The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Smaller loaves

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

Smaller loaves

Hi all:

 

TGIF!  I have a question for the great bakers here. We have just two in our house and our bread gets hard and stale before we can use it. I don’t want to slice and freeze a full size loaf. I’d like to have a small loaf we could use in a day or two…say ¾ pound. If I make a standard recipe and make smaller loaf, do all the same rules apply (i.e. rising time, baking time, etc.)?

 

Thanks for your input. It’s been a rough week in Omaha. God Bless all the victims’ family and friends. One of them, Beverly Flynn worked at my company…

 

Trishinomaha

 

mse1152's picture
mse1152

Hi Trish,

I'm sorry about all the pain and heartache in Omaha right now.  Makes no sense at all.

I often make favorite breads and bake them in small loaf pans.  I have the kind that are four small pans connected along the short sides with a flat metal piece.  I use the same fermentation and proofing times, though of course the baking time may be shorter...you just have to watch to get a feel for it.

And for that matter, you could go ahead and make the full loaves, then cut them in half and freeze.  We often do that too, instead of slicing the whole loaf. 

Have a great baking weekend,

Sue 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Yeah, what Sue said is on the money: everything should be the same except baking time, which will be considerably shorter.

Susan's picture
Susan

Trish, I almost always make smaller loaves. I divide most recipes into thirds or quarters to result in something around 3-4 cups of flour total. After fermentation I divide the dough in half and bake two small boules. Usually, one goes to a neighbor. I bake three or four times a week to keep us in fresh bread, and because it's fun.

For proofing these small boules I use two little colanders which are about 6.5" across the top, lined with wheat- and rice-flour-embedded 18"-square linen cloths (that I picked up as a remnant).

The oven is preheated to 500F, lowered to 450F after the loaf goes in; baked covered with a stainless steel bowl for 15 minutes, then about 15 more minutes uncovered, until deep brown.

Hope my experience helps you. It's nice to know there are others who need low output but still want to bake fresh and healthy bread.

Sourdough makes wonderful French Toast, too; that's a good way to use it up.

We're so very sorry for all the sadness in Omaha, Trish.

Susan from San Diego

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I also like to do smaller loaves - eat one now, freeze the rest.  It's just me here, but it takes me no more than about 2 days to go through one of those mini-loaves.

I have small loaf pans, but what I'd really like is a size between these little ones and the full-sized ones.  So my small loaves might be in the little loaf pans, or they might be free-standing.  Sometimes I use the full-sized loaf pans and put two or three smaller loaves into the same pan - pull-apart loaves.

I bake the loaves as giant rolls.  Directions for rolls usually give a higher temperature for a shorter period of time.  So I may raise the temperature 25 to 50 degrees while I cut back on the baking time.  Internal temperature I assume should still be the same as for full-sized loaves.

Rosalie

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

Rosalie, I bought some aluminium disposable pans at Wal-Mart.  They are about 7 inches long X4 wide and 3 deep.  And they are pretty cheap.

I spray them with PAM and use them over and over and over and over.

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

If you dont mind, I have a couple questions about your bread issues.

How many days is your bread lasting before going hard?

Are you making just pan bread or are you making various types?

How are you storing your bread in between meals?

I ask because after numerous trials in my own kitchen I have come across a couple things that help me extend the life of my bread.  My plain white breads made in one day (flour, yeast, salt, water) last out about 1 to 2 days.  But I have found that if I make my white breads using a sponge (flour,yeast,water) a day in advance, then make my final bread the following day, I can get 3 to 4 days before going hard. 

Next, when I have a loaf of bread that has been cut into I place it cut side down onto a wooden cutting board on my counter.  And that is how I store it.  I have tried paper bags (on the counter, and also in the fridge).  I have tried plastic bags (both ways as well), and I have found this simple cut side down on a board works the best for me.  Sometimes if a day goes by without me cutting a slice off of the partial loaf, I have to remove a thin slice and discard due to a little stiffening, but then the rest is fine. 

I too, do not like freezing my breads, kinda loses the whole reason I like to make fresh bread. 

Another thing to take into consideration is that if you are keeping the same recipe but using a smaller pan in the hopes of causing less waste, your smaller loaves will probly not last as long as the larger ones before going stiff.  I constantly have extra that doesnt get finished before going hard, but I have come up with some other uses.  I use the hard bread for baking croutons.  I also take the crust off the bread and cube it for scalloped pineapple (excellent over vanilla icecream, or even poured over ham).  Worse case I mix it with some eggs and my dogs love it. 

Oh my, you can tell I havent been around in awhile Im a bit long winded, Im sorry.  Just some thoughts for ya.

Have a great day....

TT

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

TT - I knew it was good to have you back, and now I remember why. :~) Small loaves are a good idea at my house also.

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

I make mostly rustic breads and store them in bread bags I bought on the King Arthur website. They do last for two or three day which I guess is all I should really expect. I have tried the cut side on the counter top too and that works pretty well. I am going to move towards more sandwich style loaves for awhile. While I love the artisan breads, the enriched pan style loaves are probably more practical for us. What would be really good is if there was a recipe where one could make a big batch of bread and freeze the dough into smaller loaves. Then you could just thaw and bake when you want fresh. Maybe I should look for recipe for that...

Trish

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I've tried freezing unbaked dough with little success.  The yeast doesn't revive too well.  It's okay with pizza, where the dough doesn't really need to rise, but not so much with loaves.  Maybe someone has some hints on this.

Rosalie

harrygermany's picture
harrygermany

Hi,

Sue wrote:

"... you could go ahead and make the full loaves, then cut them in half and freeze.  We often do that too, instead of slicing the whole loaf. "

Sure you can do it this way. Freeze your bread in halfs or thirds, and when you want to eat it, defrost it unwrapped - and it is like freshly baked.

In case baking bread is more important for you than eating bread, think of baking rolls ;-)

Harry


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Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

The baking is almost more important than the eating - it's good therapy after a stressful day at the office. Rolls sound like the perfect answer. Grab a few out when I get home for work and they will be thawed by dinner time. A quick visit to a warm oven to crisp them up and we're ready to go. We eat lots of soups and stews this time of year (chicken taco soup in the crock pot tonight, for instance - I love my crockpot! There's nothing nicer than walking into a warm fragrant house and having supper ready!). Thanks! I'm baking this week-end and there will definately be some rolls in the mix.

Happy Holidays!

Trish