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Feb 7, 2010 05:47 AM

Bread Baking at Home


I was asked by some to start a board concerning bread baking at home.

I agreed.

So, if I can help...awesome. No one will learn more than I.

NO...we'll learn together.

We'll deal with anything that contains yeast, from Brioche to pre-ferments, to sour doughs.

So...let's play and learn together!

If I don't know the answer, I know where to find it.

No being bashful here...we're just all breadheads!

Adagio Bakery & Cafe

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  1. Thanks Adagio!

    I'm more confident working with yeast bread dough and have been pleased with the resulting bread. I've used my cast iron dutch oven and cookie sheets to make 'artisan' bread. Do you have recommendations or things to look for in a loaf pan? I'm going to start making sandwich bread for everyday use.

    Also, how to tell that the bread is fully baked - without letting the load cool and cutting it open?

    2 Replies
    1. re: rtms


      Normally, a 4X8x2 inch pan will hold about a pound of product. Roll the dougn into a cylinder and place it in the pan to proof.

      Proofing is done when you gently press the dough and it comes back slowly.

      Bake around 440F with Steam (a cast iron fying pan on the floor or lowest rack of the oven will do nicely. Load the pan and throw a cup of hot water in the frying pan, close the door and do NOT check for 15 minutes, then open the door to let out any moisture, turn the pan.

      Good color is an indication of a fully baked loaf. However, you can turn the loaf out of the pan and thump the should be hollow.

      Also, squeezing the sides...they should be firm.

      Practice, practice.......practice!

      1. re: rtms

        Yep, good color is a great indication. Also, you can knock on the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it's done.

        As for loaf pans - I don't even own one. I bake my bread freestyle on, well, whatever I have on hand. Right now, that's a roasting pan. I'll bake smaller batches in a stainless steel pot that's had the handle (plastic) removed - that works great for the husband to have fresh bread for breakfast every morning. And he gets fresh bread every morning.

      2. I'd like to hear about the use of a poolish & biga--why is that different than just no-knead with an extra step added?
        I'd also like some frank talk about oven limitations--I've got an old electric (which does the no-knead just fine.) But should I not try certain breads?

        36 Replies
        1. re: blue room

          Has anyone tried leaving their yeast dough in the fridge over night to rise? Does it work? Does it give bread more flavour?

          1. re: Smachnoho

            Yes, I've done this with the Lahey no-knead dough--it does rise, just very very slowly compared to how it rises on the counter in the summer. I always like the flavor, but personally have never had 2 loaves (one slow, one fast) to compare. I read that fermentation is what causes flavor. It *seems* like the same amount of fermentation must take place in both cases, if both bowls of dough end up the same size. I would like to know also how this works.

            1. re: blue room

              Adding a pre-ferment will change the flavor!

              A biga 60% hydration left over night will make the bread a bit more acidic.

              A poolish, 100% hydration will make the bread more lactic...think yogurt!

            2. re: Smachnoho

              I'm baking pizza this evening and the crust that I am using is a whole wheat crust that has been resting/rising in a Rubbermaid container my fridge for a week.

              A week might seem too long to some but a long slow rise is a sure way to extract the maximum flavor from a yeast dough. I wouldn't leave it out on a 68° counter for more than 48 hours, but because the action of the yeast is slowed dramatically at 40° a week in the fridge is quite safe.

              Rising time= flavor.

              1. re: Kelli2006

                I didn't get why rising time=flavor.
                But just found (at a site called "The Kitchn") this explanation:

                "When dough is refrigerated, the yeast and bacteria go dormant, but the enzymes that have been breaking down flour starches into sugar keep on trucking. This gives you a much higher percentage of simple sugars in your final dough than you would otherwise. The final loaf will have sweet nutty flavors and the crust will get nicely caramelized."

                1. re: blue room

                  One more question, if I leave my bread dough in the fridge overnight, should I shape it into loaves after I take it out in the morning and then bake or should I shape it into loaves and then put it back in the frige for a few more hours?

