The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from the Great White North

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Neoloaf's picture
Neoloaf

Hello from the Great White North

Hello all,

Just found the  site and am poking around. Am still very much a novice. Looking for ideas, recipes and help with a few questions. Will look around before asking, as it may already be out there. Uh, what else? I'm a stay-at-home dad with two boys, ages 6 and 3. Recently got a KitchenAid mixer and it has sparked renewed interest in baking bread. Had some successes, some failures. Cheers! 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Welcome to the site neoloaf. The search feature works well here. Use short terms and start with the bread type or subject. Look forward to seeing your breads.

Eric

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

Welcome aboard.  Bread baking can be a lot of fun and you can get the boys invloved. It's a great opportunity for them to learn some math and eat their "homework".

Cheers

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

Dear newcomer,

Welcome!

Here are some tips to using The Fresh Loaf:

1)  Practice, practice, and practice some more.  Then tell us about your successes and failures.  Readers often want to know your recipe, techniques, oven temps and the like.  Don't be surprised to be asked.

2.)  Read TFL often.  You'll pick up stuff along the way by osmosis.

3.)  Watch all the videos as soon as possible.  Then you'll find yourself going back to them to watch the choreography again.

4.)  When you have a question, use the search function first.  You'll find your question's probably been asked before.  The more answers you read thoroughly, the more you'll learn.

5.)  Consider buying a text book on bread baking rather than bread cookbooks.  I recommend DiMuzio's Bread Baking for beginners because it's short, thorough, cheap, and often available used at Alibris or Powells Books.  Texts teach you from the ground up.  Cookbooks have no such obligation.  I wasted a lot of time throwing my knowledge together without the kind of overview that texts offer.

6.)  Because so much of bread baking is hands-on, find a course or local mentor you can work with.  You can post a note at TFL saying that you are looking for someone local to you without whom you could learn some things.

Have fun!

Neoloaf's picture
Neoloaf

Thanks for the welcome. I just completed Sandwich Bread 6.0 yesterday and am not thrilled with the results. I have been scanning through the site and am pleased with the "grease" recipe for keeping the bread from sticking. Worked great! But my sandwich loaves are still falling when baking. From info and advice around the site, I will try a few new things on version 7.0. Will let you know how it goes.

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

Do they fall in the oven, or after you remove them? Might just be undercooked.

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

My loaves fall when I over proof them.  Any chance that's happening to you?

Neoloaf's picture
Neoloaf

By proof, do you mean on the second rise, once they're in the loaf pan? If so, yes, sometimes they do. I've been keeping a closer eye on them lately and not letting them get so large (more than double). My next theory is that my oven (where I proof them with a pizza stone) is too warm. I think the yeast is going nuts and creating too much CO2 too fast. Just a theory. Like I said, I'm a novice just trying to sort all this stuff out. For the record, I have been doing the second rise with a sheet of Saran Wrap lightly sprayed with canola oil on top. Don't know if any of this helps.

 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

You will hear a lot of terms that eventually become second nature and they will eventually become second nature to you.  The search box doesn't get overheated with use and I know because mine has been very well used! I wish they built cars as tough!

A few basic terms:

Ferment/fermentation/bulk fermentation/bulk rise-all terms used (there are a few more ) for the initial rise after the dough is mixed. Often it is described  to "rise til double". That is the bulk rise/initial fermentation and really is where a lot of flavor is developed. This is when the yeasts are at their most active.

Shaped/rounded/panned-a little more obvious (except maybe the rounded).All are used interchangeably.

Then there is autolyse,sponge, soaker,poolish,biga,retard/retarded/cold retard, bench rest, preferment, levain/sourdough,chef/motherdough, old dough/altus. All good candidates for the search box and initial confusion. Interesting how terms are different and yet the same over the whole world! The human experience here is incredible.

Back to terms:

Proofed/final rise- This is the final rise after the bread is shaped or shaped and panned right before the bake. It is a critical time that affects the final crumb and crust of the loaf. The dough is "proven" good to bake.

Underproofed/under risen-loaf not risen to full potential and may be dense (a brick or french toast if its not too bad).

Overproofed/over risen-a loaf that is allowed to rise too much-often collapses when slashed or handled before baking or when it hits the oven heat or even after baking. Again, it can be a brick or partially edible. I believe that is what is happening to your lovely loaves. They really look lovely except for being over-risen and collapesed in the middle.

Take a look at this:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/26938/how-tell-when-final-proof-done-ready-oven#comment-201618

I explained how to do the finger poke test to tell if a loaf is proofed and what it means. Also enter "finger poke" into the search box.

Remember bread is a matrix of gel (starch) and netting (gluten strands) and substances (yeast) that will create gas bubbles (CO2) to be trapped by this matrix. All the other ingredients have a role in feeding/controlling the yeast, trapping the bubbles or creating texture and flavor. Seems simple but it is incredibly complex-and fun! So keep working on 1 recipe so you can enjoy it and then expand. Keep notes and find flavors and textures you and the boys like. Get familiar with how the different ingredients behave increating either texture or flavor.

Have delicious fun!!

Neoloaf's picture
Neoloaf

Thanks!

I will use the finger poke test on version 7.0. Makes sense.

Neoloaf's picture
Neoloaf

Okay, thanks again for all the input. I give you My Bread, version 7.0:

 

 After second rise.

The finished product!

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I bet they tasted great,too! Keep having fun!