The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


taxman103's picture


Hello fellow bakers,

I baked some sourdough today. The bread tastes fine but doesn't look very good. The sides and bottom were nice and brown but the tops never browed. They look lake dirty brown water. Any suggestions would be appreciated.



Floydm's picture

Move the oven rack up a notch?

Elagins's picture
I made the most amazing sourdough this morning -- Peter Reinhart's 'San Francisco Sourdough' out of 'Crust and Crumb.' I made one important change, though: Instead of a three-day build, I built the dough for 4 days, as follows:

Day 1: Overfeed the barm to produce about 2 lbs of preferment for the recipe, and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2: Mix the intermediate firm starter, refrigerate overnight;
Day 3: Mix the dough, allow to rise for 3-4 hours, scale and proof the loaves, refrigerate overnight.
Day 4: Bake

I have never in my life gotten a better crust ... deep reddish-brown with the pinpoint bubbling characteristic of heavily retarded doughs. I almost fainted with pleasure when I opened my oven and removed the first finished loaves ... I couldn't believe it.

One other change, on a technical note: I've been putting my steam pan above my baking stone. This morning i put it on the shelf below (I have an electric oven). I ended up with a much better bottom crust ... in fact, a slightly underdone bottom crust in comparison with the top crust. With the steam pan on top, I had just the opposite: nearly charred bottom crust and underdone top crust. I like this new way better.

I don't know what I did, except follow the directions, but the crust was unbelievable!!!