for making French baguettes, etc.

Good luck,








CanuckJim's picture

Welcome to the Forum.  I'd have to add my praise to La Milanese flours; they're very, very good.  If you want to bake consistent breads, measuring by weight rather than volume is a must.

We're located on the Oak Ridges Moraine, to the north and east of Toronto.  All our baking is done in a wood fired, Alan Scott design, brick oven.


Mira's picture

Hello Richard and CJ,

Thank you for both of your suggestions to ty La Milannaise flour.  I have never heard of this brand but will check out their website.

hanseata's picture

Hi, Mira,

Welcome to this community of super-intelligent, super-knowlegeable baking nerds!

I want to add my share of baking nerdness by confirming the absolute necessity of measuring with a scale. For my semi-commercial baking I use organic flours from a wholesaler and I measured the weight of 1 cup of each of these flours (spooned and levelled), then compared the amounts with Peter Reinharts volume-gram conversions and those in Cooks Illustrated magazine. Cooks Illustrated ones were different from Peter Reinhart's and both were way off from my flour volumes, by more than 20 g. That really makes a big difference!

As European I'm used to measuring everything with a scale, anyway - and I am also happy that most serious bakers measure in grams (and not in measures hailing from Ye Olde Stage Coach Times!)



Mira's picture

Hi Karin,

Thanks for your reply. I didn't weight the flour for my seed culture but intend to weigh from here on end.

Oh, I haveturned into a super baking geek: I just came home on a Friday night and am obsessively checking the looks of my seed culture...and am just about to post a question on here:)

We measure in grams, but I gotta tell yeah, I'mbetter at visualizing ounces:)