long-time reader first-time bread-maker

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(actually i made CINNAMON BUNS from the MOOMINS COOKBOOK a few years back, they were ok)

assume i have never made bread before, what is a good type of loaf place to start with -- needn't be basic!! what will i have most fun with and learn most from first time out??!!

(since basic is anyway sometimes not the easiest thing! cf delia on boiling an egg)

this is what i currently have to hand:
plain flour
wholemeal flour
ground almonds

quick yeast (bought this week)
dried active yeast (in an unopened tin 4 yrs past sell-by)
some turkish packet yeast (aka MAYA, with a picture of croissants on the cover)

normal sugar
icing sugar
dark brown sugar


baking powder
salt, pepper etc
herbs and spices, many and varied

mark s, Saturday, 21 March 2020 14:32 (four years ago) link

on the advice of pals elsewhere i went with VEGAN SODA BREAD, using water and lemon juice instead of buttermilk

mark s, Saturday, 21 March 2020 16:15 (four years ago) link

for best-practice euphony the thread shd really say "baker" not "bread-maker" but i can and do make cakes fairly often so

mark s, Saturday, 21 March 2020 16:16 (four years ago) link

I've only ever used ground almonds as a substitute for breadcrumbs when I was baking chicken. What are you using them for? I want to make some whiskey bread but haven't found a good recipe yet.

do you have pics?

Yerac, Saturday, 21 March 2020 16:40 (four years ago) link

still in the over, i will post when it comes out

the almonds are left over from a time when i was trying to reproduce my gran's gorgeous near-liquid pain de genes via experimental methods and no recipe (my aunt refuses to pass it on for some reason) (falling out with my gran possibly) -- i put them in this list in case anyone had any ideas given the unplanned ingredients i had to hand!

mark s, Saturday, 21 March 2020 16:46 (four years ago) link

in the oven i mean, ten mins to go

mark s, Saturday, 21 March 2020 16:46 (four years ago) link

being dumm i fvcked up the base and had to slice it off the grill it was baked on (not this one)

(it had oozed thru the bars like T2 and got stuck to itself -- i guess i shd have just used a flat baking tray lol)

taste is ok tho, hint of rosemary, needs a little more salt

mark s, Saturday, 21 March 2020 17:31 (four years ago) link

look at that fat babby.

Yerac, Saturday, 21 March 2020 17:35 (four years ago) link

would you use that recipe again? if so post here.

Yerac, Saturday, 21 March 2020 17:35 (four years ago) link

sure why not, it's super-simple (no buttermilk bcz i had none, used lemon juice as the acid, see below)

things i have to get better at before my next attempt:

1: handling the raw dough (viz moving it from the shaping surface to the baking surface without totally messing up the shape)
2: using a non-dumm baking surface lol
3: not getting flour everywhere (i will never learn this)

but basically i am pleased with it, it is very eatable! i shd try and make some soup to go with it before i eat it all

RECIPE for SODA BREAD (water not buttermilk)

4 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp salt -- i think use more next time!!
1 1/2 cups water
2tsp lemon juice
I tbsp chopped rosemary (fresh)

Sieve the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre. Pour in all of the water & vinegar. Using one hand stir in a full circular movement from the centre to the outside of the bowl in ever-increasing circles. Add rosemary. The dough should be softish, not too wet & sticky.

When it all comes together turn out onto a well-floured surface. Tidy it up and flip over gently. Pat the dough into a round about 4cm (1 1/2 in) deep.

Cut a deep cross on the loaf and prick in the four corners (lol it’s a round it has no corners). Bake in the (pre-heated) oven for 15 minutes at 250 oC, then turn down to 200 oC for 30 minutes until cooked. Tap the bottom of the bread: when it is cooked it will sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack.

mark s, Saturday, 21 March 2020 17:52 (four years ago) link

although i enjoy cooking my bread baking has always been a bit of a failure starting with a loaf of quasar-like density one sice of which would both render you immobile and nourish you for days.

i will be following developments with a keen interest.

Fizzles, Saturday, 21 March 2020 18:09 (four years ago) link

i am thinking about making this but somehow adding whiskey as the flavor.

Yerac, Saturday, 21 March 2020 18:53 (four years ago) link

instead of the water maybe

mark s, Saturday, 21 March 2020 19:30 (four years ago) link

Using mark’s ingredients and yerac’s inspiration I found a recipe for Bourbon cornbread. Although regular cornbread would be a great thing to make as well.

