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Ramping up for a load of SD Boules. - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

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  • Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

    I have been working on my sourdough lately and using Lodge combo cookers in my kitchen oven to great success. I received the book "Tartine Bread" by Chad Robertson, for Christmas in 2010. This book is where I discovered the reference to use the combo cooker for bread baking. Because I didn't want to spend the money for another piece of cookware, it took me a year to splurge. I fought my kitchen gas oven, trying to get loaves like I see at real bakeries and in pictures, all without complete satisfaction. In the end I decided to buy a combo cooker, just to see if my crust would improve, it did. Once I baked the first loaf, it took me another day to buy a second cooker. I bought the second cooker because 2 loaves is the same work as one loaf and I always have family of a neighbor or friend that enjoys it.

    Now to translate the foundation work done in the kitchen out to the WFO.


    PS Sorry for the poor picture quality and for the lack of a crumb shot. My wife stole my camera again..
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

    Dude, that looks really good. Do you have more info on the cooker.
    "You can tell a dutchman,
    but you can't tell him much"


    • #3
      Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

      Wow, Chris, those SD loaves are awesome. The color on the crust and rise you got is impressive. I don't know what a combo cooker is but I'll check it out now. Was it all done with your SD starter? How long (or slow-retarded) proofing did it get?

      I've been eying 'Tartine Bread' and will order it too.
      -Cheers, Dino
      "Life is a banquet and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death." -Auntie Mame

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      • #4
        Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

        Here is a quick link to Amazon;


        PS. CostPlus has these in stock at the stores.

        I feel like a 600g boule works in the 5 qt cooker, that's the single loaf is, but 800g seems to do even better. I learned a few things when I started working with the combo cooker.

        1. How hard it is to get adequate steam in my gas oven, even with spaying water and a cloche covering the immature loaves.

        2. How much heat loss I had during the steaming period in my oven. What I use to do was spray, and again in 5 minutes and again, for the first 16 to 18 minutes. I then went to an aluminum lasagna pan, the grocery store variety, and the loaves were better, less spray and better crusts.

        3. How I had minimized shaping thinking that the crumb, the open structure, was going to be better. I’m careful about shaping so as not to lose too much gas, but by having to shape boules to fit the cooker, I found out that you can be reasonably rough and have great results. Additionally, unless you get tension in the skin of the boule the making a acceptable cut is difficult.

        4. When cutting the loaves before they go into the oven, a sharp pairing knife will do but a chopstick cut down to accept a double edge razor blade does much better.

        5. I got comfortable, gained confidence, with the sourdough formula that I was, and I’m still using.

        Like I said, now to expand the recipe five fold. Get 8 more baskets and get it all to work in the WFO. Timing will be everything.


        PS The lid part of the cooker is placed down and the deep part of the cooker is placed over the loaf; no spraying is required and the top, the deep part, is removed after 20 minutes... Voila!
        Last edited by SCChris; 04-24-2012, 05:45 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

          Originally posted by Dino_Pizza View Post
          Was it all done with your SD starter? How long (or slow-retarded) proofing did it get?
          It was all done with my SD starter and retarded, bulk, in the fridge for 3 days. 1 to 4 seems to be fine. I removed the dough from the fridge and it sat for an hour, was shaped and sat at room temp, 72F, for 2.5 hours and was baked.



          • #6
            Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

            Chris, thanks for the info, I went to "The Fresh Loaf" and found out some more info " http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20473/basic-country-bread-quottartine-breadquot-baked-dutch-ovens"
            Very interesting read. I've got three dutch ovens, I'm going to have to do a little work on this.
            "You can tell a dutchman,
            but you can't tell him much"


            • #7
              Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.


              Fantastic bread! I am envious of your results, but now know that it is possible at home. What I'm most impressed with is that you figured out a two-stage process of cloche and WFO to get your results. I have a lodge cast-iron dutch oven and can't wait to press it into action. Please look for a PM to ask for your SD recipe and process.

              I too bought the Tartine Bread book via Amazon and took it last August up to San Francisco hoping to get Chad to sign it. Although I visited the Tartine bakery twice I was not able to get Chad to come out so I'm hoping you can share some of your successes.



              • #8
                Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

                Thank Gary, Dino and John, I'm a newbe relative to others here at FB and more so at The fresh loaf.



                • #9
                  Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

                  Yuuuuuuup... Nice job Chris...Your on your way!!!

                  Bake on!!!


                  • #10
                    Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

                    Thank you Faith!



                    • #11
                      Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

                      I'm still working on shaping and slashing, and getting the bake right.. I wish I could state that these came from the WFO, but they're still from the kitchen gas oven. The loaves in the rear have darker bottoms and were baked about 10 minutes longer. They announced themselves as they cooled, sang is the term I see being used for this. They range in weight from 630g to 700g. I really need use the scale and equalize the weight of the loaves. I eyed it this time, not next time.

                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by SCChris; 05-03-2012, 03:18 PM.


                      • #12
                        Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

                        Hi Chris!

                        I am just back from fishing in BC or I would have commented sooner!

                        Nice loaves. Chad likes a dark finish. Good crumb. You could probably get away with a "hair" wetter - say another two percent if you want a more open/random crumb. Proofing looks good but the two loaves in the second picture of the first email are arguably a bit underproofed (based on the cracking). I think I would add 15 to 30 minutes more proof. That will also give you a more open crumb and a bit less eruption. But, as always these are personal taste/look issues.

                        When you go to the WFO, assuming you try to do it out of the combo cookers, you will need at least twelve to fifteen pounds of dough in my experience to get the kind of crust I think you want. And you will probably have to do some significant humidifying of the oven with a mop/sprayer too - depending on many factors. Expect a big learning curve if you are to match your combo cooker crust. (Would love for you to nail it on the first try and prove me wrong!)

                        Well done!


                        • #13
                          Re: Ramping up for a load of SD Boules.

                          Thanks Jay for the input!

                          Once again I have to say that the combo cookers, CC, do something magic to the crust.. Of course I know now that whatís going on is the steam allowing the oven spring and really creating the depth of crust.

                          It finally clicked and I made a connection between water bagels and these breads regarding the beautiful glossy chestnut / mahogany color of the crust and the effect of the water and steam to gelatinize the crust before the dry heat does its part creating the crunch and color.

                          Itís a real eye opener and lesson about the inadequate techniques that I thought were right in line with what was needed and being described in books and blogs. My steaming of the oven was lost, vented right out of my gas oven and even though the aluminum pan was better than not having one it doesnít compare to the CC.

                          I know that I need concentrate on shaping to get a consistent result, the CC forced me to concentrate on shaping boules and this made me more aware of how it affects the final results. Shaping is more important than I had previously imagined or admitted.
                          Iím getting better at judging where the loaves are when proofing and baking, but I need more experience in the saddle.

                          Baking a load of SD boules in the WFO wonít be tough, getting it right, however, is going to be a real challenge. Next batch Iíll up the water and see what that does to the crumb and manageability although Iím up at 80% by the time I calculate all of the water and flour in the starter and final dough, so it may speak volumes about the final proofing needing more time. I already have a batch in the fridge waiting to be shaped, proofed and baked, so I'll experiment with 30 minutes more of proofing and see where that takes it.

                          Time in the saddle..

                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by SCChris; 05-07-2012, 11:02 AM.