Hi, I'm Craig
I'm new to this site but I LOVE making bread! Love it, Love it, Love it!
Last night I made an attempt at a heart shaped loaf of bread, to give to my partner on Valentine's Day: I was up all night cutting out little hearts that I'd stuck in the cooked bread :D
Welcome to TFL.
I lecture in Bakery at Newcastle College!
All good wishes
Oooh Hello new best friend haha
I LOVE cooking and making bread, I also love growing vegetables and herbs :D
Thanks for your message, I look forward to seeing what you have made.
That's a sweet loaf you made. How did you make the impressive, high-relief lettering? I would be interested to see more photos of this bread (if it hasn't been devoured already!).
I, too, spent a good part of yesterday intent on making heart-shaped bread.
(More details here.)
Welcome to The Fresh Loaf, and Cheers from Chicago!
Thank you for your message and for welcoming me to thefreshloaf.com :)
The letters on my wonky shaped heart were simply done by taking a small amount of the dough that I used for the heart (which did look like a heart when it went in to the oven hehe) and rolling it flat, I then simply cut the letters and little heart out and painted on some milk to make the dough letters stick to the dough heart.
Here are some more pictures for you.
I had a look at your heart shaped bagels too and they're great!
I like the interlocking ones too, very clever :)
I like how you've used beetroot to colour the dough too, it looks much nicer than artificial colouring that I've seen.
I'll be uploading whatever bread I make, or any things I discover, so I'll no doubt be speaking to you soon.
Cheers! From England :)
Thank you for posting more photos and sharing your lettering technique.
Bagels! Now that's a nice idea. My hearts were made of challah, but I think they might have been more successful as bagels. I will keep that in mind for a future project.
I don't know the difference between bagel and challah!
Show you how little I know :)
Happy Baking to you too! (last night my partner and I were looking online for a large steel mixing bowl for my birthday hehehe all I want for my birthday is anything to do with baking :) )
Welcome to TFL. I am a UK-based baker. If you haven't found them yet, Amazon sell some decent bowls http://www.amazon.co.uk/s?ie=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=kitchen-uk&field-keywords=Farringdon The 5ltr one is good for dough made from 1kg of flour. The bowls are light, easy to handle and clean - and not to expensive. I use a range of sizes, some for doughs and smaller ones for such baker-type things as a "poolish" (a proportion of the flour and water fermented overnight using small amount of yeast, to give more flavour and character - crust - to the final loaf).
HTH; Happy Baking - I hope your OH appreciated your efforts :)
Thanks for your message, I appreciate that!
They are the bowls we were looking at, and I've said I'd like a 5ltr one.
I've yet to make a "poolish" mix, but I'm suspecting it's the next thing to try.
The thing I'd like to do is get a softer crust, I'm thinking about experimenting with spraying the loaf with water when it's cooking, will that do anything?
I love having all of these experienced people at hand to approach if I get a bit stuck! :)
My partner REALLY appreciated my present to her :) and everyone she told thought it was an amazing thing for someone to do - so being broke ass poor seemed to come in handy in this instance :)
(women seem to appreciate different things to men, I was happy that she made me a steak, she was over the moon that I sat up for hours cutting hearts out for her!?)
Thanks again for your message, keep in touch :)
Although I mentioned a poolish, and they are not too difficult to do, I would suggest you stay to basic yeasted breads whilst you learn the techniques. Flour, water, yeast and salt are all we need to make a basic dough and white bread flour tends to produce the dough that rises better the wholewheat flour. There is a link to some lessons at the top of the page and there are some interesting ways to develop gluten other than the traditional kneading method. Richard Bertinet is an exponent of a slap and fold technique that works well when the dough has a water content which, by weight, is between 60% and 75% of the weight of the flour (it can get a bit messy above 75% :) ). Have a look at this video http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/video/2010/jul/20/how-to-cook-bread however, the journalist couldn't have paid too much attention to Richard Bertinet because Richard gets very upset when somebody says "Cook" rather than "bake" when referring to making bread!
As for spraying your loaves with water, Daisy_a is quite correct, the addition of water (which quickly becomes steam) helps with crust formation but it is also very useful in that, if added at the beginning of the bake, it keeps the exposed areas of the dough moist long enough for the bread to rise properly before the crust starts to set.
There are several ways to help keep the crust soft but a lot of people on this forum aim for an Artisan style bread with a good crust formation. It is possible to make soft white rolls etc by baking them at a slightly lower temperature than for Artisan style breads (e.g. 375° °F, 190° C) and again, Daisy_a has given you one way to soften the crust. Personally, when I bake bread at higher temperatures (e.g. 450°F, 225°C) I wrap the bread tightly in a couple of tea towels as soon as I take it from the oven and leave it to cool in the towels.
I hope you enjoy TFL, and your baking, there are lots of experienced bakers who are happy to share their knowledge with you and we are even trying to arrange a UK-based course for TFL users and other interested bakers. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21993/uk-based-baking-course .
Welcome from another UK baker.
Heart loaf seems like a labour of love! Looks like it was well received, then.
If you spray the loaves with water when putting them into the oven this is more likely to make the crusts crispier rather than softer.
You can soften the crust if required by brushing with a little melted butter when the loaves come out of the oven. Helpful to have a small brush to do this as loaves will still be very hot at this point. Butter can help bring out crust colour also in some cases.
Wishing you continued happy baking, Daisy_A
This has to be the friendliest site I've ever been on!
It must be something about "bread-heads" haha
Thank you for my welcome, and for your advice, I'm surprised to hear spraying water would make the bread crispier, what do you do if you want to make soft bread buns or something like a nice soft bloomer?
My last loaf consisted of dried yeast, normal plain flour, 2 eggs, milk, sugar and salt- it worked very well (actually, yes it was the "Love Loaf!" haha which is still nice being toasted - and "Chris(tine)" my partner thought I was a "contender for most romantic boyfriend in the world" haha
Butter you say????? hmmmmm the plot thickens :)
What would your say your "forte" would be?
Thanks again :D
Glad you have found the forum friendly and that the 'love loaf' was so well received!
I would not say I have a forte but thanks for asking - am still practising!
I do have a preference though, which is to bake with natural yeasts, including flour and water sourdough starter, raisin water yeast RWY), and a combination of the two - sourdough maintained with RWY as the liquid.
With these I have done lean sourdoughs (the flour, water, yeast salt only type that Ruralidle refers to) and enriched breads with oil, eggs, butter, milk. I have baked both sweet and savoury doughs using these yeasts.
You've probably found that a lot of bakers here have blogs. I have a blog on
which gives more details if you are interested!
Re softer traditional breads - there is a recipe for lighter crusted Scotch baps on this link:
Wishing you the very best with your own baking journey! Daisy_A
I've never heard of RWY, I'll look in to that.
My bread making is coming along in leaps and bounds, and I'm so excited about it :)
I don't know why, but I think there's something magical about it.
Thank you for your kind and informative message.