                  1. re: Smachnoho

                    Shape first...then retard overnight.

                    This works really well with Levain breads.

                    Adagio Bakery & Cafe

                    1. re: Smachnoho

                      You can do it either way.

                      Personally, I usually let the dough go through its first rise, then shape it and stick it in the freezer, but I've done it both ways and it's worked fine.

                    2. re: blue room

                      The yeast in retarding does not go to sleep, rather, it slows down.

                      There will be an increased acidity present the next day.

                      Usually, retading is limited to about 16 hours, otherwise the acid strength is way too much.


                      Adagio Bakery & Cafe

                      1. re: blue room

                        When you use the no-knead method (Lahey-Sullivan) or a sourdough or pre-dough to make your bread, there are two types of lactobacilli that affect the dough, and one type of yeast. This is true no matter where in the world you make your bread.

                        The lactobacilli come in two different forms: hetero and homo. Heterofermentative and homefermentative. They play the major role in bread rising and flavor. Less important, but still important, is the yeast.

                        Most of sourdough's flavor and leavening come from the heterofermentative type of lactobacillus, which pumps out acetic acid (vinegar, for sourness) as a by-product and favors a temp below 82-85 degrees F. The other type of lactobacillus -- homofermentative -- pumps out the lactic acid (more mellow and complex than acetic acid) and does its thing above 82-85 F.

                        So, a long cool fermentation increases sourness. By controlling the temp of the starter and dough, you control the type of lactobacillus that has the upper hand in fermentation, thereby controlling the final flavor and sourness of the bread.

                        Debra Wink, the co-author on a number of scientific sourdough articles whom I quoted above, sums up things nicely on her great bread baking website:

                        -- more fermentation time generally means more acid
                        -- lower temperature increases the percentage of acetic acid, or sourness.
                        -- lower temperatures produce acids more slowly; higher temps, more quickly
                        -- higher temperatures mean a higher ratio of lactic to acetic acid. This is a mellower acid; the flavor is rounded and complex.

                        You can experiment what temperature (or combination of temperatures -- both in and out of the refrigerator) gives you the flavor you prefer.

                        I have also found these tips helpful to producing artisan loaves:
                        -- heating the cast iron pot in which you will bake your bread in a hot oven for an hour (from the Lahey method)
                        --introducing steam into the oven at the beginning of the bake for good oven rise; this can be as simple as throwing a half-cup of water into the bottom of the oven.
                        --dusting the loaf with flour before the final rise, and slashing the tops of the loaves in a pretty pattern

                        Good luck to you. If you need links to the Lahey-Sullivan no-knead instructions (both initial and revised), let me know. There are other very good threads on this on Chowhound. I really think the flavor, look, and texture are excellent with this method.

                    3. re: Smachnoho

                      You can do that after shaping if you like.

                      It's called...retarding the dough.

                      It will absolutely affect the flavor as acids will build up during that process.

                      Also, you will notice the bake will produce little bubbles on the crust. If you don't mind that then go ahead.

                      Retarding bread is a great way to come in the morning and go right to the bake.

                      Some loaves lend themselves to retarding more than others. Experimentation is key.

                      1. re: Smachnoho

                        I'm currently doing the Artisan Bread in Five method wherein you mix up a large batch of dough (enough for 4 1lb loaves) and store the dough in the fridge for up to two weeks to use at your leisure.

                        I let my last batch sit longer than two weeks (life got in the way); the last two loaves I baked were almost sourdough in taste - absolutely delicious. So in my experience: yes, letting it sit in the fridge absolutely results in a more flavorful bread.

                        1. re: jencounter

                          Best part about bread baking, and the first rule is...if you like's right!

                          Now...go bake some more!

                          Adagio Bakery & Cafe

                        2. re: Smachnoho

                          It certainly does help-to a point. I have found that up to 48 hours is optimal in terms of increasing the flavour

                        3. re: blue room

                          Poolish, biga, madre, pate fermente...are the "flavor packets" of the bread.

