The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Problems with making Artisan Bread

Lynne Kovan's picture
Lynne Kovan

Problems with making Artisan Bread


I've just started making Artisan bread, following the recipes in Judith Fertig's book 200 Fast and Easy Artisan Breads. I recently moved from the UK to Canada, and am finding the flour here quite different. The book advises using less flour to achieve a soft, sticky dough than can be beaten with a Danish dough whisk.  Ummm, not easy to beat 40 times as advised, because it's quite firm, although very sticky.

I find the mixture very soft to form into loaves once risen, and, although the finished loaf tastes delicious, I'm sure they are meant to be lighter in texture than I have achieved so far.

Also, you are supposed to slide the finally risen loaf from a three sided baking sheet onto a pre-heated bread stone. Cornmeal underneath the loaf should enable a smooth transfer.  I don't think so! I cannot seem to do this easily and end up with a very odd shape that has been half dragged, half scooped onto the wretched baking stone!  help! Any advice would be gratefully received. Thanks.


linder's picture


Try putting parchment paper down on your peel or baking sheet and then sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina = then place the risen loaf on that -  The parchment and all can go into the oven - If you are afraid the parchment might burn, take it out from under the loaf after about 15-20 minutes and let the loaf cook the rest of the time on the stone.

Happy Baking


jemar's picture

Yes, that is exactly what I do, couldn't do it without parchment paper!  I don't bother with the cornmeal/semolina any more, the parchment comes away quite easily I find.

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

change methods to another book.

EvaB's picture

I know the flour is much different to the flours in the UK, and I find that mine is drier than most flours. I live in the Northeast of BC, and my humidity is kept much lower than most peoples, I have difficulties breathing if the humidity goes over 65%, so my house is kept between 50-65% as much as I can. As a result the flour and other ingredients are drier simply because there is no extra humidity.

I have problems getting the bread dough to raise properly, probably again due to humidity, and heat, its not exactly warm in my house even though it is 74F (around 23C) my new furnace runs all the time and circulates the air which makes it nicer for sitting in, but cooler for raisng dough as there is no warm spots. I found that using my electric on the counter turkey roaster for a prooving spot (have to fiddle with it to get it cool enough) works ok, so will be trying dough again. At least I got half way decent bread instead of my usual bricks.

I find the more hydrated doughs are a lot harder to deal with, but the solutions given are good ones, I also use Scottish oats, (chopped in chunks rather than rolled) as a great slip thing over the cornmeal, the cornmeal can be awfully gritty.