Also my go to bread not bread thing is farinata. It’s a savory thick pancake made with chickpea (gram, besam) flour, olive oil salt and water.


American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Sunday, 22 March 2020 00:03 (four years ago) link

Conveniently, yeast seems hard to come by at the moment where I am, and in fact hard to come by on Amazon.

The sourdough starter recipes I've seen recommend starting with rye flour, which I do not have on hand.

I do have a single packet of rapid rise yeast.

The question is, can I use this to grow more?

I can find something that says "no" but I cannot find something that says "yes".

fajita seas, Sunday, 22 March 2020 00:59 (four years ago) link

no but you can make sourdough starter from all-purpose flour. it's a different kind of yeast that you would buy. i happened to buy a big package of SAF instant yeast at the middle eastern food store in january, places like that would likely have it.

forensic plumber (harbl), Sunday, 22 March 2020 01:30 (four years ago) link

lol did you read this? i'm curious https://www.wikihow.com/Grow-Yeast

forensic plumber (harbl), Sunday, 22 March 2020 01:33 (four years ago) link

oh it's for brewer's yeast...i'm at a loss

forensic plumber (harbl), Sunday, 22 March 2020 01:33 (four years ago) link

Also my go to bread not bread thing is farinata. It’s a savory thick pancake made with chickpea (gram, besam) flour, olive oil salt and water.

That sounds good. Does it get/need a sauce? reminds me of the panisses i made a few times when i had chickpea flour on hand that needed using. they were really good, and pretty simple. not strictly bread though, sorry if derailing


medicate for all (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 22 March 2020 11:51 (four years ago) link

this is a safe space for bread nerds and noobs alike, no worry too pernickety, no question too dumb :)

mark s, Sunday, 22 March 2020 12:09 (four years ago) link

It’s a lot like panise. It goes with lots of things, some veggies or a salad on top is good. However I just normally have it with olive oil salt and black pepper. It was a staple of pizza shops when I lived in Turin and that’s all they ate it with there.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Sunday, 22 March 2020 12:35 (four years ago) link

you can make a starter with any kind of flour but it’s true that rye is a bit more supercharged. start with equal parts flour and warm water, maybe 50g of each, stir up (with your hands), leave in a warm place, the next day ditch half of it and add a bit more flour and warm water in equal parts and keep going like this. after about 5 days you’ll have something that bubbles and rises. you might want to use water that you’ve allowed to sit for an hour, so that it doesn’t have as much chlorine in it.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 22 March 2020 12:53 (four years ago) link

i got rye flour to make the last starter i failed at. i got too excited that it was actually working, didn't stir it enough, and it got some mold on it. i will start another one today.

forensic plumber (harbl), Sunday, 22 March 2020 14:11 (four years ago) link

the starter recipe i used said to also add pineapple juice. would something like that help the AP flour starter? tracer?

forensic plumber (harbl), Sunday, 22 March 2020 14:13 (four years ago) link

i wouldn’t.

if it gets mold on it you can carefully scoop the mold off and what’s underneath ought to be fine. personally i take my starter out of its container at least once every couple of weeks and wash the container well so that mold doesn’t get a foothold.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 22 March 2020 14:24 (four years ago) link


Hi relatively new sourdough baker here (gave up drinking, started baking!)

aiui the pineapple juice technique may well be good for AP flour. The book I'm learning from (Super Sourdough by the nice Scottish doctor guy from Bake-Off*) says that he's found it can make the difference with cheap white flour - that the acid kills off the bugs you don't want growing in there. iirc it can be any fruit juice or something similarly acid. And switch to water after first feed.

*I've never actually watched bake-off but he comes over well in this book. Good hand-holding, and goes into the why of things, which I like.

woof, Sunday, 22 March 2020 14:30 (four years ago) link

interesting! why not?

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 22 March 2020 16:25 (four years ago) link

never heard of this before, but interesting read

medicate for all (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 22 March 2020 19:49 (four years ago) link

I've noticed a concerted uptick in people interested in sourdough all of a sudden, my wife has been giving out starter & advice. Although acquiring the equipment can be an initial hurdle.

change display name (Jordan), Sunday, 22 March 2020 20:26 (four years ago) link

what equipment? i use couple of bowls..