                          The pre-ferments, as they are called, add the flavor profile. You can bake a straight dough without a pre-ferment but it just won'e be as interesting.

                          Oven limitations are the biggest thing. However, there isn't a home oven I haven't been able to overcome.

                          Steam is all important and if you read the above post, you will see an explanation.

                          Knowing your oven is the most important thing, and an internal thermometer would help to see if your oven is accurate.

                          Loading the bread in a home oven is a problem because when you open the loose a hundred degrees right off the bat.

                          I stone is a wonderful thing. Go find "fibrament" on the web...they are great.

                          No-knead? Please explain to make sure we're talking about the same thing.

                          1. re: Adagio

                            "No-Knead" is a term used for the relatively new bread baking technique of stretch and folding high hydration bread dough over a period of time to develop gluten rather than kneading dough (either by machine or by hand).

                            One of the first to use this method was Steve Sullivan of Acme Bread Bakery and has become popularized by Jim Lahey (the New York Times No-Knead Bread (aka NYT No-Knead bread)), the book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" (aka "ABin5), Cooks Illustrated, and Peter Reinhart in his new book "Artisan Breads Every Day".

                            It's revolutionized bread-baking for home bakers in that the method allows home bakers to make up a batch of dough and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or so and each day, cutting off a portion that's ready to bake in a very short period of time. Home bakes can come home from work and have freshly baked, deeply-flavored bread for dinner every night;

                            1. re: housewolf


                              We do "stretch and folds" all the time.

                              Normally, it depends on much gluten you form off the mixer.

                              It's never knowing when to turn on the's when to turn it off.

                              However, I feel, a certain amount of mixing is always needed.

                              In normal bread, we do a stretchen a fold in the middle of a two hour bulk fermentation.

                              On higher hydration breads like Ciabatta, we do a 3 hour bulk fermentation and two stretch and folds.

                              This is not a revolutionary method for home bakers, but a normal device for pro bakers as well.

                              As for keeping dough in the fridge for 5 days...there will be a LOT of acid formed.

                              If you like that...great.

                              Adagio Baker & Cafe

                              1. re: housewolf

                                Correction: Peter Reinhart's new book "Artisan Breads Every Day" is not about no-knead. The bread is kneaded on the first day, then allow to cold ferment in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Reinhart found that he likes the flavor of the bread better when using extended fermentation at refrigerated temperatures.

                                It is a method used by pro bakers - make the dough the day before, then shape, proof, and bake the next day. It's more a matter of scheduling when you need to have fresh bread available for your morning customers.

                                1. re: RikkiMama


                                  Extended slow, overnight, retarding of dough does change the flavor.

                                  We find that levain bread work best like this.

                                  Also, we retard laminated dough and brioche over night.

                                  Remember, after mixing, let ferment at room temperature for one hour then refrigerate. De-gas several times in the next few hours.

                                  Have fun!

                                  Adagio Bakery & Cafe

                                  And...if you're looking for the definitive book on bread baking, try: BREAD by Jeffrey is the best.


                                  1. re: Adagio

                                    I've been making the Lahey no-knead bread in a cast iron pot.
                                    Can I use this same recipe in a loaf pan? Been wanting to find a way to make a no-knead sandwich loaf.

                                    1. re: EllieLA

                                      Hi EllieLA

                                      I don't see why not!

                                      I would put a cast iron frying pan in the bottom of the oven. If it's electric...the bottom rack.

                                      Try baking at 440F.

                                      Load the panned bread, put a cup of hot water in the frying pan, and close the door.

                                      Do NOT open for at least 15 minutes, then change the position of the pan to get an even bake.

                                      Let me know how you do.

                                      Adagio Bakery & Cafe

                                      1. re: Adagio

                                        If the poster, EllieLA, is using Pyrex or other glass loaf pans, couldn't 440 be a pretty hot oven? Most of these brands advise against using temps above 375 degrees.

