baking bread

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i will try this recipe. i haven't made bread in ages.

tehresa, Sunday, 12 July 2009 19:45 (eleven years ago) link

that's exactly what i did! i think the oven temp is messed up. i turned it lower than it recommended because when i made pizza it was too crispy. the moistness suggested the temp was too low, but the bottom was pretty burnt. the crust was extremely thick, too. i know it's supposed to be but this was not fun to eat.

harbl, Sunday, 12 July 2009 19:49 (eleven years ago) link

nevermind i don't have a pot like that that is big enough

tehresa, Sunday, 12 July 2009 19:52 (eleven years ago) link

i could make mini boules but then i'm sure the baking time would be all messed up and i'm not skilled enough to adapt that.

tehresa, Sunday, 12 July 2009 19:52 (eleven years ago) link

I'm strange I guess, b/c I love kneading the dough by hand. I do mix it initially with a dough hook in my Kitchenaid, but turn it out and knead on a floured board set on the dining table to finish it.

Also - chapatis, tortillas, naan, other flat breads - I think cast iron is always best. It heats up well over a medium flame (just leave it for 10-15 minutes to heat up and even out) and it retains heat really well.

Jaq, Sunday, 12 July 2009 23:35 (eleven years ago) link

i love when you get to punch it.
(the dough, not the cast iron ow!)

tehresa, Sunday, 12 July 2009 23:50 (eleven years ago) link

i'm with jaq on the kneading: meditative and gets yr blood pumping. plus if ya do it every week like me then when you shake hands you can crush 'em with yr kneading power!

freakin pecan (jdchurchill), Friday, 24 July 2009 21:48 (eleven years ago) link

three weeks pass...

I've barely started exploring this site, but it looks like a fantastic resource. I made the Italian Bread recipe today (starting with the preferment last night) and it turned out great! The loaves lost a bit of volume as I transferred them from the work table to their cooking surface (the back of a sheet pan w/parchment), but I think that was for the best, because the degree of airiness and fluffiness inside was exactly what I'd hoped for. Brushed them with water just before putting them in the oven, and had a pan of hot water in the oven as well, and they produced a nice crust.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Friday, 14 August 2009 22:05 (eleven years ago) link

freshloaf looks boss, thanks wmc

clouds taste metallica (jdchurchill), Friday, 14 August 2009 22:52 (eleven years ago) link

Italian bread round 2 today. First loaf is out and cooling, 2nd loaf is halfway through baking. Variation: 2/3 unbleached bread flour, 1/3 whole wheat. (Last batch was all bread flour.)

My oven isn't big enough to bake both loaves at once, so the 2nd loaf gets an extra 40 minutes to rise under a damp towel.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Monday, 17 August 2009 19:28 (eleven years ago) link


I forgot the salt when I was mixing. ;_;

Texture A+++, flavor D-

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Monday, 17 August 2009 19:48 (eleven years ago) link

maybe just put some salted butter on it?

tehresa, Monday, 17 August 2009 19:49 (eleven years ago) link

It's barely edible that way, and completely inedible without. ugh ugh ugh this is disgusting. Amazing what a bit of salt brings.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Monday, 17 August 2009 19:58 (eleven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

yea that italian bread recipe is mad boss. i did it yesterday and it makes wicked sammy bread, nice crust and totally soft and chewy underneath. also will soak up tomato juices (r whateva) in yr sandwich without breaking/tearing. totally had to use more than 5c flour to make the dough tho. at the end 2 nice perky loaves, and even worked well in the regular loaf pan.

blind melon baller (jdchurchill), Monday, 31 August 2009 20:10 (eleven years ago) link

i give up on baking bread. i'll try again in 5 years :(

permanent response lopp (harbl), Monday, 31 August 2009 20:30 (eleven years ago) link

I love that Italian bread. I may start another batch tonight. Soft enough for sandwiches but firm enough to make great garlic toast -- it's gotta be firm/raspy enough when it comes out from under the broiler for the garlic-clove rubdown.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Monday, 31 August 2009 20:42 (eleven years ago) link

so what recipe should i try next from the ol' freshloaf then?

blind melon baller (jdchurchill), Monday, 31 August 2009 23:28 (eleven years ago) link

No idea! I haven't gotten past the goodness of the Italian loaf. I was going to make flatbreads for gyro-style wraps, but I stocked up on my favorite brand when I was in Atlanta last week.

