my not-so-right bread

I’m not a big bread baker, but I would love to get better at it. I tried a basic white loaf recently, and even though it tasted great, it obviously doesn’t look right. The recipe didn’t mention slashing the top, and as you can see, it burst out the side. I guess it looks kind of cool, but it’s not supposed to look that way. Here’s how it went.
So far, so good. This was a very wet-style dough. Not one of those no-knead doughs, but a dough that is supposed to be sticky and messy. I’m pretty sure I got the texture right up until this point.
Here’s where I think it went wrong. The recipe said to cover the dough in plastic wrap for the first rise. But it didn’t mention anything about room temperature, and this was a really cold day, so I think my dough was drafty. From my experience, that’s a bad thing.
So even though the dough got smoother like it was supposed to, it just didn’t rise very much. Then I started to panic during the second rise and didn’t take any more photos. I once read about a technique to turn on the oven for a minute and then turn off the heat, and to put your dough in that slightly warmed oven to rise. That helped a lot. The rise in the pan went a lot better, but I knew it still didn’t rise enough. So I think that’s why the dough broke through on the side like that.
I hate to even complain. Honestly, the bread tasted great, especially toasted the next day with a little butter. Oh man, that’s heaven. But I’m certain the bread was supposed to be taller, so next time I’ll try this recipe on a day when my kitchen is warmer.

30 thoughts on “my not-so-right bread

  1. Justin–I'm an artisan baker in nebraska and have followed your blog for a while. you are correct in thinking that the dough just needed to proof more. depending on the kind of leavening agent used, you are usually pretty safe to bake once the dough has reached a half inch or so above the pan (sometimes it varies with sourdoughs and such) Good luck!

  2. aimei: thanks for the encouragementjoanna: yeah, i think it's interesting to write about my flops sometimes, especially if i learn from them. but this wasn't a bad flop in terms of taste.the DISH: thanks for the feedback. it definitely wasn't 1/2 an inch above the pan before i started baking it, and i think it just rose really fast once i did, causing it to tear. it's funny that a mistake-post got you to write a comment. nice to know you've been following my blog.

  3. Bread is bread is bread. 🙂 as long as I can have some I'm happy. It's been a while since I've baked a loaf. I miss the smell of fresh baked bread around my apartment. Tis time to break out the flour once again. 🙂

  4. Did you check your kitchen for rats? Looks like it ate its share. He he!But, what matters is the taste,right? I would rather have a yummy-tasting okay-looking bread rather than viceversa.

  5. I think as long as it tastes good that's what matters! I use a tip I saw on somebody's blog to help rise and it's running a few inches of warm water in your kitchen sink w/ the drain plugged. Then stick the covered bowl in the sink to rise. The warm, moist environment is perfect for it!

  6. and i think (but i'm not a bread maker) aren't you supposed to slash the top so it doesn't burst out like that?i mean i think it looks fine, but if you want killer tops, then yeah practice makes perfect. love the butter shot though.

  7. same her..I want to get better at bread baking :).. yours looks yummy and I'm sure you'll get better esp if you are passionate about it 🙂

  8. I enjoyed reading your bread baking experience as i'm not big bread-baker either, it was very helpful! The loaf still turned out great especially the toasted ones! Good luck on your future bread-baking, i would love to get more tips from you!

  9. I find bread tough to get right, too. But hey, as long as it tastes good… I find that even the wonkiest homemade loaves usually end up making good toast.

  10. I studied the bread picture before I started reading the text and thought aloud: should slash it before baking it. :-))))The taste is the key for any cooking, right? And here you got it.

  11. I took a bread baking class a month ago and besides the fact bread is not good for bikini season, lol, I have learned a lot. Your bread looks fantastic. My first few loaves were not as good as my next few let me put it that way but I can make a crazy good baguette and crazy good challah now. Keep at it.

  12. jenn: i agreecool lassie: yikes… it came out of the oven that way. thanks for visitingaruna: thanksstephchows: definitelynina: thankschristina: i like that tip

  13. ana: thanksdawn: sometimes, but this recipes is supposed to be rounded on topann: thankselin: definitely. thanks for the support.sook: of courseolive: i hope soanjelikuh: thanks. i will definitely keep trying.lpr: ha, you're very right about that

  14. hilary: ha, i love the word wonkiestphyllis: right, i'll go with thatchinesekite: well, this recipe wasn't supposed to be slashed at all, but sometimes that's greatsylvie: ha, i love thats: thanksjennymac: ha, well, i guess you're right about bikini season. challah seems like it would be hard to make

  15. Hilarious that you stopped taking pics because it wasn't rising! I don't think the pics were causing the problem! BTW, you were right about the slashing–that bread needed to be slashed down the center top so it wouldn't blow out the side so unattractively. But it tasted good, so no real harm,right!

  16. nancy: i know you're an expert, but this recipe was supposed to turn out taller and rounded on top, so i know it just didn't proof right. i totally had a panic attack when it wasn't turning out right.muneeba: ha, thanks

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