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 22 March 2020 20:54 (four years ago) link

i was trundling along quite happily without it, because i was a bit indifferent to any that i'd had. then i found a local bakery that did *amazing* sourdough. the best. so i reluctantly paid *money* for it each week. then it shut down at christmas, and i haven't been able to find any that matches it since – hedone bakery in chiswick closest, but i ain't going anywhere near there these days because i'm isolating on the other side of london. i'm watching people's sourdough experiments to see whether i should do it, but it seems like x5 more pita than just a regular loaf, which i also can't do. i may try and get better at this over the coming period. xpost.

Fizzles, Sunday, 22 March 2020 20:56 (four years ago) link

Scottish doctor guy from Bake-Off*) says that he's found it can make the difference with cheap white flour - that the acid kills off the bugs you don't want growing in there. iirc it can be any fruit juice or something similarly acid. And switch to water after first feed.

This makes a lot of sense all of the sake brewing methods I know start by making or using acid to protect the yeast from undesirable bacteria. Citric acid or lactic acid are used so it makes sense that something acidic like pineapple juice would work well. Plus all the sugar probably helps get the yeast going.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Sunday, 22 March 2020 21:02 (four years ago) link

ah i forgot - a scale. you do want a scale that can measure grams.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 22 March 2020 21:09 (four years ago) link

Scale, Dutch oven, banneton baskets, proofing situation? That's just what my partner uses, probably only the scale is necessary.

She just made some loaves and I can see it on the counter from where I'm working.

change display name (Jordan), Sunday, 22 March 2020 21:27 (four years ago) link

I don't know how to invite people to slack. Does this work. Post your breads to this since it's much easier to post images. https://join.slack.com/t/poxyfule/shared_invite/zt-csm19k0n-P_w0mauC3_sXUXus~TI0mw deems started a cooking channel but I think you have to expand to see it and join. Called.: What do you cook like.

Yerac, Sunday, 22 March 2020 23:36 (four years ago) link

you successfully invited people to slack

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Sunday, 22 March 2020 23:41 (four years ago) link

I am partying in the streets.

Yerac, Sunday, 22 March 2020 23:45 (four years ago) link

Jordan yes okay i have that stuff too :)

but it’s absolutely not a requirement!

- you can proof a boule in a colander lined with a floured tea towel.

- dutch ovens are great but you can bake freestanding loaves. that way you can bake more loaves at a time. only difference is you need a tray of boiling water at bottom of the oven for the first 25 minutes to create steam.

but yes a scale is a hard requirement for sure.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 23 March 2020 07:18 (four years ago) link

Metal dough-scraper has been my favourite non-essential.

Had a large delivery of flour today, so all set to bake through the dark times.

Going to move away from sourdough and try a basic soda bread tomorrow.

woof, Monday, 23 March 2020 18:03 (four years ago) link

yes a dough scraper can be quite handy. I have used a cake knife in a pinch.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 23 March 2020 18:11 (four years ago) link

First time breadmaker trying Jim Lahey's No-Knead bread. I expected many things to go wrong. I did not expect that when I took the preheated pot out of the oven and lifted the lid off, a blob of smelly melted plastic bowl would be at the bottom :(

Paperbag raita (ledge), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 12:12 (four years ago) link

oh god no :(

forensic plumber (harbl), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 13:50 (four years ago) link

yes don't eat that

mark s, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 14:07 (four years ago) link

Bread turned out fine(*) in a normal saucepan, not sure if the le creuset can be saved :(

(*) considering I couldn't find the white bread flour and was making the dough with wholemeal till my wife came down and said that was a terrible idea, found the white flour, and made me double the recipe for two 50/50 loaves. like i said, first time breadmaker.

Paperbag raita (ledge), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 14:08 (four years ago) link

Also we have (hopefully) learned to store ovenware with the lids on upside down.

Paperbag raita (ledge), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 14:10 (four years ago) link

the ceramic coating is not porous so you may be able to save it. eeeeeek

forensic plumber (harbl), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 14:18 (four years ago) link

Any focaccia recipes to recommend? Something to do with 00 flour other than pizza dough?

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 16:36 (four years ago) link

Soon I will be a first-in-a-long-time bread baker. Is that no-knead a good way to go or should I try something else. I may or may not have a KitchenAid mixer. It was acting a bit weird last I used it oh three or four years ago.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Tuesday, 24 March 2020 16:37 (four years ago) link

we are anxiously making our own sourdough starter. the first attempt died on day 4-ish, so this round we're being really by-the-book and worrying more than is probably necessary.

