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Yet another big bake. - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Yet another big bake.

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  • Yet another big bake.

    Largest bake to date. 13 lbs of flour...almost nine pounds of water.....(I do it in grams...but it sounds bigger when I say it in pounds. )

    17 loaves of bread...most one pound loaves...several two pound loaves....and ten dinner rolls... came out pretty good I think. Overproofed a bit, but tasted great. Still need to get some linen so I can cut down on the flour to avoid sticking. I'm going to attempt some whole grain stuff next I think.

    Pics from today...

    Last edited by WJW; 07-22-2012, 11:25 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Yet another big bake.

    well done
    loving the bakery pr0n


    • #3
      Re: Yet another big bake.

      VERY Nice!


      • #4
        Re: Yet another big bake.

        Actually Bill, the proof is just about perfect. The "goal" on boules is to have three colors of crust, a dark ear at the slash, a medium gold for most of the crust and a lighter "rip" in the slash. Your slashes "ripped" so your proof is pretty good. I personally prefer more so would agree shortening your proof could be beneficial - but not too much, probably less than half an hour. You got pretty good oven spring.

        Your crumb looks pretty good. The crust looks pretty thick and is rather uniform in color. I would suggest bumping the loading temp about 25 degrees F. You could slash a bit deeper - that will tend to give you a bit more of an ear.

        Nicely done! As noted previously my comments on oven temp and color are my biases and may not apply to you!

        Bake on!


        • #5
          Re: Yet another big bake.

          Beautiful batch of bread. What do you do with all of the bread?



          • #6
            Re: Yet another big bake.

            Thanks for the comments and advice guys. As far as the loading temp, it was a little lower than normal. Usually I build a big roaring fire...it gets totally saturated with heat to the point that everything is up over seven hundred...and then I let it cool down for a long time before I can bake. This time I tried to manage my wood better. Built a fire about falf my normal size...started earlier...the outer edges of the brick got to around five hundred, and the hot face of the brick was around 600 by the time the coals burned down. By the time I had the oven cleaned out the interior of the oven was around 520 on the IR gun, (around 480 measured air temp with probe). Did dinner rolls first as the loaves were finishing their proof. Temp was around 510 IR when the first batch of nine loaves went in. Second batch of eight loaves went in when temp was around 480 on the IR gun.

            The result of the incomplete heat saturation was that the temp fell off much faster than normal as the heat was still migrating to the outer layers of the bricks. The other side of the coin is that I used half the amount of wood I normally used. I'm trying to get a sense of how my oven heat loads so I can get it up to temp efficiently when I choose to do so.

            As far as what I do with all the bread about half will be given away to friends & family, half will go in the freezer.....I'm having a party this coming weekend at my house for 60 people. I'm sure a bunch of it will go into appetizers.


            • #7
              Re: Yet another big bake.

              You nailed the issue with "partial loading". The temp drops too fast and that impairs loaf quality. You will find what works for you! And that batch is well within the normal range that commercial bakers shoot for. Nice job!

              Thanks for the details!


              • #8
                Re: Yet another big bake.

                Don't go anywhere I'm on my way with 4 pounds of butter.........

                Very nice batch of bread!
                Live life like you're dying....without going bankrupt


                • #9
                  Re: Yet another big bake.

                  Yeah Jay, saving a bit of wood wasn't worth the headaches. When the thing is completely saturated with heat it stays very level and cools very slowly...even through putting successive batches of bread in.

                  That was the first time I had cooked while intentionally failing to saturate the oven with heat. I was trying to kind of esitimate at what saturation level would allow the oven to reach something approaching an equalibriam of around 575.

                  So when the coals died way down and the interior brick face was around 600 and the exterior margins of the brick (as measured by thermocouples) were at around 490, I figured things would equalize at around 550 or so and level off and slowly drop from that point. In other words, I figured I was good and didn't add any more wood.

                  What happened was that the temp fell much faster than I would have guessed and dropped to 550 and then right through five hundred...in less than an hour. This is far faster than it would fall if the oven was completely saturated. I didn't take the temp as I pulled the third batch out, but I'd guess the brick face was around 425 or a bit less. That would be a drop of nearly 200 degrees in one hour and forty-five minutes. Granted, I was baking during that time and losing heat that way, but that is still a far faster drop than when fully heat loaded. I've checked over the past several days and when sealed up and not cooking, the oven is only losing about four to five degrees F per hour...or just over one hundred degrees per 24 hours.

                  Upon refllection, it's pretty clear that I'm better off burning two or three more pieces of wood, completely heat loading it, leaving the door off, and then waiting the two to three hours needed to allow the interior to drop from pizza temps to proper bread baking temps. Or better yet, cook pizzia the night before and just bake bread teh next day. But my calender never works out that way.


                  • #10
                    Re: Yet another big bake.

                    I have had similar experiences with partial heat loading and find it very frustrating to try and figure out what will happen so i will stay with the full heat load and reliable heat loss curve, I do not have any temp probes so rely entirely on IR gun and thermometer inside the oven. I experience a 300 degree drop the first 24 hours and after that it tapers to 200 over the next 6 days (depending on cooking activity) each day i cook seems to accelerate the heat loss by .5 - 1 day.

                    Reheat even from 200 is quite fast. I have not been down to ambient for over 2 months now so I guess I am using the oven.

