baking bread

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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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine years ago) link

bets: would this turn out really gross?

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

nope, just a standard blade, like this.

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

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

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

well ... ?

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

I have only recently learned the word is "proof" – when I worked at a donut shop, everyone talked about letting the dough "perf."

girl moves (Abbott), Monday, 4 January 2010 23:07 (nine years ago) link

The owner told me "to let the dough perf 'til it feels like a fat lady's ass."

girl moves (Abbott), Monday, 4 January 2010 23:08 (nine years ago) link

lol about fat ladies asses

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Monday, 4 January 2010 23:13 (nine years ago) link

haha yeah that's amazing!

Maria, Tuesday, 5 January 2010 14:39 (nine years ago) link

It was not maybe the most useful advice in a lot of ways, the main one being I'd never had my hands on a fat anyone's ass. So I'd poke at the dough intermittently and every time my mind would ask, 'Ass? Ass?'

girl moves (Abbott), Tuesday, 5 January 2010 16:56 (nine years ago) link

that made me lol at work and my coworker asked what i was laughing at

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Tuesday, 5 January 2010 16:58 (nine years ago) link

hahaha. if you poke a fat lady's ass does the hole stay there for a few seconds?

jortin shartgent (harbl), Tuesday, 5 January 2010 16:59 (nine years ago) link

"every time my mind would ask, 'Ass? Ass?'"
mine too!

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Tuesday, 5 January 2010 20:07 (nine years ago) link

Baking today...

I swear, sometimes dealine with a batch of dough on the board is like being confronted by a four-pound booger.

wanna be shartin' somethin' (WmC), Friday, 8 January 2010 19:35 (nine years ago) link

turn that booger into a fat lady's ass!

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Friday, 8 January 2010 21:52 (nine years ago) link

wow 2nd attempt at ciabatta is doper than the first. got much better steam with a bunch of rocks in the pan i was throwing the water in, and noticeable increase in oven spring.

Meteor Crater (jdchurchill), Monday, 11 January 2010 22:18 (nine years ago) link

hey guys i want to make a sourdough culture. has anybody done this before? i did a ctrl f on this thread to find 'sourdough' but it seems nobody specifically spells out how to make one of these . . .
i found this and they suggest freshly milled flour. i have whole wheat flour, but i put it in the freezer and i don't know if that fucks up the yeasts that are supposed to be on the grains or what. i have read what hamelman wrote about it in his book but he uses whole rye and rye flours which i don't have. also i have tried just using flour and water left open at rm tmp for a while and that made something that took forever to proof. lemme know yr experience plz

i should rectify that (jdchurchill), Tuesday, 19 January 2010 21:46 (nine years ago) link

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 (five years ago) link


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

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