The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First entry with a few new breads

ryan_d's picture

First entry with a few new breads

Being new to the baking world, I've been trying out different breads that caught me interest. The first one was made about two weeks ago with help from my girlfriend. Being a Philadelphia boy living in Atlanta, I've been missing pretzels. Watching Good Eats the other day was a new episode dedicated to pretzels so I figured why not.


Here's a picture after the baking soda soak. Watching this pretzel episode, Alton Brown shows how to use bowling baking soda instead of the lye bath to get nice color on them so this is the route I took.

This one I'm quite proud of. My girlfriend and I couldn't find pretzel salt anywhere and we didn't want to order it online because we wanted to cook that night. Our best idea, go to the mall and sweet talk the Auntie Anne's Pretzel girl for some. What we got was almost a full pound of the white stuff.


Lastly, a few shots of the final product. I didn't rotate them properly so the ones on the top rack got darker than the bottom, but they were all good.


The second bread was made last night and was my attempt at italian bread. It came out quite good but I'm still having a problem w/ a lot of my breads where the top is rock hard. I'm going to have to ask in the forums when I get a chance. Otherwise, this was quite tasty, especially for a midnight PB & J :)





weavershouse's picture

Everything looks great. Nice start to your new found baking life. Have fun, ask lots of questions and keep posting your photos. Wish I could help you with your hard top crust... I'm not good with answers but there are lots of folks here who are great helpers.                                                         weavershouse

cabbagehead's picture

Hey I just posted my results when trying to bake a loaf with a soft crust. I made it as wet as possible without being sticky. I added a tablespoon of butter to the recipe. I then sprayed (misted) liberally with luke warm water just before inserting in the oven. What I got was a wonderful sliceable loaf suitable for sandwiches. I could hardly wait until it was cool before slicing and dousing it with butter and fresh strawberry jam!! MMMM heavenly.

 Here is another photo showing the whole wheat loaf after cutting (just to prove it could be done lol)brown loaf sliced: Here is a photo showing the whole wheat loaf after cutting (just to prove it could be done lol)

susanfnp's picture

Hey Ryan,

Nice pretzels and bread! I saw that Good Eats and thought it would be fun to try those pretzels.

I've found most bakers to be a pretty generous bunch, and I'm glad to hear that extends to the Aunt Anne's at the mall.

Is the Italian bread crust is break-your-tooth hard? Personally, I like a substantial crust, and yours looks great. But if it's too hard you might try storing the bread in a plastic bag; that usually helps soften it up some.


ehanner's picture

Nice start Ryan, you learn from every bake. The thing about getting a thin and not so hard to eat crust is either use steam in the oven during the first 10-12 minutes or cover the bread with a roaster pan top or bowl for 12 minutes while the dough is rising. There has been much written about the use of steam here and I'm sure if you search the site for "Steam" you will find plenty.

This time of year in the US even a crisp thin perfect Baguette will soften up in a few hours. It will still taste great but that crunchy caramel crust will soften up from humidity.

Take a look at the Lessons Floyd has posted. They are very well written and will take you through step by step and help you learn the basics. You will be an expert in no time at all! Have fun and ask if you need help. Lots of friendly folks here.