The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New to breadmaking a few simple questions

danmerk's picture

New to breadmaking a few simple questions

Welcome me. I stumbled across this site and I am amazed that I found this. Tons of great info here. Thanks!

 Ok, my questions. 

1. Do I need to buy a couche or something like this to get more height to my French Baguettes? Most of my baguettes are rising well, but they seem a bit flatter than normal.

2. I use a mizture of 1/4 wheat flour and 3/4 bread flour and have been hacing good results. How does one use all wheat? Its always a brick.

3. I am also a homebrewer. I use all grains to make beer. I began making a few loaves using spent beer grains. Does anyone have any recipes for this?

4. I am currently using King Aruther's Whole Wheat and Unbleached White Bread flours. My bread tastes like just "bread" but if I go to an artisan bakery, they sell breads with amazing flavor and the ingredients are just bread flour water salt and yeast. What flours are better? (I also own a Corona flour mill, so I can make my own?)



SourdoLady's picture

Welcome! You have a lot of good things available to you to aid in making great bread. Now all you need is some practice.

1. You don't necessarily need a couche. A lot of the height comes from proper surface tension when shaping and oven spring which results from proper dough development. Of course, these two factors are something that comes with practice.

2. All wheat will always be heavier than a mix. It does help to do a biga with your whole wheat to soften the bran particles. The addition of some fat or egg to the dough will also help.

3. I do have a recipe in one of my books using spent grains. I'll see if I can't find it and post it for you.

4. The amazing flavor that you are seeking comes from fermentation. This is achieved by the use of a biga which is mixed the day before or by retarding your dough in the fridge overnight or longer before baking it. This allows the flours to ferment and make that wonderful flavor. Also, sourdoughs have amazing flavor and contrary to many people's beliefs, they are not always sour tasting. I have a recipe posted on my blog to make your own wild yeast sourdough starter, if you are interested in sourdough.

Sophia-Rose's picture

Has anyone tried to make Jim Lahey's no knead bread?  It has a wonderful crumb - large, irregular holes.  I read about it in the November 8, 2006 NY Times.  There is a 5 minute video showing how to make the bread and the recipe is included.



Floydm's picture

Not to be a smart aleck, but has anyone not tried to make Jim Lahey's no knead bread?

The original thread about it on this site is here. If you do a search on no-knead here, you'll find that the technique has come up many times. People have gotten pretty creative with it, having made sourdough, semolina, rye, and multi-grain versions.

If those aren't enough links, go check out the bread feed. I think I've linked to a couple of hundred different no-knead pieces there. For one reason or another, no-knead really set the blogosphere on fire.

All that said, welcome to the site. Do poke around the forums and use the search, because there is a lot of good stuff here!

junglis's picture

i haven't tried yet, heh.


i'd probably give it a whack if the le creuset coquotte i got for five bucks at some thrift store in france wasn't still in transit via snail mail for the past two years.


SDbaker's picture

My list of recipes to try upon my return to San Diego might require taking more leave!


sadears's picture

I dont' feel bad then.  I haven't tried it either.  I don't think I have an appropriate pot though.  I do need a pot, don't I?  I thought I remembered reading that somewhere.



Floydm's picture

To follow the technique down to the letter, yes, you need a French oven or something similar. But people have improvised a lot though, such as using a glass or stainless steel bowl turned upside down. And if you didn't have means of doing that, you could use the no-knead fermentation and rising technique and bake it with whatever you've got.

tigressbakes's picture

Hi Sophia-Rose,

I just asked about this recently, you can go to

this forum and you'll find some good info there - and a download for the recipe from the NYT. 

tigressbakes's picture