The Humbling Loaf Of Bread - Penny Lane Blog at - 300565

Penny Lane

The Humbling Loaf of Bread 
Apr. 6, 2013 8:50 am 
Updated: Apr. 29, 2013 2:29 pm

One thing is certain, experimenting with bread keeps me humble.  Just about the time I think I have a new method mastered I decide to fiddle with it.  So it went with the Artisan Style No Knead bread I previously blogged about.   

Rather than using my smaller round Le Creuset pan, which I have used, preheated and not oiled, I went for the big boy, my oval Le Creuset.  I watched a video where the pan is not pre-heated, the dough rises in an oiled Le Creuset, placed in the oven and baked.  

I pulled my loaf out of the oven and it smelled and looked wonderful.  I flipped the pan over to dump it out and it was stuck.  I mean really stuck.  I couldn't budge it.  Out came the knife to run around the edge of the hot loaf - again, inverting the pan didn't budge it. 

I again, more forcefully, I ran a bigger and better knife around the edge - tried again and again the loaf didn't budge.  

This thing was glued to the pan.  Banging resulted in a mass of crisp crumbs but nothing else.  

Sitting back and assessing the situation I decided to attack this loaf with a wooden spatula.  I inserted the spatula along the side and used it like a lever to lift the loaf.  All of a sudden I heard a whooshing sound, crackling and popping galore and the loaf lifted right out.  

I waited the required 20 minutes to cool and then attacked my rather beat up loaf with a serrated bread knife. 

Imagine my surprise to find a hollow loaf!  






Oh well - you can't win them all!  