                    Beautiful bread BTW...



                    • #11
                      Re: Yet another big bake.

                      We just finished building our oven, the bread looks great, recipe? I was wanting to make the dough in a bread machine? Your picture has me more excited for the bread than pizza.


                      • #12
                        Re: Yet another big bake.

                        Hey Carol:

                        The recipe is a combination of instructions of what Jay (Texassourdough) and Faith (Faith in Virginia) gave me. Read posts 15 through 17 on the thread linked below. Actually, read everything Faith and Jay have to say on the subject of sourdough and you will improve faster than you thought possible. (I baked my first ever loaf of bread on April 26. I baked my first loaf of sour dough on may 13...I haven't used maufactured yeast since that date.)

                        Here is the link:


                        Take what I say with a grain of salt I'm still a beginner...but my view is that
                        the key is to have an active, mature, sourdough starter. It is not rocket science to culture one...follow directions and it just takes just under three weeks or so to get something that will produce at acceptable efficiency. Mine took a bit over a month to get really good...and it is continuing to evolve and improve after three months (I started my starter on April 23 using wild yeasts from the skin of blueberries. Whether the offspring from the yeast that came off those blueberries are still the predominant organism in my starter is anybody's guess...but whoever they call their parents, they kick ass when it comes to making a mean sourdough.)

                        I get your interest in the bread. The pizza is great (made a BUNCH tonight for the gang)...and I mean no offense by this to the pizza afficianados...but I find the making of a good sourdough bread to be a much higher art form. And therefore more interesting to me. I'd say it's maybe sixty-five percent science...thirty percent art...and five percent random factors that I find difficult to predict, much less control. Sourdough is so ancient...so integral to civilization...yet so damn tasty and good. And it takes a lot of skill to do it well with regularity. Don't get me wrong...it's not brain surgery...but there is a very distinct learning curve and it's a fun one.

                        Last edited by WJW; 07-25-2012, 10:51 PM.


                        • #13
                          Re: Yet another big bake.

                          Good Advice, Bill! And great comments!

                          Some extra advice for Carol... IF you want to make great bread you will almost certainly want to grow out of the breadmaker. However, if you want to start there, fine. But you will want to bake the bread in your indoor oven for it takes at least 12 pounds or more of bread in my experience to get good crust in a WFO and I question you will make that much dough in your breadmaker! In addition, there are qualities you are likely to want to pursue (like open crumb) that you are unlikely to generate in a breadmaker mixed dough. That said, I won't say you can't, you probably can if you work at it long enough - but it need not be all that mystical for making great bread.

                          And in recognition of those who make small batches of bread in ovens, it can be done - but it typically gives a pasty, grayish crust that I find unappealing. But those are all decisions for you to make for yourself.

                          And, finally, sourdough has a "rhythm" and so does the oven. Getting them on the same coordinated schedule can be a challenge. Especially if your sourdough habits are not consistent and your timing predictable. I really encourage people to begin in their indoor oven and not move to the WFO until their timing is consistent and they understand the process a bit.

                          But...everyone marches to their own drummer. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. The most important thing is to give it a try. And if you aren't happy with the results - make a change and try again. (But don't make TOO many changes or you will have a hell of a time figuring out the process. We will help you figure out what to try next!)

                          Good Luck and Bake On!


                          • #14
                            Re: Yet another big bake.

                            Hi all, do you use a mister/sprayer to humidify your WFO when baking bread? If so, how does that compare with placing a container of water in the oven?

                            I've had trouble getting the "ears" even when the oven is loaded up.

                            I also have been disappointed in the over all color of the "white" bread. It tends to be a dull white even when baked at 480F. I understand the bread flour has barley extract that normally browns the bread, and of course we can use an egg wash, or some such, but would like to get good color naturally.

                            Finally, how is the rise related to the "tears" we get with no-knead breadd baked in a covered dutch oven in the conventional oven? IS it a function of the proper rise or the humidity?

                            Sorry for the rambling questions!



                            • #15
                              Re: Yet another big bake.

                              Hi Joe!

                              The simplest and most accurate response to all of your questions is the same as for auto MPG....

                              "Your mileage may vary!"

                              There simply is no magic bullet that seems to work best for everyone. I personally consider putting a pan of water in a WFO heresy but there are people who find that it works for them. Many do use a sprayer. Others simply mop with a moderately wet towel.

                              Your lack of info on the details/habits of your baking makes it very hard to provide a confident answer. If your loaves are pale you are 1) overproofing (so there is no residual sugar) 2) baking them at too low a temp (you should be loading in the 550 to 575 hearth temp range in my experience, 480 is WAY low in my experience), or 3) your oven is dry (too low a loading - if you have enough bread you should NOT have a humidity problem - back to my mantra of a minimum of 12 to 15 pounds for a typical oven to get a great crust). (RE: 550/575 again your mileage may vary!) (One can bake smaller batches and get a great look but managing the hydration is in my experience not easy.)

                              Egg wash, barley, etc are NOT how to get the great look of WFO bread.

                              RE: ears and tears, it is proper proofing. proper humidity, and proper heat flow to the loaf which for a WFO is a fxn of the temp and heat loading of the oven. - both in the proofing and the bake.

                              Good luck!