All Things Bread No.10

Hello Friends of Sourdough!
A friend joined the newsletter today – her bread name is Istan-Boule and it is KILLING ME with lolz!!
Today’s letter has a reverse timeline to help plan your bake.
They say what’s measured improves and this is especially true of baking bread! You’ll find a discussion on accuracy in measurement in the Zoom debrief section.
And in All things bread I discuss the favourite item in my home bakery (ok ok, my kitchen)    


All Things Bread
What is your favourite piece of equipment in your baking setup? Mine is not my beautiful wicker proofing basket I got from a famous bakery in Frankfurt, it’s not the 30kgs of granite I got gratis from a stone dealership in Sharjah (although that comes close!) and it isn’t even the beautiful Poilane bread knife!

No the title would have to go to my trusty weighing scale! My Mettler Toledo Cub that I bought in Delhi back when I first started selling bread from home back in 2012! 

As you will see below, the importance of having good measurement cannot be overstated and so it’s best to invest in a good scale that will do duty by your side for a long time to come. I love my Cub 🙂


Zoom Debrief

Accuracy in measurement : There are a lot of pilots on this group, and flying in general and airline flying in particular is about finding a happy balance between instinct and ‘flying by the numbers’. Well so is baking! As it goes in flying so it goes in baking; you get better each time, practice is everything and you’re only as good as your last loaf.

A good weighing scale, an oven thermometer and an instant read thermometer will go a long way in improving your results. With time as you get to know your oven better and better you will find yourself relying less on the two thermometers but the weighing scale will be your apprentice for as long as you are baking.

Here is a rough reverse baking timeline so you can plan backwards from the point your loaf comes out of the oven. Every starter, leaven, dough and oven is different, so the times given below will vary. I would suggest you copy this out to a notepad / word doc and build your own…  

1. You want the loaf out of the oven at ________

So now from that time, you subtract:

2.  30 – 45mins for baking
3. 2-4 hours for proofing at room temp OR up to 12 hours proofing in fridge. We’ll have to have a discussion on how to judge when proofing is done, ie “calling proof”
4. 30 minutes for preparing the basket(s), dividing, shaping and clean up after (there will be the bulk ferment container, the dough scraper and a bit of the dusting flour to clean up.
5.  6 hours bulk ferment at room temp / ~12 hours bulk ferment in fridge.
6. 2 hours at room temp (during which you will stretch and fold every 30 mins)
7. 30 mins to mix the leaven, salt and autolyse dough (if using) OR the flour and water if no autolyse.

– Somewhere here you’ll also start the autolyse if you are doing one – 

8. ~6 hours from last feeding for the leaven to reach its peak
9. 15 mins to do another feeding of the leaven.
10. ~6 hours for this to double (will depend on all those factors we talked about above) 
11. 30 mins to mix the part of the starter with fresh flour and water, plus clean up etc

Starter comes out of Fridge, one part removed for making leaven, That part is fed with flour and water_________

I hope this helps, and I know it can seem confusing but it all just gets exponentially better with each time you bake.

See you today at 4pm Dubai!