The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Anger and Frustration whilst Baking

umbreadman's picture

Anger and Frustration whilst Baking

Just a heads up for anyone reading this, this blog entry is going to be an outlet for some volatile emotions directed at my most recent baking experience. Continue at your own risk.


I just got off work. I don't always have a great time at work, and tonight was like that. the past few weeks in general have been stressful because of school. In terms of bread, I find myself trying to make fermenting and proofing fit in during classes until i can come back, or retarding over night, you get the idea. I did that today by refreshing my sourdough last night, making the dough this morning and letting it partially ferment during my class on genetics. I then refrigerated it, unshaped, while I went to work for 5 hours to continue to ferment slowly. Coming back, i pulled it out, shaped it roughly into a round, and let it proof in an oiled bowl (during which time i shelled a bunch of peanuts to make peanut butter...a mindless, monotonous task that proved very mentally relaxing). Then, it came time to bake.

And its all downhill from here.

Tried to turn out the dough from the bowl, but it wasn't coming out despite oiling. Tried to get it out a few different ways until finally with an unsatisfied slurp, it peeled out of the bowl and landed off center on the peel. An edge was barely hanging off. Not so bad, but the process was a little frustrating since it's worked before. I had floured the top (now the bottom) of the dough in the bowl, and also the peel. I figured some of the peel's flour would come off during maneuvering, hence the dough flouring. Opened the oven, preheated stone was ready.....and the dough stuck to the peel.


ugh. so the door is open, heat is escaping from the oven like a convict on a prison break. Jiggle the peel, dough doesn't move. I go and grab my bench scraper, and start just scraping it off the peel. The dough is wet and at this point has lost considerable shape. by the time it's off the peel, i notice that it's not even fully on the stone; two edges are hanging off just enough to be upsetting, so i try to scrape those back on. It's ugly, my shaping is unnoticeable, and my slashes are disfigured...the icing on the cake is that i burned the back of my hand on the oven heating coils by accidentally brushing against them while trying to scrap the dough off the peel.

I'm afraid to look at the oven. What a jerk. 

Anyways, the bread might be tasty. This is my second lesson in patient bread making. the last time i baked, it was rushed, forced, and not paid attention to, and it turned out dense, gummy and very lackluster. though the taste was good, it was disheartening.

UPDATE: The bread is similar to an amorphous goo monster of doom. there's absolutely no shape. it has oozed partially off the stone and is being supported by the oven rack and the glass door.

This makes me not want to bake again for a long time. ugh. And I had plans for some adventurous spicy olive and blue cheese bread this weekend....maybe i'll be over this by then.

Really, the problem was centered aroudn the fact that i couldn't get the dough out of the bowl easily. If I could have gotten that, everything else would have gone smoothly.


A final touch on all of this is that a housemate of mine just came down to tell me that somebody had an "accident" in one of our bathrooms and didn't clean it up.

Murphy and his laws: 1

Me: 0

Game Over 


breadnerd's picture

I've had that exact thing happen. When I first started with wetter, artisan-tpe doughs, I had a string of breads where the loaves stuck to my linen I used for rising. I still don't know why I just kept plugging away at it and finally got the hang of it! I do recall it happened more often after rising in the fridge--I'd definitely recommend lining your bowl with something--even if it sticks it's a little easier to peel off than a solid bowl.

So I know the feeling, after a long day, of several hours of effort for a loaf of bread, and watching it lay in the oven like a lump. Or, burning yourself trying to rearrange it on the stone, ha ha!

Hang in there! You are definitely not alone and things will get better :)

bwraith's picture


Look into parchment paper. It is miraculous stuff for transferring bread to the oven. It won't burn, and it doesn't ever seem to stick once the loaf has baked enough. You can put the parchment paper on your peel, dust the parchment paper a little if you want, drop the bread on the parchment paper, and slide the whole thing parchment paper and all into the oven to bake.

I feel for you. Bread making is not so fun when that stuff happens.


dmsnyder's picture

Bummer! I share your pain. 

This instructional video is one I find helpful with problems like those you have had: 

Hope it helps.


umbreadman's picture

Thanks to all for the advice. I went out and bought some parchment paper that i'm going to try and use the next time I bake. I don't know why I didn't earlier, I've been baking for almost a year now and, while reading plenty of suggestions to other people to 'try parchment!', I never did. Well, finally my troubles were troublesome enough, and now I have it.

To tls, I sort of tried using a dough scraper, but I thought it would damage the shape too much, so i held back. Ah well. The bread came out tasty in any case and, even though it sort of flattened out weirdly, a friend of mine was happy because that just meant extra crust! She loves crust. I mean...hey, crust is good.

Thanks again friends.