                                        1. re: Sherri

                                          HI Sherri:

                                          I guess 440 for glass might be too would have to check with the manufacturer.

                                          Also, and I'm not sure about this, the sudden introduction of steam could crack them?!

                                          Here's my take on glass:

                                          1. it insulates too much slowing the bake. Remember, the yeast will continue to feed until 140F. So too much gas production might...I say might be a problem.

                                          2. Because of the insulating properties of glass, the bake will take longer for two reasons, you suggestion of a lower temp and the thick glass.

                                          3. Why just make one loaf??? You can get ganged steel pans, three to a section that will fit nicely in a home oven. This makes turning the loaves much easier, and you can get 6 loaves to the bake.

                                          Think how family and friends will love you!!!!

                                          Adagio Bakery & Cafe, LLP

                                  2. re: RikkiMama


                                    This usually works best with sour dough breads. The extra fermentation...does help the flavor.

                                    However, you have to put up with the "bubbles" on the crust.

                                  3. re: housewolf

                                    Last week, I purchased "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" . I was a bit skeptical, but the loaves I've made thus far were a major hit with the family. Especially my Frenchman, who is thoroughly disgusted with the baguettes in American bakeries.
                                    That being said, the title of the book is just a tad off-putting. Yes. It truly does take five minutes to MAKE the bread dough. However, the day of baking, it takes 40 minutes to rise the dough, another 20 to preheat the oven and another 30 to 35 minutes to bake the bread. Also, if you like your bread salty, ya gotta add more salt!
                                    Other than that the book is great!

                                    1. re: jarona


                                      I recently bought the book, too, and my experience has been similar to yours. The claim of 5 minutes is true, for hand's on time. IIRC, I previewed the book on Amazon, and was ready for the additional time I'd need to be present.

                                      I initially decided to buy it after successfully baking a few loaves in my 4.5 quart saucepan. I now have a different take-away.

                                      It's great if you want the the same bread every day, or nearly. My problem is that we like too many different kinds of bread, and with a small household, it takes us a while to eat them. If you have a large family, with a lot of extra fridge space, it will be much more useful. I could make smaller loaves, but I'd still not have the variety we like.

                                      I am keeping the book for now and may find it more useful as time goes on.

                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                        When I make artisan bread (bread that requires time and attention), I let it cool completely, then slice it, plastic bag it, and freeze it. We remove slices as needed to nuke for sandwiches or to throw right into the toaster. If you are looking for a dinner party loaf, you can freeze it whole, let it thaw in the bag, then refresh it whole in the oven.

                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          Thanks, sandy.

                                          We're already doing that. My problem with the ABin5 bread is that I'm baking 3 times every 2 weeks, not counting pizza. 1 time is rolls (which we use for various things), another is 2 loaves of multigrain, the 3rd is 1 loaf of white sandwich bread for Mom.

                                          It's possible I could make white sandwich bread and rolls from the same dough. Is there a nice fine crumb recipe in the book? I could also keep pizza dough on hand, then I'd only need to make the multigrain every 2 weeks. My issue now becomes storage space. We just don't have room in the fridge for 2 buckets of dough.

                                          I'm not a contrarian about this, honestly. I'd *like* to be able to make breads without having to start from step 1 every time. Even with the rise and bake times, it would save a lot of effort, what with all the weighing, measuring, mixing and kneading.

                                          Perhaps if I spend more time with the book I'll be inspired to find a way. :)

                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                            Your problems sound similar to mine - !

                                            We both actually want to be a production kitchen rather than a home kitchen.

                                            The challenges of life...

                                            1. re: sandylc

                                              <We both actually want to be a production kitchen rather than a home kitchen.>

                                              That made me smile, thanks! :)

                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                I dream of having a freezer full of every kind of top-notch homemade goodie imaginable. Bagels, English muffins, croissants, etc....

