The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Well…since Lucy has semi retired ….things have changed

dabrownman's picture

Well…since Lucy has semi retired ….things have changed

She was back for yesterday’s bake and all seemed well enough until the dough went completely missing at the 1 ½ hour mark into the final counter proof.  It is a short story so I will tell it and it is all Lucy’s fault if you ask me. I’m looking at her right now and she looks very guilty to me.

Everything was humming along nicely.  This bread was similar to the 2 give away breads I had made earlier in the week for my daughter’s friends.  We upped the whole grains from 7 to 8 and from 20% to 25% and upped the overall hydration from 75% to 78%.  The new grain was emmer thanks to Whole Foods

See It looks pretty good proofed the 2nd time

All the bran was in the 2 stage, 12% pre-fermented flour levian at 100% hydration.  It was cold with the kitchen at 60 F when I got up to notice the overnight counter levain had not done a thing and looked the same as when I went to bed.  So out came the heating pad, a quick stir and it quickly doubled in 3 hours after doing nothing for 12.  Amazing how getting the temperature up to 80 F makes you speed up if you are a wee beastie with nothing else to do.

Well, it will be 77 F today but the wee beasties won’t know it since they are back in the fridge where they belong.  We did an hour autolyse with the PHSS sprinkled on top the dough and the dough flour being 100% bread flour from Albertson’s shelves and Winco’s bins – so no Lafama AP in the mix this time.

We did 50 slap and folds to get everything incorporated once the levain hit the mix and then did 4 sets of stretch and folds all on 40 minute intervals with the rest periods on the heating pad under a SS mixing bowl on an ultra thin, plastic cutting sheet.

Instant Pot Beef Stew Meat Chili was totally un-effected by the bread gone missing .

We shaped it and put it in the rice floured, oval basket for final proofing and then put the basket in a plastic shopping bag from the grocery store and set my iPhone for a 1.5 hour timer for me to check the dough and get the oven fired up for baking – just like always.  When the timer went off I went into the kitchen to check the dough – and it was gone.

It wasn’t on the heating pad.  It wasn’t even on any counter at all.  Bag, basket and dough all gone ….vanished like it was a paranormal, scientific oddity.   I immediately looked to Lucy, suspecting foul play from the usual suspect, and she immediately took off to parts hidden from humans before I could even ask ….what’s up apprentice?  She may be old but there was no way a fat, old man, with a limp, was going to catch her any time soon.

Not knowing what to do exactly, I started putting the baking stuff away and when I went to put the bread flour away in Lucy’s pantry under the counter, low and behold there was the Winco plastic bag with basket inside – yea!  But the dough was not exactly in the basket anymore.  The basket was on its side and the dough was half out of it and stuck to the plastic bag.

Well doggies, another fine mess that Lucy wasn’t going to fix any time soon.   So, I sort of pulled it off the bag and kinda did a quick re-preshape on it and pushed it off to Lucy for the final re-shaping .   Back  into the basket and the bag it went for another final proof on the counter on the heating pad this time  - even though the kitchen temperature was almost 70 F by now - we were in a hurry this time.

When I dumped it out of the basket for scoring it looked pretty good and I was fairly proud of Lucy for saving the day and into the oven with Mega Steam it went for 16 minutes of steam at 450 F.  When I went to pull out the steam and turn the oven down to 425 F convection for 16 minutes if dry baking.  I noticed that there was no bloom and on one side and end, at the bottom where it met the stone, the dough was blown out.

Next time this happens, I will be more careful in watching to make sure the baking apprentice 2nd class re-shapes the loaf properly.  When I finally cut into the loaf this morning, there were some awfully big holes at the top of the loaf too …..little dog houses for the apprentice to sleep in …..also from not shaping the loaf correctly.  Thankfully, the bread tastes terrific, hardly tastes like plastic bag at all and will make fine sandwiches, toast and croutons.


Can’t wait till next week’s bake when the oven might disappear into thin air or maybe the whole kitchen might go missing… stay tuned!


Danni3ll3's picture

to shape after she hid it on you? Boy, you are very forgiving! I am glad that the “eau de plastique” flavour isn’t too strong and that it all worked out in the end. 

dabrownman's picture

I was forgetful but let's not dwell on the obvious and shift the blame to the totally blameless instead.  Spies call that misdirection and politicians call it a way of life and the code they live by.  All I have is Lucy so she is guilty as can be:-)  I showed the bread to my daughter and she wondered how the same person could make such great bread a couple of days before followed by this horrible example .......and I told her to stop talking so badly about her sister - Lucy - poor thing!   Hopefully Lucy will be back to her old self soon enough. My daughter still had the bread for lunch today and thought it was tastier than it looked.

Happy baking Danni

clazar123's picture

Terrific story and wonderful food pics.


dabrownman's picture

Happy baking in the New Year Clazar123 and watch out for those baking apprentices especially if they never made it to first class.

leslieruf's picture

i can just see her tugging it along and putting it away.. 😊

dabrownman's picture

kind of sheep herding dog on the internet putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket and then dragging it to the the laundry room, loading the front loading washer and then knowing what drawer to put the clean clothes away in.  For fun it was dragging its own plastic saucer up the hill and then sliding down the snowy slope over and over again.  So,I told Lucy what kind of baking apprentice I was getting next time for sure.   Here it is, not even 9 AM, and she is sleeping at my feet as I type.  Well, she is almost 14 but that is sleeping all day just can't be good for you.  But, when I am 98, sleeping all day and having someone feed me -  I guess it won't be so bad!

Happy baking Leslie