The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help! My loaves are charred!

thebakerswife's picture
thebakerswife

Help! My loaves are charred!

I've just taken a batch of loaves out of the oven, and they're completely inedible - totally charred on the bottom, even though the tops are only just brown enough. I've cut one of them open and they're just as I want them inside, nicely risen, a few good big holes.


I'm using granite stones resting on the bottom of my oven, and the oven has top and bottom heating.


What am I doing wrong? The loaves look lovely - until you turn them over! Mind you, the smell of burnt bread is a bit of a give away.


 


Thanks for any help/advice.


Alison

alabubba's picture
alabubba

The obvious thing would be to move your stones UP. Try putting them on the bottom rack

thebakerswife's picture
thebakerswife

Yes, you're right, I'm sure. I was just wondering if it was something more complicated than that.

Ambimom's picture
Ambimom

A few weeks ago I had to replace my oven and discovered a few things in the search for a new one.  First, never put anything directly onto the oven floor (that includes alumnimum foil).  Apparently when you do, the oven's thermostat is thrown completely off.


If I were you, I'd place a rack on the bottom rung and put the stones on that; then I'd move the bread to a higher rack, as well.

thebakerswife's picture
thebakerswife

Very interesting, thank you. I'll try moving the stones up onto a higher rack, and report back.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Quote:
... when you [put anything directly onto the oven floor (that includes alumnimum foil)], the oven's thermostat is thrown completely off.

Hmm, must be time for me to learn another new thing  ...but first, who else has heard (or better yet experienced) this?


(Alternatively, can somebody explain to me how this works?)

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Sounds like your oven is working the bottom element way too much. Where are you putting the bread??? On the granite? Near the top? Whatever it is you are getting way more heat applied to the bottom of the loaf. If you are putting the loaf on the granite, be warned, granite has much higher heat conductivity than a baking stone so will give a darker bottom. If not, experiment. Putting the granite higher will probably help. Moving the bread up will  probably help. Making sure your upper element is working will help.


Something is definitely amiss!


Jay

thebakerswife's picture
thebakerswife

I've had the stones on the oven floor, and the bread directly on the stones. Maybe, like the previous comment said, that plays hell with the thermostat, which might be the problem?


Next time I'll move the stones up, and bake the bread on them. I obviously need to experiment.


I'll report back. 

rayel's picture
rayel

but my understanding is the upper element works only durring preheat in conjuction with bottom element. When oven temp is reached, I thought the upper element went off. Am I wrong? Broiling mode, I guess would also involve upper element.  Ray

bnom's picture
bnom

At least that's how traditional electric ovens work...

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Quote:
... my understanding is the upper element works ... during preheat in conjuction with bottom element.

...but only if when you start the oven for preheating, you turn the oven temperature control knob first all the way to the "broil" click then back down to your desired temperatore. And that's not the only time the upper element works; it also works when you explicitly turn the oven temperature control knob clear up to the "broil" click and leave it there (and crack open the oven door:-).


Quote:
... When oven temp is reached, ... upper element went off. ... Am I wrong?

That's certainly how the oven in our house worked when I was growing up forty years ago. I suspect though the operation of "modern" ovens is a lot more variable.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Alison, you may want to consider exchanging your granite for some other stone material, such as thermal stones, or un-treated ceramic tiles (no glaze). granite may contain heavy metals or even radioactive traces that will be volatile at 400F.


Take care and best wishes


khalid

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Alison,


Don't throw the bread out. There's a tool specifically for the purpose; the bread rasp.  Up until after WWII, ovens were not the well controlled even heating appliances we have today.  Charred or burnt crusts were commonplace, and every well equipped kitchen had a bread rasp.


Unfortunately, Nicholson stopped making them in 1966 or '67, when Cooper Industries bought them and discovered they were only selling about a dozen a year.


They are fairly easy to find at used tool dealers where they are commonly mistaken for woodworking tools.


Have some fun looking for one; then you can say you never serve a burnt loaf. ;)


cheers,


gary

alabubba's picture
alabubba

Could you not use a microplane? or box grater for that mater? Seems like the same idea. Grind away the burnt part and eat the rest. Sort of like scraping your toast.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

A coarse microplane should work just fine. 


As a classic wood working hobbyist, and as a Unix/Linux type of guy, I am a firm believer that a tool should do one thing and do it very well. That would explain why I have nearly 30 planes and am still looking for a set of rounds and hollows. They're hard to find. :(  Naturally, I run into bread rasps all  the time.


cheers,


gary