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 24 March 2020 16:40 (four years ago) link

That looks wonderful

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Saturday, 24 October 2020 01:18 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

i am going to make some loaves this weekend. have been feeding my starter regularly to get it ready instead of what has become my habit of just every few days. i want to put in some seeds, maybe one rye with caraway and one with sunflower. does it absorb too much of the water or do i just add them without worrying about that? also looking for some new flour ratios. i have whole grain spelt and rye.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Monday, 9 November 2020 19:08 (three years ago) link

by weekend i mean wednesday because i am only working today and tomorrow #veterans

superdeep borehole (harbl), Monday, 9 November 2020 19:08 (three years ago) link

ok i have discovered you need to soak the seeds. i am looking forward to this seedy adventure.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Monday, 9 November 2020 20:18 (three years ago) link

i made a pretty good rye, caraway, beer and honey loaf from claudia roden’s Book of Jewish Food at the weekend. i think it needed to be slightly more hydrated but it tasted great.

Fizzles, Monday, 9 November 2020 21:23 (three years ago) link

Oh, we have that book! What would you do different next time?

scampus fugit (gyac), Monday, 9 November 2020 23:32 (three years ago) link

so the recipe says to add only enough beer 'to make a dough that holds together.'

i took that pretty literally (and followed the quantity guidance, which was 125ml water, ~350ml of beer - so very low hydration), but i the dough was just too dry and crumbly (and absolute murder to knead). I'd add slightly more liquid to get a more elastic dough next time. she does say in the next paragraph not to add too much flour in the kneading stage as the dough is intended to be 'a little sticky compared with white bread dough,' so i was a bit wtf Claudia make up your mind.

weekend sourdough here - heavily floured because FUCK ME it keeps sticking, which makes. me. mad.


slightly crumbly rough looking rye here:


Fizzles, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 07:03 (three years ago) link

(smells and tastes great mind)

Fizzles, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 07:04 (three years ago) link

Yeah I was thinking when I was reading that that the fragrance alone would make it a really nice bread (for someone else in the house) to make especially as it’s pretty cold rn. As ever, your sourdough looks very good!

scampus fugit (gyac), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 07:52 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

made this, https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/kansas-sunflower-bread-recipe , just came out of oven 30 min ago so i haven't cut into it yet. instead of 361g white bread flour i did 201g AP flour, 80g white whole wheat, 80g spelt (i believe this flour is "sprouted" but i'm kind of confused by the label from the bulk place). i always get dough that is too wet from these recipes, it won't even make a ball in the mixer, added back another 1/2 cup or more of AP flour. it looks like a very tall loaf, the tallest i've ever made, so i don't think anything went wrong.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Friday, 27 November 2020 23:09 (three years ago) link

ok here is photo.
great-tasting bread, perfect density, but a bit crumbly. probably because of aforementioned flour adding. i'm just afraid of very wet dough. but this was not just very wet, it was way too wet. no one would have been able to knead it. i am going to try letting it sit after mixing next time. especially with the whole grains. this would be a nice tuna fish sandwich or grilled cheese bread. i just toasted it and had it with some peach jam.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Saturday, 28 November 2020 00:06 (three years ago) link


cosmic vision | bleak epiphany | erotic email (map), Saturday, 28 November 2020 00:56 (three years ago) link

that is amazing.

Fizzles, Saturday, 28 November 2020 00:57 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

kept on forgetting to feed my starter so instead have been making (very nice) rye, beer and honey bread.

did make my first batch of sourdough for the first time in a while over the weekend though. i fluffed it a bit, so it hasn't risen as much as i'd've liked, and the first loaf could have done with longer in the oven, but on the whole am quite pleased.



Fizzles, Monday, 11 January 2021 21:02 (three years ago) link

most importantly of all, it tastes great, with the crust approaching the taste of my favourite bought sourdough (before they shut down).

Fizzles, Monday, 11 January 2021 21:04 (three years ago) link

wow that crumb is gorgeous.

you're courageous to prove straight in the banneton with no liner! early in my baking adventures i got burned a couple of times and never went back. i should though. those bullseye patterns are so nice.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 11 January 2021 21:53 (three years ago) link

this book just came out. it's great. a bit of a history of the bakery, pictures of impossibly attractive young people making bread yada yada but the back half of the book lays it all out there. the nuts and bolts of every variation on sourdough you can think of, and some others besides. i took a day-long lesson there a couple of years ago and the person teaching us said their philosophy is that 'there are no secrets in bread baking'.


Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 11 January 2021 21:57 (three years ago) link

thanks tracer, yes, i was pleased with the crumb, given it didn't rise as much as i'd hoped. after really losing my shit with my carefully constructed loaves *sticking* whether on cloth or direct in a banneton, and spending ages on the internet trying to work out how to stop this happening, I have decided the key is... use a shit-tonne of flour. you can always brush it off before it goes in the oven if necessary (though the above ones have worked out fine without brushing). Also, if your bannetons are relatively new, worth spraying them on the inside with water and roughing them up a bit a few times so that when they're dry the flour sticks on all parts of the basket.

book recommendation looks good. it's really helpful when people avoid mystique and are just very clear on hints and tips etc. very easy for skilled people to get a bit 'guild secrets' about these things, or 'this is the way it *should* work' when experience teaches you something different.

Couple of things I'd rectify next time:
1) don't put them in the bannetons upside down, so that you have to take them out and put them back in the correct way up (which is upside down confusingly). I think this broke some of the structure hence them being flatter than i would have liked
2) i just think they need longer in the dutch oven. it's not creating as much steam as I'd like before I take the lid off to get the crust.
3) Oh and my structuring isn't always great. I think this is partly to do with the instructions I'm using which are fine if you want an oblong but not if you want a circular loaf. The 'creating tension against the seam' bit just isn't working for me at the moment.

Things I still don't really understand.
* They're not really *springing* up, so that where you've made the cuts you get a nice explosion. With yeasted loaves I'd've said I'd overproved them, but i don't think that's the case for sourdough? It may be an issue to do with structure or indeed that initial oven temperature.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 12 January 2021 11:57 (three years ago) link

first thing is i’d make sure your starter has enough oomph. at one point i realised that if i refresh it the night before making the leaven it has a lot more power. i just refresh and stick in fridge.

you should put them in the bannetons upside down i.e. seam side up so that you can plop them onto a piece of parchment paper by just turning over the banneton. i’ve learned you don’t actually have to be gentle on this step! you can really just whack them out plop. you do need to score them and get them into your dutch oven or into a baking stone pretty quickly though because they will spread.

in the pics i can see that they crusted over a bit early - they haven’t got that really explosive “ear” that is the proof if you like of a good spring. two things on this 1)you need maximum amount of steam, like you say. give it a good 20 minutes, even 25 in the dutch oven with the lid on. 2) you might consider adjusting your oven to just use the bottom heating element for those 20 minutes so that the tops of your loaves don’t get too hot too quickly and crust over. with a dutch oven i’d think that wouldn’t be a problem because the lid would provide some protection but something to try maybe.

for shaping a circular loaf i get my hands floury and sort of twist the dough on the counter, any direction you like, which usually plumps it up a little bit. you may need a scraper to help along any little bits. then you can lift an edge of this mass, stretching up and then folding towards the center and kind of poking it into the middle. like a flower petal sort of, that’s shutting itself down for the night. do that all the way around so you’ve got a little package. may need the scraper to help with this. and use your scraper to help lift that off the counter and you can lay in the banneton just like that, with your flower petal seams on top. i usually like to lay it first in some dusting flour before the banneton just to make sure it’s got a good layer there.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 12:15 (three years ago) link

for pre-shaping your “boules”, this guy is my god:


i don’t do what he does for the final shape, but his pre-shape is so unbelievably satisfying and efficient and it’s not hard to get down.

one big tip for that pre-shape? put ZERO flour on your countertop. this will help create that tension you need. otherwise it just slides around.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 12:29 (three years ago) link

Soda bread in our house today, came out just right


Ole Blueyes Solskjaer (darraghmac), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 12:55 (three years ago) link

Nice, texture looks great. Is that a mix or did you have a recipe?

scampish inquisition (gyac), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 13:01 (three years ago) link

Uh id need to ask the house tbh, shes currently waspish over an email tho

Ole Blueyes Solskjaer (darraghmac), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 13:04 (three years ago) link

Oh i read the question again, no shes mixing her own from some recipe

Ole Blueyes Solskjaer (darraghmac), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 13:05 (three years ago) link

Nice loaves fizzles! On the mystery lack of spring - Tracer otm about making sure your starter is at the right point & lively. Maybe try cutting proofing time too, just to check on the over-proofing? Or work the dough a bit more early on to develop gluten and build the strength to handle the proof.

