The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Artisan Breads

SourdoughGirl's picture

crisp crust

January 2, 2007 - 11:31am -- SourdoughGirl

Hi, everyone.  I've been baking bread for about a year now, mostly sourdough, with no commercial yeast.  Most of what I bake has good flavor and is chewy, with (usually) moderate to large holes.  However, while I've been able to get a chewy crust, the crust is never crisp - you know, that good, crackling crust.  I use a baking stone in a conventional electric oven (heating the oven to about 500 for an hour before baking and then dropping the temp to about 425 for a basic sourdough recipe).  I spray the sides of the oven with lots of water for steam during the first 15 minutes or so of baking, and then let the steam out for the remainder of the bake.  

Loafer's picture

Buying Poilane Across the Pond?

January 2, 2007 - 8:00am -- Loafer

So,  I was watching something or other on FoodTV the other day, and they mentioned that Poilane will ship loaves overseas.  Since Reinhart seems to be so taken with the Poilane miche, I thought I might take a look into trying one loaf.  I know that it will be basically highway robbery, but it would be very interesting to give it a try and see what "The best bread in the world" might taste like. Maybe a birthday present to myself.  But the Poilane website isn't terribly helpful on what the actual costs will be.  It seems that I would have to click the button to confirm my order before I was really told what the price might be.  Has anyone else made an order from Paris?  Were you pleased with the shipping time and the quality of the bread after shipping?  Was it "worth" $20+ to try a loaf?  Of course, that is cheaper than a trip to Paris...

sonofYah's picture

Immediate Opening/Opportunity

January 2, 2007 - 2:50am -- sonofYah

Immediate opening is available for a Head Baker. Artisanal bakery in Evansville, Indiana is looking for someone experienced in artisanal breads.

We are a small family-owned bakery. Knowledge of cakes, cookies, pastries and Mexican baked goods is a definite plus. Also, a kowledge of the Spanish language a plus, but not necessary.

For info, call 1-812-402-2253. Ask for Claudia or Antonio Carillo.

breadnerd's picture

Wow is right! Mountaindog recommended this bread, and I have to agree it tastes fantastic! I haven't used Glaser's "Artisan Baking" very much, I think like mountaindog, it was a little too advanced for me when I got it, and then I learned from other books and it was left on the shelf. I also get stuck in ruts, and get lazy and ignore recipes with 5 hour rises, etc!


A couple of notes on deviation from the recipes. One, I just converted a seemingly happy and active wet starter to a stiff one, and it was taking a bit longer than 8 hours to triple in size. It's either the cool temperatures in my house, or I just hadn't refreshed it enough to encourage the beasties that like dry conditions. So, I used a little more preferment than recommended, AND I cheated and threw in a 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. I was on somewhat of a schedule yesterday, and wanted my rising times to be a little more predictable. Even so, I let the first proof go for almost 3 hours, and proofed the final loaves at least 2 hours. (The original recipe called for 4-6, and 3-5 I believe.) Oh and I used malt powder instead of syrup as that's what I had.


I made a fatter batard, a slightly skinnier loaf, and boule in my banetton. They were each around one pound unbaked. The crust is very crackly and crunchy, the crumb (though not as open-holed as mountaindogs) is creamy and lovely. The sourdough tang is nice but not overpowering. There are *very* small amounts of wheat and rye flour in this loaf, and a few tablespoons of toasted wheat germ (which smelled LOVELY), but these tiny amounts added so much to the final loaf.



All and all a relaxing new year's eve bake--I also made a chocolate cake which will definitely be hampering my healthy eating resolutions as it will take a week to eat it!  Oh well! 

crumb bum's picture

Adding grains to bread

December 28, 2006 - 9:43pm -- crumb bum

Hello All

A question for all you bread experts out there.  I have several breads I have perfected over the last couple of years.  I want to change up some of these by adding different grains like bobs 5 or 7 grain cereal.  My question is how do I go about soaking these grains or cereals so that when I add them to the dough they don't contribute or rob water to the dough?  I was thinking of soaking a given amount of cereal in a given amount of water and weighing the water that did not soak in?   Any ideas would be appreciated.  Thanks.

Da Crumb Bum

Mike P's picture


December 26, 2006 - 6:37pm -- Mike P

Floyd I used your recipe for Oatmeal bread with Cinnamon and Raisins. When I am mixing my dough I save some of the flour from the recipe for the last bit of kneading. But I found I didnt use the flour which amounted to about a half cup. I usually have flour left over when I make French Bread as well, using Peter Reinharts recipe.  The altitude where I live is over 3500 feet.  Will that make a difference?? And the climate is very dry. I want to use all of the flour to make the amount of dough the recipe calls for, so I am wondering what would be the highest percentage of water to flour that I could use??

Breadwhiner's picture

wild but mild starter

December 26, 2006 - 1:18pm -- Breadwhiner

I have adapted the sourdough starter recipe from SourdoLady sucessfully to make whole wheat sourdough.  After reading a number of books, I have been trying stiffer starters in the interest of creating a more mild and more complex taste.  While I have been able to get the sourness toned down from vinegar to yogurt-like, I have only once achieved a complex flavor (tasted like a mix of cheese pears and nuts).  If anyone has had luck producing complex but mild sourdoughs, I would welcome suggestions for formulas and refresh timings.


ross's picture

Gas Ovens

December 21, 2006 - 7:34am -- ross

I just moved out of my apartment which had a simple, electric oven with one vent (which i had plugged) that turned out beatuiful bread, consistently. There was nothing digital, glass, or convection about it. Just your plain-old electric oven. Now, my new oven is a 6-burner, Vulcan gas-job. The range is fantastic, but the bread I bake in it is not. The heat seems to vent up the sides inside the oven itself and the external vent runs along the back of the oven which i'm hesitant to plug because of the gas-oven's need for airflow in order to combust the fuel. The crust just comes out pale, not golden, as I'm accustomed to, and not nearly as crusty either. I'm wondering if I should put my tiles on the floor of the oven, rather than a rack, but more importantly, what should I do about my crust? Any more steaming won't make much difference until the vent is plugged, right?

titus's picture

Recipe Help needed

December 15, 2006 - 10:01am -- titus

I need some help with a recipe for pain de campagne that is printed on the bag of flour I am using (I'm trying a new tactic in my struggle to bake bread here in Europe; I'm going to try out a regular French recipe).

Here are the ingredients:

1 kg flour (the whole bag)
800 grams water
60 grams yeast (yes, that's 60 -- they don't say what kind -- I assume it's fresh)
15 grams salt
3 grams sugar

The amount of yeast is really freaking me out! It seems way, way out of line. The suggested rising time of the dough is only one hour! There's no way I'm going to make bread that way!

Any advice on how low I can cut the yeast down to? I'm also planning to do an overnight rise in the refrigerator.

gianfornaio's picture

Spreading loaves

December 13, 2006 - 6:44pm -- gianfornaio

I've been baking a lot of boules and larger (~1 kg) long hearth loaves, and want them to rise higher and spread less. I can't seem to get a loaf more than about 2 inches high.

I proof them in makeshift bannettons (tightly woven long sisal baskets) and the dough is wrapped in heavily floured linen. When I turn them over on the peel, they flatten out a bit, and then flatten more when I slash the tops.

In my last round with the oven, I made one larger long loaf, which I slashed before putting in the oven, and two smaller boules, which I accidentally put in the oven without slashing, so pulled them out to slash after giving them about 5 minutes for their bottoms to set. The boules sprang higher, but I'd still like to see more..


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