                                                EDIT: Maybe I need more people to eat these things, first...

                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                  You're singing my song. For my next trick, I wanted to tackle pita bread, which is kind of meh from the store, but I think would be great at home. Problem is, no one else wants it. Same thing happened with the English Muffin bread. So good, yet so lonely.

                                                  When I'm cooking, I want to be Ray Kinsella. If I bake or cook it, they will come. And stay to do the clean-up! :0

                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                    Pita is fun to make! The James Beard recipe is very good...

                                          2. re: sandylc

                                            I should add that we're already freezing rolls, everything else goes in the fridge, unsliced. Fresh bread spoils in 3 days here in summer.

                                            It's always a battle between fridge and freezer space, trying to strike the right balance. It comes from my frugality. We're retired military, living an hour away from the nearest commissary. We shop once every 2 weeks, filling in with produce in between. It makes for a crowded fridge/freezer unit, but saves a bundle versus shopping at the local supermarkets.

                                          3. re: DuffyH

                                            Duffy H. Did you try the brioche recipe at all? I haven't tried it, but it is definitely on my to-make list. I am also planning on adding some olives and rosemary and additional salt to the dough I will prepare for this weekend!
                                            I don't worry about the shelf-life of bread in our house--I live with a Frenchman and they will survive solely on bread, cheese and wine--LOL! However, when my oldest son came to visit last weekend, he just about ate an entire loaf:)

                                            1. re: jarona

                                              I haven't tried the brioche yet. Just the basic loaf.

                                              We could survive on bread, cheese and wine, happily. Alas, we have no self-control where those are concerned. You'd need to stencil "Boeing" on our butts. :0

                                  4. Anyone know where I can get liquid levain in DC?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: ams1


                             lives in your flour bag!
                                      Monday morning:
                                      Step one:

                                      Put 125 grams water in a mixing bowl

                                      Add 50 grams of rye flour

                                      Add 50 grams of all purpose flour.

                                      Mix well and cover lightly with plastic.

                                      Monday afternoon:

                                      Add 125 grams of water
                                      50 grams of rye
                                      50 grams of all purpose

                                      Tuesday Morning

                                      Take one half of your sour...toss out the rest.
                                      to it add 125 grams of water,
                                      50 grams of rye
                                      50 grams or all purpose.

                                      Tuesday afternoon:

                                      add 125 grams of water
                                      50 grams of rye
                                      50 grams of all purpose

                                      Wednesday morning

                                      remove half of the sour
                                      add 125 grams of water
                                      100 grams of all more rye.

                                      Wednesday afternoon

                                      add 125 grams of water
                                      100 grams of all purpose

                                      Thursday morning

                                      remove half your sour
                                      add 125 grams water
                                      100 grams all purpose

                                      Thursday afternoon
                                      add 125 grams water
                                      100 grams AP flour

                                      Friday may just see gas forming by now.

                                      Remove half your sour
                                      add 125 grams water
                                      100 grams all purpose

                                      Friday afternoon
                                      add 125 grams water
                                      100 grams all purpose

                                      You should have an active culture of liquid levain by now!

                                      You can continue to feed it once to twice a day for another weak. Remember to remove half the sour and toss it.

                                      Keep the formula 125% water to 100% flour.

                                      After you have a strong culture, you can refrigerate your levain and each week a couple of days before you bake, take it out of the fridge, remove half and feed. as you did when you started it.

                                      The rye is there to start the culture. The enzymes in the rye really accelerate the process, but it is not necessary! You can do it with all purpose flour alone. It may just take a day or three longer to get going.

                                      Let me know how you do!

                                      Adagio Bakery & Cafe

                                      1. re: Adagio

                                        Adagio, what is the science or purpose of removing half of the sour so often and throwing it out?

                                        And, at what point is it ready to use. At that point, wouldn't the 1/2 I remove from the mother culture be what I use to actually bake with, as in remove and make a loaf with 1/2 the starter, feed remaining starter and put it back in the fridge?