That is a very useful pre-shape video Tracer - I've generally just done 'shaping, but less so', but will try that pushing-around with the scraper next time.

I've found shaping the hardest part to nail. It's got better incrementally with a few factors changing - mature starter, I've got better at building strength, learnt how to handle dough better (flour hands over and over, don't be timid with it and work quickly - treat it like you're confidently handling something very hot, I read somewhere).

I used to go seam side up in the banneton, but I was reading the Forkish book late last year and he says seam side down, bake with seam side up. I've been trying it - not sure there's a huge difference. Slightly better crumb in the middle maybe.

Had been thinking about getting a thinner crust & got lost in this thread yesterday. Fascinating gluten knowledge.

woof, Tuesday, 12 January 2021 14:09 (three years ago) link

Other random notes -
I've been giving it 30 minutes in the dutch oven, at the oven top temp (which says 260 but is more like 230 from the oven thermometer I bought to investigate), then ~20 with eyeballing with the lid off. I actually don't really know what difference the lid on/lid off split makes - ie, what does less steam do?
Relatedly, I have gone from 'haha baking nerds measuring temperatures, f that, it's probably about right' to monitoring several thermometers.

woof, Tuesday, 12 January 2021 14:21 (three years ago) link

getting rid of the steam means crust will start to form. 20 minutes or so is about right. if you did, say 40 mins of steam and 15 mins without then your bread will be 'done' but your crust won't be a nice deep golden brown

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 16:25 (three years ago) link

yeah floury hands for shaping - but wet hands for stretching/folding!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 16:26 (three years ago) link

Thank tracer - makes sense when put that simply. One of those things I want to experiment with - I don't really get things till I've f'ed around with them a bit.

woof, Tuesday, 12 January 2021 16:37 (three years ago) link

on starter comments - yeah my starter this time around was v borderline imo because i’d been forgetting to feed it. almost threw it away but decided to go ahead and pleased i did. but yes, can see how that would be an issue for spring.

i enjoy the initial shaping process, a bit of swishing around and tension building. v nice pre-shaping technique in the video and will go for that approach next time.

woof - your temperature comments feel right for my (very bad) oven (ie lower than it should be). i’m going to extend the dutch oven phase a bit longer and see what happens. also dig out my oven thermometer.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 12 January 2021 18:25 (three years ago) link

i used to use an oven thermometer but it just stressed me out tbh. now what i do is 1) steam phase: maximum heat for at least 45 mins BEFORE putting in the bread. the whole appliance retains its heat better like this, so that when you open the door to put in your dough it can recover quicker. bake for 20 mins or so. like i said above i usually change to just bottom element for this part, but i use a stone rather than a dutch oven. 2) dry phase: turn down to 230C until it gets the right shade of brown. for me this is usually another 35 minutes but i like it really dark. i also remove the parchment paper for this phase so the bottom gets nice and brown.

crunchier crust tip: once you’re finished baking, leave the loaf in the oven for 10 mins after you’ve turned the heat off.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 18:57 (three years ago) link

if you want to bake on a stone, you can put a pan of boiling water in the bottom of the oven about 10 mins before putting in the dough, and leave it there until the dry phase.

worth saying some people don’t turn down the heat for the dry phase, and bake for less time. they just keep it blasting. if i do that my loaves are a little gummy inside.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 22:44 (three years ago) link

ALL OF THAT SAID fizzles your bread is beautiful and the crumb looks sensational and i bet it tastes great

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 14 January 2021 13:05 (three years ago) link

ha ha it *is* great but i love the tips and am looking forward to applying them all and coming back here when things aren’t quite satisfactory for more tips until it is PERFECT.

Fizzles, Thursday, 14 January 2021 15:36 (three years ago) link

worth saying some people don’t turn down the heat for the dry phase, and bake for less time. they just keep it blasting. if i do that my loaves are a little gummy inside.

Thanks for this tip, tracer. I had done this the last few times because I liked the brown crust, but was getting some gumminess so I think I will stop.

