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  #11  
Old 12-23-2012, 05:42 PM
BriggsARNP's Avatar
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Default Re: First Big Bake

If you were my neighbor and brought one of those loaves, even one with a dark crust I would think what a cool person.
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2012, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: First Big Bake

I had all my neighbors asking when the next bake is and willing to take whatever I made. Not the prettiest but really tasty. My kids ate 3 of the burned loaves since yesterday with their friends. Go figure
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  #13  
Old 01-21-2013, 01:46 AM
WJW WJW is offline
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Default Re: First Big Bake

What Jay said.

Doing good sour dough in a wood fired masonry oven is timing more than anything else. Well...it's also ramping up your starter in the two days prior to baking to make it very active...and proper heat management...and proper loaf formation...and well you get the idea. Kidding aside, the factors that gave the most trouble were probably, aside from loaf formation, the ones listed above.

Active starter is key. I get much better results if I start doubling up the feeding schedule two days before the bake. It still works if I don't do that. But it works much better if I do. Huge difference.

High hydration=great crumb and oven spring in my experience. I generally do 70 percent hydration.

I have the best luck with heat management when I light the fire the night before. Typically around mid-night when I go to bed. At nine am (right after mixing my dough and before salt addition) I go out to the oven and light her up. I'll burn big for an hour or two and will usually rake the still burning fire out to prevent it from getting too hot. I then clean and let sit with the door open for about an hour to cool. Then I close for approximately three hours as the oven cools and is completely equalized. At the time I close it up the oven is unevenly heated. The hearth is typically high six hundred range (say 680)....roof maybe mid-700 range.

My hearth target temp for the first loading is 550-560. After sitting closed up for three hours it's generally pretty close. Because the roof masonry is so incredibly loaded with energy from the all night burn, the roof is often slightly hotter than the hearth at this point. (Say 575-585). That's not bad and I think it gives me a bit better loaf color. I still find I freqeuntly need to mop the hearth a bit as it's cooling to bring it down to the proper temps.

The bake time for that temp is usually just a hair under 30 minutes.

By the end of the first bake the temp has dropped to below 500 but will quickly rebound to the 525 range if I let it rest for fifteen minutes before reloading. Biggest bake to date was thirty-one loaves weighing approximately 1.5 pounds each. Three loads. Most of my bakes are twenty to twenty-two loaves.

I don't add steam as I am loading between ten and twelve loaves at a time. That's plenty of steam for good color.

I did my first sourdough about eight months ago. I have not mastered it, but to use Jay's term, I think I have tamed the particular thing I'm doing here. I'm going to start try baugettes soon. I am now doing simple batards with some being white, some a mix of white and whole wheat, and some with thirty percent rye flour, caraway seeds, etc. Changing one variable at a time is good advice (and also Jay's). My loaves now routinely look like the ones below. (That's a couple weeks ago.) Keep at it. You'll get it down.


Last edited by WJW; 01-21-2013 at 01:51 AM.
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  #14  
Old 02-04-2013, 03:26 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Location: San Antonio
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Default Re: First Big Bake

Good comments, WJW! And a lovely bake! Nicely done! (And WOW! 30 loaves is a LOT of work! Bravo!)

Jay
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  #15  
Old 02-04-2013, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: First Big Bake

8 Months??? wow you have come a long way, beautiful. Nice bake

Faith
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  #16  
Old 02-04-2013, 05:26 AM
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Default Re: First Big Bake

WJW - that batch looks really good. Holy Bovines, I wish I had time to burn bread and complain about it lately. I am thinking that part of the issue was water in the hearth insulation around the edges, not enough heat saturation and the low humidity (low teens) that day.

Next bake will have minimal misting or a steam pan and a heat saturated oven. Now - where to find the time to enclose the oven, bake bread and oh yeah work

Be good!
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  #17  
Old 02-04-2013, 10:24 PM
WJW WJW is offline
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Default Re: First Big Bake

I just wrote a long reply thanking all of you guys/gals who were generous enough to help a complete rookie build an oven and then learn to use it to bake some pretty decent sourdough. I was specific in how each of you took the time to help me and others.

Then I somehow deleted it before posting.

So let me thank Jay, Faith, Al (brickie), Tom (Tscarborough), Chris (SCChris), DavidS, Giannifocaccia (John), and all the others for all of your help. You guys are so cool for sharing your expertise.

Bll
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  #18  
Old 02-05-2013, 06:36 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: First Big Bake

Thanks, Bill! I know I can speak for the others by saying that we all love seeing others succeed. The path to really great bread is not (at least for many) a casual one. There are nuances to learn. It takes time - some longer, some shorter, but time. And experience. And a great deal of care and effort. And you provided that. We only suggested things to try to help you climb over a misstep or obstacle. But be warned! As lovely and perfect as that batch was, you will continue to grow, your standards will evolve, and you will goof up from time to time and need to refocus your baking. But revel in the bread you are making! And enjoy the joy your bread brings to others!
Jay
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