The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

My first Hearth Bread

Cara's picture

My first Hearth Bread

This recipe can from The Bread Baker's Bible.  It is the basic Hearth Loaf.  Overall I am pleased.  It came out of the oven with an internal temp of 200 but the crust looks a bit dark to me.  It could be the Whole Wheat Flour in the dough..not sure.  One thing that did happen with this loaf that was odd, when i pulled it out of the oven to cool down the thing started cracking........pretty loudly at times and there are a few cracks in the crust itself (does that mean that I overbaked it?).

It was my first time using a preferment and I am very very pleased with how the dough handled using it.

Enjoy the pics and any comments (good or bad) are apreciated.

(it is still cooling down so i am not sure how the crumb looks yet, if i think about it i will snap a pic and post it later....if the loaf last long enough)


(pardon my messy counter.....)


Basic Hearth Loaf

Basic Hearth Loaf

Basic Hearth Crumb

Basic Hearth Crumb 2

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...Pretty ;-)

Elagins's picture

next time, you may also want to slash more deeply and at about a 45-degree angle to get more "grigne" ... a lovely first effort


Cara's picture

yes i see the one place that wasn't slashed deep enugh.  Personally i was happy to have a loaf that didn't deflate on me as soon as I put the razor to it.

I sthat 45 degrees toward the middle of the loaf or the outside of it.

gaaarp's picture

If you're right handed, the blade would be angled to your left.  Or vice versa, if you're a lefty.

BTW, that crackling noise is what we strive for.  It's called "singing" and it's a good thing.  Your crust doesn't look to dark to me.

Cara's picture

Okay got it.  The loaf is almost gone, so I will have plenty of opportunity to try it again.

Glad the cracking noise is a good thing.  I was pretty worried that because of it, that when i cut into the loaf that the thing would look aweful......but nope!

LOL on another note.  The loaf tasted WONDERFUL.   At the time I did the shping I was making a Rosemary Lemon Chicken and grading lemon zest.  I washed my hands first before shaping.........but some of it must have still been on my hands because every now and thne I was picking up a taste of lemon in the loaf........really weird, but good mistake I guess.

bassopotamus's picture

I just got TBB too. I made that same bread saturday, and have a loaf about to go in the oven right now. It is super tasty. I was hoping for something with maybe a little more of an open texture inside, but it may have been user error. I refrigerated the sponge overnight to slow it down, and my kitchen isn't that warm, so it may have been inadequately warm.

Cara's picture

I just posted pics of the crumb of my loaf.

I have only been making bread for about 2 months now so I am definitely no expert....far from it.

I too let the preferment sit out for about two hours at room temp, then put in the fridge for 24 hours.

bassopotamus's picture

Mine just hit the 10 minute mark and I turned down to 425. It looks like this loaf had way more oven spring than the last one I did. Looks more like the height on yours, my first one was a whisker flat. I think the big thing this time was I made a tighter boule shape this time.

ehanner's picture

Very nice Cara,
As has been mentioned above the cracking sound is the sound of success. It has been said that you can't over bake bread. While I'm sure that isn't quite true, you can let it go longer than you would imagine and still have a very good bread inside. The caramel color in the crust is loaded with flavor.

That's a darn nice looking loaf Cara, way to go!


Cara's picture

Thank you for the comments Eric.  Looking at my pics (and at the loaf) you are right that the bottom didn't get nearly as done as I had hoped.  I cooked it at 475 for 10 minutes with the steam then turned it down to 425 and cooked 10 minutes, then turned the pan and cooked another 10 minutes.  The book said to cook it for an additional 20-30 minutes after the initial 10 of steaming but when I saw how dark the top was getting at the 20 minute mark i pulled it out and took it's temp.  I think it was at 200-205 when i pulled it so I figured it was done.

And yes, it was already at the lowest point possible in my oven.  Next time when i pull it out to turn teh pan I might just take it off the pan and put it directly on the rack.  Maybe that will work until I can get a stone.

Next time i will try some of your suggestions and see how it turns out.

(My husband could care less that the bottom isn't as  He thinks it's rediculous for me to obsess over it the way I

SylviaH's picture

Congratulations on a most lovely bread your first sang to you!!

leemid's picture

is that we can't taste it. We can only comment on the look of it, and it looks GREAT. So your declaration that it tasted wonderful is all that matters. Personally, I don't get excited by burned ears thrust up from a diagonal slash. For the most part I don't care what it looks like, except that when it IS right, it looks good all on its own. Not every loaf needs to or should have a really open crumb. Yours looks perfect to me, but so would more open and less open, because these types of crumb have their place. Bottom line: wonderful tasting bread that looks great... what more could you hope for? Just more of it.