                                        Please advise.

                                        1. re: gingershelley

                                          Gingershelley, those are the questions I have had for seems unclear and wasteful to me. I guess, tho, that the throwing away part is so that it can be fed frequently without becoming the size of a house - ?

                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                            Personally, when I start a new wild yeast starter (also known as sourdough starter, but mine isn't sour), I start with much, much smaller amounts of flour and water. I tend to do, say, 10 grams flour, 10 grams water - no rye.

                                            If you don't remove some of the starter each time you refresh, you'll have to add an increasingly larger amount of flour and water. For example, let's say you have 50 grams of starter that you want to refresh. I'd add 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water - so twice the amount of flour and water of what's already in the starter. If I had 500 grams of starter, I'd have to add 500 grams of flour and water to refresh it. That's really wasteful.

                                            I don't through out the starter I remove - I'll use it for making pancakes, waffles, cakes, and so on.

                                      2. Hi all-

                                        I'm fairly new to bread baking, and have recently began exploring the recipes in Bread Baker's Apprentice. I have made several of them, and I've noticed the same problem each time (which seems to mean it's my technique rather than his instructions/procedures): my bread always registers higher on an instant probe thermometer than Reinhart indicates it should be (often as high as 88-90 degrees, instead of at the required 79-81) and yet it doesn't pass the windowpane test. I start checking half way through the suggested kneading time, and it's nearly always above temperature, and yet just pulls apart when I try to stretch it. Today, out of curiosity, I probed it before I started kneading, and found it to be 86-87 degrees. Does that mean I'm adding water that's too hot, and thus leaving too much residual heat in my dough? Or is there another factor I'm not seeing?

                                        In case it matters, here's how I have been kneading my dough: entirely in a large Oxo bowl, rather than on a counter. This innovation (to me at least) was brought about due to a back injury that made standing uncomfortable, and the total lack of counterspace in my kitchen (and Reinhart mentions it as a technique in the tutorial at the start of BBA). It means that I'm not adding any extra flour - when I first started, I was often adding 1/2 cup in order to keep my dough from sticking. For the record, I have done the kneading the "traditional" way and in the bowl, and the result is always the same.

                                        My second problem is the amount of rise I'm able to get during the final proofing before baking. After the hour Reinhart indicates, the dough has either not doubled in size or has started deflating a bit, which is compounded when I score and transfer the dough to bake it. Is there some way I don't know about to measure when to stop the final proofing so that you still get some oven "spring"?

                                        Thanks, and please let me know if I'm not being clear enough. I really appreciate the help!

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: guster4lovers


                                          This will take a few emails. If we're talking white flour, pre-ferment doughs, 76F is MORE than enough!

                                          Also, you MUST correct for temperature during the mixing phase!!!

                                          So, if you have all the parts:

                                          Flour temperature, room temperature, preferment temperature and mixer's how it goes.

                                          Flour, room, pre-ferment, water are four parts. At 76F that's 4 X 76 = 304F


                                          Flour = 65F
                                          Room = 66F
                                          Pre=ferment = 68F
                                          Mixer Friction = 15F

                                          Total 304
                                          Flour -65
                                          Room -66
                                          Pre-ferment -68
                                          Mixer friction -15

                                          Water = 90F

                                          This will get you to the desired dough temperature and consistency.

                                          1. re: Adagio

                                            I just bought a KitchenAid 600 Pro stand mixer, and I do not know what is meant by mixer friction, and pre ferment. my house is at 72 degrees, so does that mean my water and flour need to be at 72 as well? Also how did you do the calculations to figure the mixer friction

                                            1. re: we3lsc

                                              Ok- I've baked bread for over 30 years & IMHO the only temp I pay attention to is that of liquids added to the yeast (ie. too hot). All this other stuff just confuses & complicates- how can anyone learn to bake bread by constantly sticking thermometers into the ingredients?

