The Bread Thread - A Thread About Bread

So how many bread bakers do we have among us? It’s been an on again, off again hobby of mine for a few years now, but I’m determined to be on again until I can finally bake a breathtakingly beautiful boule.

I’ve been using this book as my guide:

I have my dough in the fridge right now, and I plan on cooking it in one of my cast iron dutch ovens. In the past my loaves have turned out…okay. A bit too dense and moist for my liking. To combat that I’ve switched to instant yeast instead of active dry, and I’m going to proof a bit longer (and the house is warmer as well since I usually do this in the winter, so that should help).

I’m also going to try to be a bit more careful when I’m moving the loaf so that it retains its fully proofed shape, I’m going to introduce some steam to the pot instead of relying on the moisture inside, and I’m going to take a tip I read online where you remove the lid from the dutch oven after 15 or 20 minutes, since that’s when the oven spring process stops, and having the lid on after that only hurts the final product.

So what thoughts and experiences would you all like to share? I’ve made Bialy and Focaccia that both turned out wonderfully, as well.

If you want to discuss quick breads that’s cool, too. I know we have a general cooking thread, but I wanted to test the waters to see if many people here share the same interest I do. I love bread, and unfortunately the area I live in hasn’t a single local bakery that provides this kind product.

I’m an eater of bread, not a baker, but I wish you well in your endeavors. Let me know if you can make a kickass low-carb bread. That’s really what I need.

I will say that my needs to cut carbs and my desire to live in Europe, especially France, are at odds. So many amazing boulangeries when we were in Paris and Grenoble. Walk down the street in the morning and get the most delicious croissant and other pastries as you’ve ever had. So good. Cheap. Made that morning. All filled with carbs. :(

A friend of mine spent a week and a half traveling around Europe recently and he reported similar findings. As a lover of all things carbohydrate, I was quite jealous. Middle of Nowhere, USA has very little that can compete with that, and while I have next to no interest in moving to a city, competent and varied bakeries is one of the few things that could ever drive me to do so.

I have a bread machine that I use regularly. I don’t do much in the way of specialty stuff, mainly just sandwich bread. But having fresh bread on a regular basis, even just very basic bread, is so much nicer than the grocery store shelf stuff.

I make sourdough on the regular, and after a couple years I finally found a recipe I like. (I hail from the bay area so maybe I have higher standards.) Happy to go into detail but the long and short of it is the tartine recipe (available in the ny times) and a Dutch oven.

I tried a variety of other breads but for me it’s either the fewest ingredients (sourdough) or just toss them all in there (enriched bread: butter, milk, eggs, sugar… cinnamon, raisins… You get the idea).

Re: European bread, agreed about the French, but I could never find good bread in Italy. I even found one town where they made bread without salt! They claimed it dated back to some king and some tax but that’s just plain ridiculous. You can’t make good bread without salt.

Ooh I used to keep a nice sourdough starter around and baked bread fairly regularly. But that ended about 5 years ago when we moved States and I haven’t picked it back up again.

I’ve been baking quite a bit, but just sticking with a few basics for now. I want to get into sourdough but am too lazy to make or procure a starter.

My main references have been some basic recipes from the Jewlish cook book (they have a bunch of viral videos I’ve see on Facebook), and I also love the Ethiopian Dabo recipe from King Solomon’s Table

I’ve also followed this bagel recipe a few times, to mixed success.



Ethiopian Dabo

Good stuff! That all looks delicious.

Does anyone know of a foolproof way to make sliceable sandwich bread in a bread machine? We love the taste, but can’t get slices thin or sturdy enough.

I’ve been using the basic loaf and technique from that book for a couple of years now. We’ve gone to prepping it as rolls instead of a whole loaf for ease of morning lunch prep. All on cast iron skillets, because that’s what I’ve got. Let me go dig up a picture…

Have you tried Brave Tart’s Bagelike? Been meaning to take a crack at it, but it’s apparently not for the bagel purist (which I am not).

Those look nice! I’ll have to try that out sometime. I do have a couple cast iron skillets as well as a cast iron griddle which I plan on using for bread since I don’t have a pizza stone or anything.

I baked loaves for a year or so before going to rolls so there’s no rush…

By the way, I have a probe thermometer that I use for temp checks rather than time. I did find that bread times are very oven dependent and having the thermo helps get a more reliable result.

Foolproof? No. Workable? Mostly. I use the 1.5 lb recipe but set the machine on the 2 lb setting, so it bakes a bit longer. Also, go a little heavier than the recipe calls for with flour…it says 3 cups, I go about 3 1/8. After the baking is done, I pop it out of the machine and sit it covered on the counter for a half hour or so. All that gives the loaf a firmer consistency that’s easier to slice…usually. Sometimes I don’t measure something quite right and it’s a lot fluffier or crumbly.

I shall ow lurk in the shadows amazed and enthralled by the gorgeous, delicious photos of bread that shall ensue.

I shall also now always think of you as “Penny Breadful”.

I’m actually making some decent basic bread (for me - I’m happy with it) - my current problem is that it’s getting moldy fairly quickly.

I’m just making a basic wheat sandwich bread, but the last three loaves have gone moldy each within 3 days (in spite of me buying a decent bread box for them that has ventilation, etc.).

I know homemade bread doesn’t last as long as store bought bread because of the lack of preservatives, etc. But I’m not sure I can justify continuing to make it for myself if it’s going to go moldy by the time I’m half way through it.

I know there are other types of bread (sourdoughs, for example) that naturally last longer, but I’d rather figure out why this stuff seems to be going moldy faster than usual (or at least what seems usual for me).

I’ve not heard of it! Intriguing…

But seriously, anyone have tips on sourdough starter? Or where I could get it from?

I tried to make a sourdough starter a couple of years ago. The results was frightening and the apartment stank for days. We did not cook with it.

I think there are some places that will sell you a starter? Has someone managed to powder one?

For bread going moldy, it’s probably a humidity thing? I find that bread tends to last about 6 days or so out, and that’s in Northern CA.

Another solution is to bake smaller loaves more frequently.