The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Darkstar's picture

I've been passionately lurking on this site for a few months now. I have baked up a few dozen loaves and have been meaning to start up my baker-blog but never could get the stars to line up with a lovely loaf, my digital camera, AND the motivation to write down what I've done. I figured this is the easiest way to get my own personal ball rolling so without further ado, my impressions of the Fibrament baking stone.

I read all the opinions presented in this site and my head was sent twirling. I decided that after seeing the tremendous oven-spring a simple round loaf of wheat bread got on my pizza stone (now broken due to steam) I should look into a larger, more robust piece of masonry.

I couldn't wrap my brain around anything that wasn't a large slab (IE: quarry tiles, bricks, very small rocks) so my choices seemed to be kiln-bottoms or Firbrament. I'm pleased to say I placed my order on Fibrament's WWW site very early on a Thursday morning and received my stone mid-afternoon Friday using standard shipping. (Keep in mind I work by O'Hare airport in Chicago and the Fibrament company is located on Chicago's south side but it still was GREAT turnaround)

After I seasoned the "stone" I whipped up my second attempt at FloydM's pain sur poolish and made two of the ugliest shaped loaves I've ever seen with some WONDERFUL oven spring, crust, and crumb. The ugly part was my fault as my dough stuck to my cutting board (AKA fake Peel) in spite of the corn meal I had sprinkled down to avoid such an outcome.

Bottom line, my oven fits the $66 stone and I consider it money well spent. My bread is turning out markedly better looking and I'm enjoying the "brick oven" feel without the expense of building one. To anyone trying to decide whether or not to invest in ANY type of "baking stone"-like apparatus I whole-heartedly recommend it! It will make your baking experience all the more satisfying.


This post and all my others are just my $.02. Thanks to the FreshLoaf community for turning me back on to a hobby that my mother started me on when I was a wee little lad with a tiny little loaf pan making bread with her.


Floydm's picture

World Bread Day is coming up. On my birthday, October 16th, in fact.

Last year I baked a pumpkin french bread for it.

I may have to try that again, because it was good.


Floydm's picture



rverjean's picture

Just found this wonderful site - and I don't know where to start searching! So much to see! I am a full-time RVer so don't do as much bread baking as when I lived in a stick house and I miss the flavor, texture, etc of home made bread.


I am currently struggling with high cholesterol so am particularly interested in a recipe for really healthy bread now. Probably oat, wheat, flax seed, seseme seed, or ???? Would welcome suggestions. Also, are there any known websites that can give you the breakdown on the health benefits/values of the ingredients in a recipe?



My goodness! I just previewed my msg - and see the date posted noted as December 31, 1969 5:00pm! WRONG!!!

How does the date get there? Today is September 23, 2006! 

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Last week I had the pleasure of wandering around San Francisco with my wife. While at Fisherman's Wharf, we walked by the big window of Boudin Bakery a half dozen times in our trips to various attractions. A couple of times an employee was making baguettes and batards. It was really fun to watch the pace at which he formed the dough, and compare my own styles to his.

He first put a giant glob of dough into a machine that looked like a big rice cooker. He closed the lid, and a few seconds later opened it. The dough was pushed back up, sliced into about a dozen equal portions. It was so cool to see it mushrooming up out of the machine! He then tore apart the dough and made boules. To create surface tension, he used the table to hold the bottom of the boule in place, and kind of squeezed the top of the dough down into it, almost like he was wringing out a towel. It was very cool, and very fast.

For $3, we took the bakery tour and tasting. It was a self-guided tour where we got to see the history of Boudin Bakery, and watch the employees work the giant machinery below. It was very interesting to see that they do the same things we do, just on a grand scale. The mother starter is kept in the fridge (very stiff, I noticed). An employee goes in and cuts off a cube of it (about 12" on a side!), weighs it, and drops it in the huge mixer bucket with flour and salt. He then checks temperatures and adds water. Then a mix and knead, shaping, and overnight fermenting. The next day is slashing and baking.

Finally we came to the end of the tour and tasted the bread. The sourdough was very mildly sour - so mild I would have been hard pressed to pick it out as sourdough. The crumb was fairly dense with a chewy crust. My wife took a taste, then another, then whispered, "Yours is better."

I grinned for the rest of the day :)


If you have the chance, stop by Boudin. I didn't get to eat dinner there, but the tour and tasting was well worth $3.



Floydm's picture

I baked some french bread today. 

Before baking:


After baking:


It was quite good.  The crust was a bit soft because I didn't use hot enough water to create steam, but overall quite good.

I finally had a chance to update the site some today.  You may notice that both of the featured blocks on the front page are heavily focused on community participation.  It has been great how much activity there has been on the site the past few months while I've been slammed at work and travelling.  I always hoped the site would develop into a community rather than a soapbox.  I'm very pleased to see that it has.

Floydm's picture

Brr... cold today, the furnace is on.  A perfect time to bake!

We're just back from a trip up to Victoria, BC.  Had some excellent baked goods at a cafe on Government Street.





I didn't get a picture of the danishes, but they were even prettier.

Enough talk, time to bake!


Trisk's picture

Well, this loaf came out a lot better.  So much so that I had actually eaten the majority of it before I thought to take a picture.  Suffice to say, it was a nice, moist, slightly sour rye-wheat loaf with a firm crust and a semi-open crumb.  It stuck a bit to the pan, but that was sort of my fault.  I'm very pleased with this, though.   My next step is to actually make a bread with some sort of aesthetic shape to it, and perhaps slash it a bit.  I will try to take a picture before I eat it all next time. 

vhender's picture

I was surfing the net and ran across this neat tool that will help you with your formula. just plug in your #'s and it will figure it out for you

this one if for sour dough

here is the main page with some great info and add'l calculators for your baking needs


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