The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Overnight Country Brown

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Overnight Country Brown

I decided to bake an Overnight Country Brown bread, out of Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt & Yeast book.

During the bulk fermentation, I placed my 12-quart Cambro container in the stove, door slightly ajar and light on.

Note to self and others: When using the oven as a proofing box, put a sticky note on whatever button or dial is needed to turn the stove on, that says "Remove contents before using!".

Unfortunately, during the bulk rise, my wife started to pre-heat the oven.  I did not notice until I saw the oven temperature at 200 or 220 degrees F.  I rushed to the oven, and pulled out my cambro container, which was melted at the top.  The dough was slightly cooked, or at least looked overly dry, along one side of the container.

Rather than throw it all out, I scooped out a lot of the dough, leaving over a lot along the edge, and transferred it to a 6 quart container where I let it continue the bulk fermentation.

I divided and preshaped the dough before deciding that I would make just a single loaf. So I put the slack second "boule" on top of the first and let it rest for 20 minutes before making a larger boule.

The dough was definitely not in an ideal state, but it came out really really good.  It tastes great too. Definitely has a tang to it, and it is very moist.

Here is a phone flash photo of the crumb:

Without the flash:


I wound up baking this loaf after a much shorter fermentation/proofing period than I had intended, but have to say that I am very pleased with the result.




Mebake's picture

Ooh, that was close! I can't imagine myself scrubbing charred plastic off the oven floor, let alone the cloud of toxic smoke. But, you've redeemed yourself; the loaf does look good.

Thanks for sharing this,


David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I really am lucky because cleaning up the plastic from the stove would have been a nightmare. As it is, I was able to discard the bucket without even bothering to clean it. I will snap a picture of it today or tomorrow as it is sitting in the recycling tub at the moment.

The loaf is really quite tasty. I just had a peanut butter sandwich on it. If I did not know better I would have said it was a rye bread along the lines of the Arnold's Jewish Rye that they sell here in the states (minus the caraway).  And that may or may not tell you that I have no idea how to describe the taste of bread since there is no rye in the formula.

Kiseger's picture

just shows what talent can achieve, I would probably have painted the kitchen with the dough out of frustration!!  Looks great, love the cracked seams.  Well done!  Impressive!  

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I was indeed very frustrated and I had no idea if the bread would still bake, which is why I redoubled my efforts and made a poolish for the 50% whole wheat loaves immediately thereafter.  I would not be defeated!

dabrownman's picture

to country brown with the preheat in the oven:-) Doesn't look like it made much of a difference to the dough which is probably too stupid to know it was too warm.  Eventually we will have genetically modified Nano LAB and Yeast that will text our Google glasses when they are too much of something.....Nice save and happy baking David.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Someone who sells starter on E-bay for a few bucks a pop, wrote the following:

I ordered what I need to get the computer (hopefully) up and running.

I also saw an e-bay listing for the sale of a sourdough starter.  The description of the item contains the following:


NOTE:  hang a red scarf on the oven and tell everyone that your baby is in there (don't put a real baby in the oven, you will go to jail and it makes them taste funny) Learned this the hard way, not the real baby taste thing sheesh, the sour dough starter in the bowl thing.  Seems my wife forgot and preheated the oven without looking inside, which is normal to do, even though I accused her of trying to destroy my hobby, well, a melted plastic bowl, almost lost my starter along with a big mess in the oven was the result.  What did we learn? Hang a red scarf on the oven handle, although she did it again a few months later and the scarf was in place.  The battle between my wife and I over this hobby is just another story.”

I thought that was a clever way to prevent the problem until I got to the end and saw it happened again.  Myself, I won't put anything in the stove again without a sticky note on the bake button, so that there will be no accidents.  I actually can turn off the ability to turn on the gas with child proofing feature that came with the stove, but when I tried that once before it seemed like I was lucky to get the gas controls to work again and am afraid to try that feature a second time.

squarehead's picture

Good save! 

You are not alone, I nearly killed my mother starter while using my oven as a proofer when I forgot it was in there and started pre-heating. The smell of the melting tupperware caught my attention and I was able to save it. After that little episode I started using a brightly colored green hand towel rolled up to keep the door cracked open. I can control the size of the gap between the oven and door depending on how I roll or fold the towel which adjusts the proofing heat and the towel is easy to see for anyone else who might turn on the oven.

CAphyl's picture

David:  It turned out great despite the crisis events...I love the crust and crumb. It looks beautiful, too.  Congratulations!  Best,  Phyllis

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

And, of course, I can't repeat the procedures!  I am still loving it on sandwiches or lightly toasted. Definitely will make this again. Will try two normal sized loaves without prebaking the levain and melting my container. Hopefully it will be as delicious.