The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I need commiseration.

HeidiH's picture

I need commiseration.

You know that feeling when you dumped too much of one thing in and then you dumped in another to try and balance it and during the rising/proofing you think you are probably making a brick but you won't know for a few hours until the process is complete and the bread is cool before you know if it's at all edible or whether you are headed to the pond to feed the geese hoping they don't sink from eating your brick?  You know that feeling?  Me, too.  I have it now.    Will I have two bricks or two edible loaves of honey whole wheat oat bread.  Only time will tell.

jaywillie's picture

In the 1980s Nathalie Dupree had a cooking show on PBS, and during an episode when she was making pie crust, she commented about how bakers tend to stress over failures. She said that the cost of ingredients was pretty small (flour was probably cheaper back then!), and even if the baking was a failure, you still learned something and you should just move forward and try again. I've always thought that sentiment makes lots of sense. So figure out what you learned!


tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

that our pigs wouldnt eat for days until the finally softened up! So if the geese will eat it you must be doing ok!

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

...but end up with four loaves instead of two (or two GIGANTIC ones).

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

I do have my problems and mistakes.  People talking to me while I'm scaling ingredients. phones ringing or the big problem, being born a blond...  My last failure was a batch of 6 braid Challah.  The wood fired oven was a bit hot and I mis-timed my first peek so it came out overly dark....okay...a bit burnt.

My dog looks forward to my mistakes, he prefers them over his dog biscuits.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

could be a winning recipe!  :)

Janetcook's picture

Janetcook's picture


I haven't been baking long - maybe a couple of years now and a little over a year with sourdoughs.  When I started every failure felt huge but, surprisingly, everyone loved my failures!!!  Even the burnt one!

Like others have said, using them as learning tools is the best way to learn in my book.  Recently I had a run on loaves with really thick and hard crusts like I have never seen before.  I was bewildered until I began to look at what they all had in common (some were lean loaves and others were enriched loaves).  The common element in all was the addition of non diastatic malt powder....I had read somewhere that it is a good 'natural' sweetener for bread because it tends not to compete with the yeast for water - so I was giving it a try.  Long story short, it was the culprit and now I really know how the stuff behaves due to my crash course...Another comment is that despite the hard crusts - people still loved the bread....

Another thought....Since finding this site my loaves have improved tremendously and my daughter has been dismayed several times when I have tried to bake some of her old favourites.....they are ones that I used to consider failures but she loved the texture and now I can't remember how I did them - despite my notes....think I probably didn't develop the dough enough when kneading but I am still baffled....

Take Care,


dabrownman's picture

at proof, what the dough looks and feels like when it passes the poke test if it is going to be a brick or not.  But, that doesn't help with the smell and taste much.  This is the main reason to have a very good apprentice with an big nose who will eat anything.

I'm betting 85% nice bread and only a 15% chance of a bad one depening on how good the floor mat really is :-)

heavyhanded's picture

oh the feeling when you do get it right! when the loaves rise (this was a big problem for me!) and the crust is lovely and the insides are moist...

I am working on a nice crusty French loaf, something I miss now that I live in KY, and I live in the dream of getting it right, so my current production of hard-crust-yet-not-quite-flaky-enough is simply a step in the right direction, yes? So I will eat my failures with a really nice local ham (the best part of baking mistakes) and re-watch the baguette shaping videos!