Maybe that buttermilk cluster -- if not this week or next, then def. when the weather cools down and I'm making a lot of soups and stews.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Tuesday, 1 September 2009 00:27 (eleven years ago) link

ooh nice link!

the Lovely Emma B made some chestnut bread last week that was VERY VERY GOOD INDEED. it didn't rise so well at the end, but it had risen three times already so it still had a very nice and light interior.

she got the crust nice and brown and crunchy by using a spray bottle of water to mist some water into the oven as it was cooking. worked very well.

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 11:47 (eleven years ago) link

Another nice pair of Italian loaves last night. I'm starting to figure out the technique for shaping the dough into nice tight little boules that blow up beautifully on their final rise. I'm going to do the next batch in loaf pans just for the hell of it.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Friday, 4 September 2009 00:49 (eleven years ago) link

yea i did the loaf pan the last 2 times, it works pretty good. gives you that friendly sandwich shape too. also just rolled out as long as i could get them and that made a nice baguette shape (with less dough, skinny) and a hearty italian loaf style shape (with more dough, fat).

i do have a question tho: why the dry milk?

over the weekend i substituted some of the water with milk and reduced the volume a little and that turned out basicly indistinguishable from the one with the dry milk. so why not just use milk? why dry milk and water? i don't understand, but this is normal when it comes to baking bread. there seems to be no standard(s) and a stupefying multitude of variations in just about every aspect of the process.

Don't hag me with your false green. (jdchurchill), Wednesday, 9 September 2009 20:13 (eleven years ago) link

i don't understand, but this is normal when it comes to baking bread. there seems to be no standard(s) and a stupefying multitude of variations in just about every aspect of the process.

this is exactly what i hate about it. i could never figure out how to just make bread.

harbl, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 20:18 (eleven years ago) link

i want to make something like trader joe's 6 grain w/ pumpkin seeds but can't find a recipe. i'd probably screw it up anyway!

harbl, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 20:18 (eleven years ago) link

why the dry milk?

In that italian bread recipe, it calls for 1/2 c dry milk and 2 c of water - that is basically double-strength milk, so adds considerable protein (and the changes it brings to texture) not diluted to the same strength as regular liquid milk (1/2 c dry milk to 4 c water). Dry milk powder is also a humectant, so would help delay the bread getting stale.

btw, I only use dry milk any more. I get the Bob's Red Mill low-temp version that has to be whizzed up in the blender. We mix it up a quart at a time for daily drinking (w/ a spoonful of added cream to make it whole milk), but for baking I generally mix the powder in with the other dry ingredients, then add water when it says to add milk.

Jaq, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 20:28 (eleven years ago) link


double strength milk . . . ok.

bbut jaq, you really drink that instead of real milk? i guess it's prolly cheaper right? i dunno maybe i have a false sense of milk. never been a huge fan, just pretty much keep it around so my gurl can eat cerealz and we put it in our coffee.

thanks for the tip tho.

Don't hag me with your false green. (jdchurchill), Wednesday, 9 September 2009 22:59 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, we drink it - I was very surprised how good it is, but it's definitely because I use the low temperature process "non-instant" type. The normal "instant" kind, that you can just stir into water and it dissolves, tastes vile because it's run through a high temperature process that cooks it. The keys are using the low temp sort, adding some heavy cream to it, and letting it sit in the fridge overnight before drinking it straight. I use it on cereal and in tea and coffee too.

I started buying dry milk in order to make cheese and yoghurt - it's 1/4 the cost of liquid organic milk, and doesn't take up any space. It's great to be able to mix up a small batch, to not worry about running out of milk, or find out at the last minute that the carton has gone off.

Jaq, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 23:17 (eleven years ago) link

First loaf I've baked in over a year due to moving, hot weather, general not-baking-moodiness:

Jaq, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 02:20 (eleven years ago) link

looks good jaq, what do you utilize when slashing the tops? and when do you do it? i can never get that damn technique to work.

Don't hag me with your false green. (jdchurchill), Tuesday, 22 September 2009 22:40 (eleven years ago) link

I've got a 12" slicing knife I generally keep a really sharp edge on. I slash the top right before the dough goes in the oven, so after it's risen about an inch over the top of the pan when I do a sandwich/toast loaf like this one.

Jaq, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 00:00 (eleven years ago) link

bets: would this turn out really gross?

tehresa, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 16:53 (eleven years ago) link

Might be okay right out of the oven, but hard as a rock and nasty later.

Jaq, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 17:25 (eleven years ago) link

so jaq (sorry i am so late response time) that's like a serrated knife then?

let the glory boy mr. henry have it on rye (jdchurchill), Thursday, 15 October 2009 23:32 (eleven years ago) link

nope, just a standard blade, like this.