                                              1. re: bevwinchester

                                                Hi bev,

                                                I'm a seasoned cook and a novice baker, but just as I use an oven thermometer to check my oven temp before baking, I use a Thermapen to check ingredient temps and final loaf temp when baking. To me, it's just common sense.

                                                My range's oven always signals it's preheated at 220º, and my Breville oven shows 240º when it's signalling 350º, for example. So I stick my oven thermometer in as soon as I turn those on. I once removed a loaf from the oven when time was up. It thumped hollow and had a nice golden crust, but it was underbaked. Ever since that loaf I've been checking the temp of my loaves and have had zero problems.

                                                You say I can't learn to bake bread this way, and perhaps you're right, if by 'baking bread' you mean doing everything by feel and look, without bothering with measuring spoons, scales, recipes and thermometers. Me, I'm fine with all those things. To each baker her own, yes?

                                                1. re: bevwinchester

                                                  Bev, this is not directed at you, necessarily, just at the topic...

                                                  Many professional bakers use precision times and temperatures at all stages of the baking process in order to produce large quantities with consistent results and perhaps with several bakers contributing. They consider things like friction in the mixer, room temperature, etc. to obtain exact results every time.

                                                  For the most part, the home bread baker could/should pay attention to the following temperatures:

                                                  finished loaf

                                                  The liquids, so that you don't kill the yeast.

                                                  The oven, for obvious reasons. Home ovens don't necessarily heat to the temperature that you set them at; you can usually just take your chances, but I have sometimes found the need to use an oven thermometer. If you don't use one, be aware that your baking time might be different from the recipe.

                                                  Using a probe thermometer of good quality is an excellent way to be sure your loaf is baked perfectly. I have baked bread for about forty years, and I began using my thermopen to check for doneness a few years ago. I will never go back to guessing.

                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                    Even professional bakers don't get times and temps right. It is because of the following reasons:

                                                    1) each batch of flour can have slight variance in the gluten and the amount of water it absorbs. During each kneading, a final visual and tactile check is done to see and feel if the dough consistency is all right.

                                                    2)each batch of yeast may have slight variations in efficacy. it is difficult to keep this consistent.

                                                    The air pockets raising the bread before it goes into oven is carbon dioxide. the final rising that happens inside the oven heat is steam expanding. Why I mention it is because for a good baking, high temperatures, constant movement of air (like fan oven) and copious moisture like steam oven are all very important.

                                                    1)Low temperature results in poor rise. So preheat fully. For domestic oven I recommend the highest setting.

                                                    2)If you like bread, proper steam oven is a good investment.

                                                    (you can convert ordinary domestic oven to stem baking by splashing 100ml water EVERY 7 minutes.)

                                                    I uploaded a pic of the bread (baguette) that I do most often. Small amount of organic rye and spelt added to cheap ordinary flour with sea salt. The dough is extra matured for 2 to 3 days inside the fridge for flavour and good rise. Green tint is from added spirulina and wakame.

                                          2. Hi.
                                            I'm working on a baguette recipe, where there's a pate fermente that's about 70% the total weight of the flour. Can you tell me your thoughts on the best time and method to incorporate this is?

                                            I've been mixing it into the water & yeast, then adding the flour & salt. This results in a very ... STRONG dough, that rips itself apart at the seam. (no, it's not too much flour during shaping, I've tested that to death!). I've tried adding an additional amount of water to the dough, to soften it. This almost worked, but the dough is so soft, it's very difficult to work.

                                            Any help would be appreciated!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MDCurrent918


                                              70% is a lot.

                                              Try throttling back to about 40% and see how that goes for you for taste.

                                              As far as gluten development, take your pate fermente and break it into pieces and throw it in during the incorporation phase.

                                              Mix the dough for about 2-3 minutes until it comes together, then about 4-6 minutes at medium speed...about 8 on a kitchen aid.

                                              That's enough!!!!!!

                                              Two stretch and folds will provide all the gluten you need after that!

                                              Adagio Bakery