The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My First Loaf... Tips? (Pic Heavy!)

Utah Dough_Ball's picture
Utah Dough_Ball

My First Loaf... Tips? (Pic Heavy!)

Stumbled across a bread making video on YouTube a few weeks ago and could not stop watching them! Bought a book, (Bonnie Ohara's) and decided to try my hand at it yesterday... Used a video/recipe by Chef Billy Parisi that can be found here:

Here's how it went...

(I live in the beautiful mountain valley of Heber, Utah. Elevation is around 5,600 feet and my kitchen temp was around 68 degrees F)

Got out some of my new "toys".

I then I followed the recipe to a "T", not adjusting for anything so I could have a baseline/starting-point since I have NO IDEA what I'm doing.

Here we go...


So far so good I believe...

Then things got a little crazy! I believe I let it rise for too long. (At least for the tem in my home that day.) Thoughts?


I just went with it and dumped it in the dutch oven (covered the entire time per the recipe) so that I could learn from whatever mistake I made. (It was too slack in my opinion.)

Well, there she is... good, bad, or ugly I don't know.

It sure was delicious!!!

Too describe the result will be difficult but, here I go...

After I let it cool for 30 minutes the loaf did not have a "thump" to the crust like I heard on a lot of the videos I watched. It was more like the crust was a pillowcase over the crumb... almost lose, I would say especially on the top of the loaf. However, when I cut into it, it was definitely not separated from the crumb like I felt it was. It also started to crust a little better as it cooled even further. It never reached the "thump" however... After researching a little I guess I should have reshaped the dough after it rose(sp?) too much in the banneton? Then watched it so it did not rise so much before the bake.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!!! 

Utah Dough_Ball's picture
Utah Dough_Ball

Haven't had any replies yet but, I will continue on in this adventure. I started a poolish yesterday and will be baking today. Wish me luck!

ifs201's picture

Hi Utah Dough,


I'm not quite sure what you mean by "thump". Is it that your crust was softer versus hard? To me it definitely looks like your loaf is quite light in color. There is nothing wrong with this, but if you want a crustier loaf then you'd probably want to bake it longer without steam. Some bake almost to the point of burning the crust - all personal preference!

Generally one would only reshape after the final proof as a last resort if the dough is way overproofed (that's my understanding at least). While your dough may or may not have over proofed (I'm not enough of any expert to tell), to me it seems within the realm of "okay" as it doesn't have the classic signs over been greatly overproofed as it looks like it did expand in the oven and not just collapse on itself. 

You might get more feedback if you were to provide your recipe and process, but it looks like a job well done to me. Most importantly, how did it taste? 

Utah Dough_Ball's picture
Utah Dough_Ball

Thanks for your reply and feedback! The “Thump” I keep hearing on YouTube videos probably does refer to a more well done crust. It did taste wonderful so, I’ll take it for my first try! I followed this recipe to a “T”. 

  • 560 grams of 00 bread flour
  • 190 grams of whole wheat flour
  • 600 grams of water at 98° to 100°
  • 17 grams of Kosher salt
  • 3 grams of active yeast


  • In a large bowl combine with your hands the flours and water until completely mixed together. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Next, sprinkle the salt and yeast overtop and mix it into the dough by pinching, stretching and folding the dough over for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Cover and rest the dough in a warm dark place for 15 to 20 minutes before folding the dough over 5 to 6 times.
  • Cover and rest for 45 to 60 minutes and then fold the dough over 5 to 6 times again.
  • Cover and rest for 2 hours or until it has tripled in size.
  • Dust a clean surface with flour and place the dough onto it. Sprinkle the top with flour and fold the dough over in thirds 3 to 4 times and then begin to mold the dough into a ball by cupping around the dough into the bottom.
  • Place the dough into a floured Benetton and cover and rest for 60 minutes.
  • In the meantime, place a small Dutch oven pot into the oven on 475° for at least 30 minutes.
  • Flip the dough right into the hot Dutch oven pot, cover it and return it to the oven and bake for 30 minutes
  • Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
ifs201's picture

I'm so glad you were happy with it! I don't have much experience using active yeast as I use sourdough starter, but the recipe says to have the dough triple in size at one point which does seem pretty aggressive. At least with sourdough recipes, you generally only expect the dough to rise somewhere between 30-80%. I think active yeast is different, but triple seems like a lot! 

Utah Dough_Ball's picture
Utah Dough_Ball

ifs201, yea, I was thinking about cutting the rise times down a bit to see if that helps. Thanks!

BobBoule's picture

Thats a good start, congratulations.

Get a thermometer, it will save you a huge amount of grief and pay for itself may times over.

The "thump" test really only works well for experienced bakers, instead you should use a thermometer and not consider the loaf baled until it gets to 200 to 211º F (if it reaches 212) F then its already burned) I generally pull mine out of the over at 200º to 205º F.

Allowing the dough to rise until it is triple in size sounds like a mistake, that is excessive. For me, by the time it is double in size is already past time to put it in the oven. You can actually over-prod a dough, where it rises too much then it cannot hole that shape and it starts going down, sometimes to the point where it collapses.

Preheat the dutch oven in the oven) for 30 to 60 minutes, with the lid off, put it on the rack next to the dutch oven so it also gets hot. Yes it will be as hot as a volcano, be extremely careful and use proper baking gloves to protect your hands, you will only have a few seconds, even with the gloves on, to actually handle the dutch oven and lid.

Loaves of this size I would bake for 30 minutes with the lid on and then 15 minutes with the lid off (this allows the crust to set and brown), you can adjust these times to suit your specific conditions.

Once the loaf achieves the proper temperature pull it out (it should just fall out of the dutch oven) be careful, it will be as hot as a volcano, again) and place it on a cooling rack. It often takes an hour or two for the interior to set. I leave mine on the cooling rack for two hours, always.

Go ahead and thump it, it should sound hollow. Since you are using a thermometer you will know that it actually is completely baked, but this will help you train your ear to learn what thumping sounds like.

I live at the same exact elevation and I avoid baking when the temperature is that high, it does change the proofing and baking times.

Keep practicing you are off to a great start!