Jimi Buffett (PBKR), Thursday, 14 January 2021 15:40 (three years ago) link

yeah! if you reduce the heat to about 230C and bake for maybe 10-15 minutes longer than you usually do that should get you there. i too like it very 'bien cuit'

by the way, my last two loaves i pre-shaped and left of the counter for the usual 20 minutes or so before final shape and into the bannetons.. except.. i ended up playing two and a half hours of NBA2K21. i let out a yelp when i went to the kitchen. the dough had developed a bit of a skin. i shaped as normal, put into the bannetons, which went straight into the frige, baked the next morning per usual.... and they were absolutely fine

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 14 January 2021 15:49 (three years ago) link

suggest banneton

superdeep borehole (harbl), Thursday, 14 January 2021 23:02 (three years ago) link

haha had an almost identical experience a couple of months ago after deciding to find out what World of Warcraft was like nowadays.

woof, Friday, 15 January 2021 12:34 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

by no means perfect - the leaven was somewhat lacking in... jouissance, so it's not quite as buoyant as i'd like, and it's overfloured, but this loaf is great. crust is crackly and delicious as is the crumb. tracer's shaping video is really great for the pre-shape, and decided on woof's timings of half an hour in dutch oven and 15 minutes uncovered.

because the leaven hadn't risen quite as much as i'd hoped in the morning, i gave it another couple of hours in a warm area. this didn't make it any more bouncy as such, in fact it became a rather elasticated, not v holey substance, so i was worried about the outcome. i've heard i think that the longer you leave the leaven the more sour your bread tastes? If that's the case the leaven may not have been great for bounce, but was fantastic for taste.


Lord of the RONGS (Fizzles), Monday, 1 February 2021 12:57 (three years ago) link

that looks EXCELLENT

Ray Cooney as "Crotch" (stevie), Monday, 1 February 2021 13:07 (three years ago) link

yeah the “aeration” in there is magnificent

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 1 February 2021 13:09 (three years ago) link

Looks great, bet it will toast really well in a few days when you’re down to the last of it

scampish inquisition (gyac), Monday, 1 February 2021 13:10 (three years ago) link

it’s nice getting back into the rhythm of doing a loaf a week habitually. really got to work on my final boule shaping which is a bit slapdash (surreptitiously looks to tracer for more magic videos or tips).

might start trying some other loaves and options soon as well.

Lord of the RONGS (Fizzles), Monday, 1 February 2021 13:15 (three years ago) link

Slightly frustrated - my head's not in the game. Just went back to Forkish's White bread with poolish - which I've successfully made a few times & is delicious - and had a flat disaster. Barely any rise.
Unripe poolish I think - normally I'd wait & maybe give it a little heat but I just threw it in, barely checking.
Now I must eat a dense, ugly loaf before I can trying again. This is my punishment.

woof, Thursday, 4 February 2021 17:15 (three years ago) link

the only way to learn is to eat the mess you’ve made, no question.

Lord of the RONGS (Fizzles), Thursday, 4 February 2021 19:47 (three years ago) link

eleven months pass...

I neglected my starter in the run up to xmas, thought I got it going again but baked over the weekend and it felt closer to a ciabatta rather than a boule. Think I need to keep feeding that little dude even more than I thought.

colette, Tuesday, 18 January 2022 17:13 (two years ago) link

people say you can let it go a month but ime if you leave it longer than maybe 10 days you really have to work to get it strong and active again

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 18 January 2022 18:51 (two years ago) link

We were away for a few days after Christmas. Forgot to put the starter in the fridge & I suspect the kids had the heating on full blast, because there was pink mould on top once I got back. No smell, and very liquid. Seemed dead.

Got a couple of tbsp from the bottom and fed it a good mix of wholewheat, white and rye. Nothing after 24 hours. Tried to convince myself that it would be healthy and unsentimental to start a new starter from scratch & that I should get better at baking with instant yeast anyway.

But then! Tiny little bubbles the next day. Took about a week to actually recover, but it's alive & is baking as well as ever.

Taken it as a warning - I slowed down on baking since I got a dog, but I enjoy it & I was so glum when I thought the starter was gone. Made me realise I need to pick up the rhythm again.

woof, Wednesday, 19 January 2022 14:05 (two years ago) link

(& of course I discarded & fed every day till it was back to its usual winter self - sluggish, 8-10 hours to ripen)

woof, Wednesday, 19 January 2022 14:10 (two years ago) link

pink pink pink pink
pink mold

towards fungal computer (harbl), Wednesday, 19 January 2022 14:13 (two years ago) link

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