Newbie frustrations


 Hi. I've been experimenting with sourdough for a while but with varied success. Some loaves have been great, others less than impressive.  However, my most recent attempts have driven me to register in the hope of gaining encouragement. I can cope with the challenges of wet dough fairly stoically. However, in the past week, I have managed to throw the dough off the peel, across the baking stone to the BACK of the oven. Last week it was retrievable with half of it still on the stone. After it had cooked, I peeled it off and once the burnt crispy bits were discarded from where it had hung down the back and stretched, the rest was really quite tasty, if not quite the shape I was after. This evening, after what looked like good progress and a decent dough slashed ready for the oven, I somehow managed to miss the stone entirely and the dough is currently baking somewhere at the back of the oven in a crumpled heap.  Please tell me this is just a phase and my sourdough journey is not completely doomed!  It's a fairly new electric oven and the shelves are shorter with quite a big gap at the back. The stone came from BakeryBits and just fits on the rack. easy mistake to make, twice....very unfortunate, thrice....I really hope won't happen!  Trying to keep the heat in and get the dough off the peel quickly is proving more challenging than I expected. I've got another loaf retarding overnight. I really hope third time's a charm.

292 users have voted.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 February 12

 Don't worry about keeping the heat in, take your time.  The stone stores the heat and transfers it to the dough, that is why you have the stone.  Have you tried Parchment Paper? It works great at gently sliding the dough onto the stone.

lenohbabe's picture
lenohbabe 2012 February 12

 Yes !! Been there and know how youre feeling , also what about forgetting to boil your kettle for the water needed for steam.

Or forgetting to put your stone in  the oven and when you go to put your bread  in you realise the ovens too hot to take the stone now as it might crack with the heat, so you now have a slashed loaf that has to wait till the oven cools down enough to take the stone then you have to wait  for the oven to heat up again.   Or what about when you add the salt same time as everything else in the recipe and now your worried your starter will die before it can activate. Or when your scale decides to cut out in the middle of adding flour or water and you don't know what amount was added .......phew is this sourdough really worth it .......YES !!!!  YES!!! YES!!! Just keep going.

Guitargoth try using parchment on your peel instead of flouring it, that just slides off onto the stone very easily.  If you flour your peel with ordinary flour or bread flour I have found it kind of absorbs into the dough and if your dough is sticky it makes it harder to slide of the peel.  If you want to use flours instead of parchment I use rice flour and then a sprinkle with course semolina this combination works well for sliding dough off the peel. 

Keep at it guitargoth it's so worth it in the end. 

Old Possum's picture
Old Possum 2012 February 13

If it makes it easier just slide the loaf AND the parchment paper onto the stone. You do have time to pull the rack forward out of the oven so you can manoeuver the loaf easily onto the stone - as LeadDog says that is why you have the stone: it's a heat sink. Once the loaf has been baking for around 20 minutes or so (depending on what you are baking and whether it is covered or not) just slip the paper out from under the loaf and finish baking it on the stone. The base will have hardened by then and it will slide off easily.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 February 14

Hello GuitarGoth,

As well as the baking paper you could also sprinkle a little semolina onto your peel before transferring the paper and loaf onto it.

I also assume that you are aware of the technique of pulling the peel back sharply from beneath the loaf so that the inertia of the loaf means that it stays in place while the peel slides out from underneath.  A bit like the old 'pull the tablecloth from under the plates' trick.

Good luck with your projects.


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