Monday, April 25, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

It seems to be one thing or another with my bread baking. Most of the blogs I read-- and learn from-- seem to consistently make these beautiful loaves. I, too, have made some great-tasting loaves, but something always seems to go wrong. Usually I can ascribe these "wrongs" to something I've done (overproofing, underproofing, poor shaping, poor scoring, etc) and even if I can't do it immediately I can usually find some kind of a scientific explanation, but right now I seem to be in a place where I am just lost. No explanation I can think of. Here's the problem: starting yesterday, the water has no longer been cooking out of my bread. I can't explain it. I tried reducing the time under steam, but the problem remains. Three different loaves. It makes no sense. Anyway, I decided to cook a small loaf (1/3 of the recipe) of Wild Yeast's Norwich More-Sourdough for our Easter luncheon. I fermented it overnight in the refrigerator. It tasted wonderful, but it was heavy and dense. Much of the water didn't cook out of it. Nice crust, though.

Norwich More-Sourdough
Close up:
Nice blistered crust

Irregular crumb, but the water didn't cook out.

The other two loaves I made were one whole wheat and one country Tartine loaf. Once again, the loaves were very good, but extremely heavy. Once again, the water just did not cook out of them. I also had some trouble with a banneton (see below). However, the loaves bloomed and colored nicely and the taste was good. Why did the water not cook out? I don't know. I just don't get it. Ideas, anyone?
Tartine Loaf
 The crumb was weird:
Weird Tartine Crumb
Just as I thought it was impossible to make a mistake when following the recipe of the Tartine loaf...


  1. I think you're too hard on yourself---all these loaves look amazing. I love the top one, the scoring, or whatever you call it, is beautiful.

  2. Thank you! The crusts are amazing, the problem is the interior which is very heavy and weird.It tastes's just not right. My real problem is that I cannot figure out the reason behind it. I'm going to try again later this week.