The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first loaves of bread

ieaston's picture
ieaston

My first loaves of bread

I have baked my very first loaves of bread today....a pain au levain and san francisco sourdough bread from Peter Reinhart's Artisan breads every day.

The crust is nice but dissapointed that the crumb is not as open as I would have liked. I suppose that will come with more experience. The crumb of the pain au levain looks a little bit better, but they both taste very good. Any advise on how to obtain the desired open crumb?

 

Comments

wassisname's picture
wassisname

As many things as you got right with these loaves, I don't think you have much to worry about (wish my first bread had looked this good!).   The crumb will come. 

Marcus

varda's picture
varda

the same thing as Marcus.   You did a great job.   -Varda

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Marcus, those are excellent first bakes.  They'd be excellent 30th bakes.

The SF Sourdough crumb looks very much like every Reinhart SF Sourdough crumb I've seen.  That bread does not have big holes.  It looks very nicely fermented and very nicely baked.

I haven't m,ade Reinhart's Pain au Levain, but it also looks pretty good.  The lack of big holes could be due its being a tad underproofed or over-handled.

Great start and welcome to Fresh Loaf!

Glenn

holds99's picture
holds99

Let me begin by saying your breads looks fine to me. I'm curious as to your percentage of dough hydration, and if you did any stretch and folds. As a general rule the lower the hydration, the tighter the crumb. Conversely, the higher the hydration (to a point) the more open the crumb, that's assuming the gluten gets developed/alligned properly via kneading, stretch and fold or Hamelman's scrape and fold in the bowl method, and there's Bertnet's very effective slap and fold method. Each of these methods serve the same purpose---gluten development. If you've made ciabatta, which is a high hydration dough mixed on high speed for a short period of time, you know that it produces large holes in the crumb.  In fact, it was a few years back, after I made my first ciabatta loaves, that I was able to connect the dots between the hydration level and the openness of the crumb.

As Andy said, it could also be a result of overhandling and/or degasing to dough too much.

Howard

ieaston's picture
ieaston

Thanks so much to all for your advise. I thought that it might be because I handled the dough too roughly when I was shaping it and I did degas it as per the Hamelman video on shaping on KAF website. I could tell that I was too rough because the dough did rip a little on the surface which I then tried to fix by shaping it more.  

It could also have been underproofed. I proofed it for almost 3 hours but the temperature in the house was about 19-20 degrees Celsius(66 Fahrenheit).

I mixed it for about 2 minutes on low speed and then let it sit for 10 minutes and then mixed it again for 4 minutes on medium low speed and then did about 5 or 6 slap and folds before I placed it in the fridge overnight.

Thanks to everyone's comments and advise on this blog which I have been reading for a couple of months, I am actaully very pleased with my first bake.

holds99's picture
holds99

Don't know if you use the "fingerpoke" test, but if not you might consider trying it.  It will help you know when your dough is at, or close to, the peak of it's final rise in the baneton(s), couche, pans, etc.  Just dip your index finger into your flour source and poke a half inch indentation somewhere in the middle/top of the dough. If the dough, where you made the indentation, springs back quickly it needs more time (it's underproofed).  However, it the dough in the indentation comes back very slowly then it's ready for turning out, scoring and putting into the oven.  Re: under-proofing and over-proofing.  Underproofing can result in the sides spliting and developing cracks during oven spring (first 10-12 minute of the baking cycle).  Over-proofing can cause the loaf to start falling as soon you score it, and/or put it into the oven, or sooner.  

Best of luck with your baking endeavors,

Howard

ieaston's picture
ieaston

Wow...I will definitely try that with my next loaf. Thanks Howard.

There was a crack in both loafes so I think that I definitely underproofed.

It is amazing how much I learn from this site. :-)

ieaston's picture
ieaston

I think I will try a ciabatta next.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I'd suggest repeating this bread before you try the most open of crumbs bread. Make a change in your handling and see the difference it can make. Improvements in your skills are as important as anything at this stage. Great first bake!

Eric

ieaston's picture
ieaston

Thanks for the advise, Eric. I will stick with this recipe for a while and try to improve. I still have dough in the fridge so I'll see if I handle it more gently when shaping and proof it longer(and using the fingerpoke test like Howard suggested), if it makes a difference in the final bread.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

And with sourdough, at that?  You may get a lot of envy from first-time bakers but I doubt that you will get much sympathy.

Those are lovely breads!  The trick now will be to get consistently good results from one bake to the next, especially when temperature changes affect your starter's activity level. 

Paul

mwinni3203's picture
mwinni3203

So my starter has gone beautifully through all stages. I'm using Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads book to make the same San Francisco Sourdough. Everything goes well until the final rise in the refrigerator. Nothing rises. Two batches have been thrown out, because nothing happens. I decided to bake the first batch, but it failed. What am I doing wrong. If anybody has some thoughts on what I'm doing wrong, it would be a help.

holds99's picture
holds99

I have a number of Reinhart's books.  Don't know about Reinhart's book Artisan Breads, but below is a link to David Snyder's TFL blog on Reinhart's San Francisco Sourdough Bread from Reinhart's book Crust and Crumb.  Take a look at David's formula and instructions and maybe that will help.  David's photos, formula and instructions should give you a good idea of what to strive for re: the process.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/keyword/sourdough-bread-recipe

Good luck with your baking,

Howard

P.S. Suggestion: Use the search bar at the top left side of the home page to locate formulas and instructions when you encounter a baking problem. 

mwinni3203's picture
mwinni3203

Thanks! I appreciate the help.

Syd's picture
Syd

Lovely looking bread.  Nice shaping.  Good height and lovely open crumb.  Excellent for a first bake!

All the best,

Syd :)