The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Alt Altus @ Industrial Scale's picture

Alt Altus @ Industrial Scale

Looks like this fellow Karl de Smedt had the same idea as Alt Altus.

I like his name for it better: Fleur de Levain.

Happy Baking,



Elsie_iu's picture

It seems to be browning too soon. The ones on the side reached a dark bronze colour after only the first 6 minutes but it's not dry enough to lift up the parchment paper. I used my just ripened starter which is half whole rye and half whole wheat at 100% hydration. It was diluted slightly so that I could spread them out. I wonder what caused it to brown so quickly. I did not used the convection function and the starter was actually still pretty thick. Any ideas?

I'll lower the temperature to perhaps 325˚F to see how it would turn out next time. Very excited to try this in my future bakes!'s picture

That is indeed way too fast.  I only see slight tanning and drying of the surface after 5-7 min at 400˚F.  Is your broiler element on?  That's an issue with my current oven - inappropriate (and annoying) firing of the upper heating element in "Bake" mode.  I agree that the logical strategy for you is just to turn the oven temp down.  Do you have a thermometer in there?  You've been baking fine breads in that same oven without burning them.  A mystery.

Elsie_iu's picture

It measured 400˚F when I put the tray in but my tiny oven isn't that reliable. The temperature always fluctuates a lot once I put something in. The odd thing is, the temperature would only drop as it struggles to maintain the high temperature, so it's hard to understand why the starter is browning so fast. I hope I COULD burn my bread! It's tough for me to even brown it enough to get a crispy crust.

I'm not sure if my oven possess the broiler function. There's just five functions in total: upper heat only, lower heat only, both upper and lower heat, convection and rotating mode (for roasts). I usually use the upper and lower heat for all my bakes so the upper heating element did fire up (along with the bottom one). It seems that my oven works pretty differently from most ovens. For instance, many bakers here suggest lowering the oven temperature when using the convection mode but I can see the temperature dropping when I switched it to that mode!

Thanks for the help! I will let it know how my next trial turns out.'s picture

Every oven has a personality to which we must adapt our processes and expectations.  I had to bend my habits to accommodate the vintage oven in our new home when we moved a few years ago.  We recently renovated our second (retirement) home with a new "gourmet" oven which, despite its price and reputation, has idiosyncrasies to which we are struggling to adapt our protocols.  I recall TFL All-Star David Snyder burning some loaves on his first venture with a friend's wood fired oven.  And other TFL star Phil Agnew (P!Ps) meticulously documenting the spatial temperature profile of a newly fired wood oven at his work bakery.  Ovens are as diverse and quirky as the bakers who use them.

It sounds like yours is no exception.  What I call "broiler" heat is your "upper" heat and I know of no use for that in bread baking.  Indeed, I always want to minimize direct heating of the bread's crust from an "upper" source in order to delay crust formation and the restriction it imposes on oven spring.  Yes, one often lowers the temperature when switching to convection since moving air will heat a surface more efficiently than static air.  Your oven does indeed have some atypical characteristics.  All I can suggest for you is to do what every baker must: adjust and experiment until you find a way to use it that results in the product you seek.  Times and temperatures in published processes are just starting points.

Good luck!


dabrownman's picture

TOADIES!  Toadies are just great the world over in any form!