The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Loaf size - Baking mini loaves?

printemps2014's picture

Loaf size - Baking mini loaves?

I have been baking bread for about a year now, and usually only do 1 lb round boules in my la cloche baker. I am planning on some baking later, and just realized that I will be seeing some friends that I would like to share the bread with tomorrow and Saturday. My recipe that I've started makes two 1 lb loaves (I normally follow the Tartine recipe, more or less). While I know I could always cut a loaf in two after they've cooled and share a half loaf, I'm afraid that cutting it will cause them to dry out and go stale quickly. I'd rather present my friends with a whole loaf each, but I also want to keep one for me and my husband to eat this weekend.

I've never tried baking .5 lb boules, but this seems like a logical solution to my dilemma. Has anyone tried this? Is it a big no-no for some reason (other than less bread to eat)? If you have, how long to do you bake for? With my 1 lb boules I normally do 25 min with the cover on the cloche, and another 15 to 20 minutes without the cover (all at 450 F). It comes out perfectly cooked on the inside, with a nice crunchy crust. Should I shorten the bake time if the loaf is smaller?

My other thought was to increase the amount of dough I'm preparing later, but then my ratios will be off as the levain I have prepping is measured out for the two 1 lb loaves recipe. Not certain how well it would work out if I upped the flour & water, so that I could do .75 or .8 lb loaves instead of .5 lbs. Thoughts?



Shai's picture

I would just cut it in half and wrap it up, remember that this is half a loaf and therefore will be eaten upffaster, just just wrap the cut in plastic. 

If you prefer giving away whole loafs you can indid make them smaller, bake for slightly shorter time as the bread will heat up faster and increase the temperature in order to form the same crust I'm a shorter time. 

nmygarden's picture

We are just two at home, so I opt to make half-size loaves and often give some away (so I can bake more often!). Same recipes and process, but I steam under cover for 15 minutes, then once I remove it, reduce oven temp by 25-degrees and check frequently while it completes the bake. Once you've done the first, you'll know the timing for any others. And they're so cute!


PaddyL's picture

No, I don't mean a double batch, I mean two loaves made as one, in a roasting pan, and it collapsed on me.  It was a recipe I made all the time and I thought it would rise no matter what, but there was just too much dough.