Jaq, Friday, 16 October 2009 00:05 (eleven years ago) link

so for my own curiosity what is the advantage of using that knife over say a regular chef knife?

let the glory boy mr. henry have it on rye (jdchurchill), Friday, 16 October 2009 00:44 (eleven years ago) link

Probably the fact that it's 4" longer, so the way the blade contacts the top of the loaf is different. It's also a knife I use less, so the edge stays truer/sharper. There are these special bread dough slashing tools called lames, but I'm not much for single-purpose utensils personally.

Jaq, Friday, 16 October 2009 01:53 (eleven years ago) link

one month passes...

I needed to clear out a cupboard and found some very old baking ingredients - yeast, milk powder, sugar, flour, but unfortunately no butter or even oil or any kind of fats - so I chucked them in the long languishing bread machine anyway to see what will happen...

What will happen if you try to bake bread that should have fats in it, without any whatsoever? Your predictions please. Results in five hours.

I'm ready for, even certain of, failure, but am interested to see what the hell does come out.

krakow, Thursday, 26 November 2009 10:03 (eleven years ago) link

probably will be better than leaving out the water, as a friend did once.

George Mucus (ledge), Thursday, 26 November 2009 10:16 (eleven years ago) link

I'll eat pretty much anything, so it shouldn't go to waste whatever happens.

krakow, Thursday, 26 November 2009 10:17 (eleven years ago) link

it'll be bread of some sort. also the milk powder should help.

tomofthenest, Thursday, 26 November 2009 10:39 (eleven years ago) link

well ... ?

George Mucus (ledge), Thursday, 26 November 2009 16:29 (eleven years ago) link

It look ok-ish. Kind of like a loaf of bread, albeit a wee balled-up one.

Going to crack it tonight and see what the inner verdict is. Not a complete disaster at least. The age of the ingredients is probably more to do with it, particularly the yeast meaning it didn't really rise, rather than the lack of a wee touch of butter.

Eating verdict later.

krakow, Thursday, 26 November 2009 17:24 (eleven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

when I first started baking bread I sorta jumped ahead of myself and tried to make Broa, the Portugese corn-meal-and-flour bread - my attempt back then didn't really turn out so great, so I haven't tried it since. But that was ten years ago, and I've been cooking and baking constantly since then, so I tried it again last night, using a recipe in the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day book (which, I don't even know what the book is really about since at this point when I get a cookbook I generally just go straight to the recipes & I know enough about the making-your-oven-a-steam-oven stuff from all the Bittman business last year). Anyway.


It is incredibly delicious.

a full circle lol (J0hn D.), Saturday, 12 December 2009 22:37 (ten years ago) link

never heard of it. love cornmeal though.

do you think you can fit baking bread into a normal weekday schedule (i.e. not having to check on it every few hours)?

Maria, Sunday, 13 December 2009 14:02 (ten years ago) link

maria i usually make bread on saturdays or sundays, that way i don't have to stay up late. checking it is essential at certain points, but how long between those points is generally very flexible.

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Tuesday, 15 December 2009 23:45 (ten years ago) link

two weeks pass...

dudes it's ciabatta time. i have been reading bread by hammelman. look out world.

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Sunday, 3 January 2010 17:35 (ten years ago) link

holy cow ciabatta is good, dudes
most perfect sandwich bread to me right now

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Monday, 4 January 2010 21:13 (ten years ago) link

i have never made bread with holes in the crumb (except pitta bread which doesn't count)! what is the secret to this amazing trick?

lords of hyrule (c sharp major), Monday, 4 January 2010 22:03 (ten years ago) link

Not sure -- I just follow the Italian bread recipe linked above and shazam, there are the holes. I followed a recipe for "white sandwich bread" -- no holes, smooth wonderbread texture, a good bit heavier though. Maybe it's the preferment to kickstart the fermentation -- the holey bread uses it and the white bread doesn't.

America's Next Most Disabled Ballerina (WmC), Monday, 4 January 2010 22:10 (ten years ago) link

i followed recipe/process from bread by hamelman. it used a biga (stiff preferment) and i think the secret is to handle the dough as little and as gently as possible, as it is very wet. like 70% water, dudes. and hamelman does this thing during fermentation (what most people think of as rising) where you fold the dough instead of merely punching it down. then after 3 hours of fermentation, you cut the dough into appropriately sized pieces and let em proof again and bake it. no kneading, no shaping. in fact i have plowed through hamelman's book without once seeing the word knead anywhere. needless to say i was surprised by the lack of mentioning kneading as i had thought it was a central skill of baking bread.

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Monday, 4 January 2010 22:42 (ten years ago) link

I know enough about the making-your-oven-a-steam-oven stuff from all the Bittman business last year). Anyway.


It is incredibly delicious.

― a full circle lol (J0hn D.), Saturday, December 12, 2009 4:37 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark

dude what technique(s) do you utilize for steam production john? or can you link to the "bittman business last year" you refer to above?

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Monday, 4 January 2010 22:45 (ten years ago) link

Odd that this thread gets bumped just minutes after I finished making a loaf of bread for the first time. It actually turned out really well.

I followed this recipe FWIW:

Janet Privacy Control (corey), Sunday, 8 August 2010 00:48 (ten years ago) link

if we're sharing recipes... this is wonderful, idiot-proof white bread ( and a recipe i wish i'd started with when i started making bread, as it is a great, easy loaf, with great results. and these rolls ( are a little trickier, but so delicious...

are you some kinda rap version of marc loi (stevie), Sunday, 8 August 2010 09:00 (ten years ago) link

Followed the same recipe as before, with better results this time (and cut a fancy X in the center :D)

I let it proof for an hour, then kneaded it again and let it come back to size on the pan, and later brushed on some olive oil for the last five minutes — the crust turned a lovely brown and is deliciously crispy. :)

Joanie Loves Shakuhachi (corey), Friday, 13 August 2010 04:21 (ten years ago) link


Want A+ tasty food homemade (jdchurchill), Friday, 13 August 2010 13:23 (ten years ago) link

for the easiest bread in the world, do soda bread

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Friday, 13 August 2010 14:18 (ten years ago) link

agree soda bread is mad easy and good to do

Want A+ tasty food homemade (jdchurchill), Monday, 16 August 2010 01:41 (ten years ago) link

eight months pass...

I made this buttermilk cluster as two loaves instead of a pan of rolls -- very nice, fine-textured crumb, better for sandwiches than the italian loaves I'd been making. And like all homemade bread, it makes great toast.

the wages of sin is about tree fiddy (WmC), Sunday, 17 April 2011 17:16 (nine years ago) link

nine months pass...

for my chi-town peeps i am involved in teaching bread classes as part of

Das Unbehagen in der Kultur (jdchurchill), Thursday, 2 February 2012 02:24 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

How important is putting bread dough into a preheated oven? I use the oven as a proofing chamber because the kitchen stays pretty cold and the pilot light keeps the oven warm but not too hot. When it's time to bake, could I just turn on the oven without taking the dough out? I'm proofing it in the dutch oven that it bakes in.

oldbowie (WilliamC), Monday, 30 December 2013 17:05 (six years ago) link

there's a discussion her

i think it ultimately depends on if the dutch oven is ceramic or cast iron --- it seems that a cold oven is suggested for ceramic receptacles/baking stones etc so that they don't crack, but if yr using cast-iron or enamelled cast-iron, you wouldn't need to do that & it may change how the bread turns out?

it's been years since I made bread from scratch, so idk

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 30 December 2013 19:40 (six years ago) link

It's enameled cast iron. It's rising very well in the oven, and I don't want to accidentally de-gas the dough with the impact of moving it around a couple of times, especially into a colder environment, so I'm going to try just turning the oven on. Thanks for that link!

oldbowie (WilliamC), Monday, 30 December 2013 20:29 (six years ago) link

It depends a lot on the dough - for most, you want a hot oven so the steam/gas in the dough can puff it up before the crust forms too much. A slower oven dries out the dough more during the rising/crust forming stages, again for most.

Jaq, Monday, 30 December 2013 20:31 (six years ago) link

three months pass...

My last couple of bakes have been absolutely beautiful. Letting the preferment sit overnight was not working -- cutting back to four hours tops meant it was still very active and raring to go when I mixed the dough. Finally getting the hang of the Kitchenaid mixer. For this last batch, I had new silicone loaf pans. Got a huge oven bounce.

WilliamC, Sunday, 6 April 2014 15:12 (six years ago) link


Jaq, Sunday, 6 April 2014 15:17 (six years ago) link

Thanks! I'm learning that little things can mean so much -- barely warming the oiled bowl that the dough rises in, and making a slightly wetter dough. But not exhausting the preferment has been the most important lesson.

WilliamC, Sunday, 6 April 2014 15:30 (six years ago) link

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