Apr. 6, 2013 8:53 am
Here is the video that lead me astray!
Apr. 6, 2013 10:17 am
I have had loaves adhere to the vessel on occasion. It always catches me by surprise and usually ends badly. I always sprinkle a very small amount of corn meal in my baking dish after I grease it. That is also true if I bake on a sheet with no grease. If I don't want the finished bread to show the cornmeal it can be brushed off. You have a giant popover there!
Apr. 6, 2013 10:30 am
Hi BSM - I too have used cornmeal on occasion but didn't think this would need it - the other loaves I have done in the ungreased smaller pot haven't even thought about sticking. No Baking Papa heard the noise coming from the kitchen and had to come out to see what was going on. It wasn't pretty! I am taking this to my friend with chickens - I think the chicks can climb inside and feast till their hearts are content.
Apr. 6, 2013 10:42 am
Now see why bread baking is one of my fears? If Baking Nana has problems, well............
Apr. 6, 2013 10:45 am
I will say, though, (humbly of course),I am a master at making Amish White Bread. It is so forgiving. So far I have made all sorts of little diversions from the recipe and it always turns out. I appreciate a recipe like that!
Apr. 6, 2013 10:55 am
LOL - Paula! The yeast gods are laughing at me, aren't they! Seems I just can't leave well enough alone. The original recipe has never given me problems. What is that saying? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Apr. 6, 2013 10:56 am
BTW - I probably couldn't re-create this masterpiece if I tried!
Apr. 6, 2013 11:45 am
Those were some gassy yeastie beasties!
Apr. 6, 2013 12:21 pm
Baking Nana,i know it's not funny,but could not help laughing as i was reading this.I find making bread relaxing,but this first time i made it,you could use it as a door stop.Like Paula,i make very good bread now.The chickens will enjoy your gift.
Apr. 6, 2013 2:39 pm
Doc - those yeasties can indeed by BEASTS.
Apr. 6, 2013 2:41 pm
Manella - Oh this is hilarious. Now - if this were one of my first loaves I might have cried - but no, I laughed so hard and called everyone to come look! I made a Chick igloo!
Apr. 6, 2013 3:14 pm
Poor chicks they will eat their igloo cause it is so good, and then they will be homeless.:(
Apr. 6, 2013 3:50 pm
Ah yes! But this won't go to waste! :) Besides, it was good for a laugh! I didn't need all those carbs anyway!
Apr. 6, 2013 3:59 pm
Wow, that is really odd. Is is nice that an accomplished baker is not afraid to share a failure. My mothe always told us if we didn't make mistakes then we weren't challenging ourselves. Thanks for the blog.
Apr. 6, 2013 4:53 pm
Very true Marie C.
Apr. 6, 2013 5:29 pm
BN: Lesson learned. Thanks.
Apr. 6, 2013 6:33 pm
Baking Nana-Maybe you could turn the bread into bread crumbs.Today, I thought I would use parchment paper when making banana bread, so I could just lift the bread out. I forgot to oil the sides where the was no paper. So when I pulled out the bread the sides stuck. Fortunately, I ate my mistakes. Unfortunately, I was not hungry for dinner.
Apr. 6, 2013 7:07 pm
Lela, you are a hoot. Thanks for the laugh.
Apr. 6, 2013 8:42 pm
Marie C - I want to thank you - anyone - even the most accomplished have failures - I am not the most accomplished and I do have my share of failures - the difference is that years ago I would have cried, now this 'events' are hilarious! Your mother was absolutely correct. We are all still learning. - when I stop learning I should be prepare to toss in the apron and call it quits. In the meantime there is yeast to keep me on my toes!
Apr. 6, 2013 8:43 pm
Lela! What a great way to eat yourself out of a sticky situation! Well done!
Apr. 6, 2013 8:44 pm
Bikerfamily! There are always lessons to be learned. Some more humbling than others....
Apr. 7, 2013 8:30 am
Whoa! I had to double check to see if this was Baking Nana's blog. Even expert marksmen miss their target once in awhile. When I saw your first blog on Artisan Style No Knead bread I gave it a try and to my amazement it turned out perfect. When it was done baking in the preheated not oiled dutch oven I could swirl the bread around in it like a marble. No need for a pry bar. Like the others said here, if your not making mistakes your not cooking.
Apr. 7, 2013 9:04 am
Hi bd.weld. I am going back to the proven method for sure! Thing is, that video that lead me astray is a VERY accomplished chef. Hmmmm - I don't know what happened but I do know that his method did not work for me. I am glad that your bread was a success. Isn't it delicious?
Apr. 7, 2013 5:00 pm
YOU SCARED ME! I thought, "crackling and popping galore," meant the end of your oval Le Creuset. Better a hollow loaf ;)
Apr. 7, 2013 5:04 pm
[Reminds me of the large loaf of bread "Mouse House" at the Children's Zoo in the San Diego Zoo (=]
Apr. 8, 2013 5:13 am
I don't know if this will help or not, but I wrote an article on my blog awhile back called, "How to Bake Bread Like You Know What You're Doing." If you do a search on my blog, there are a few more recipes I created as well:
Apr. 8, 2013 12:06 pm
Hi Barb - gosh I am glad it wasn't my pan and only the bread! Doesn't it look like a house? Funniest thing I have seen in a long time!
Apr. 8, 2013 12:08 pm
Hi donnam - thanks for that link. I have been baking for a long time and I am forever fooling with recipes. I admire the fact that you have actually been able to write down the correct proportions - I go so much by sight and feel that I have trouble writing down the actual measurements. Thanks for stopping in.
Apr. 8, 2013 3:03 pm
Great blog BN! Don't you just love it when you've made something a gozillion times and then you think, I'll try a "new" twist on this. And, ka-pow! You get "humbled. Admitting mistakes and failures keeps us approachable and likeable too. Plus, I don't trust anyone who won't admit their failures. You're awesome and real and I love that about you! BTW, how'd it taste?
Apr. 9, 2013 8:29 pm
The great things about admitting mistakes is you find out you're not alone - and, inevitably, so does someone else (= [And it becomes a teachable moment (=]
Apr. 9, 2013 8:32 pm
OMGarsh! I went looking for a picture of the mouse house at the zoo - and am I ever sorry that I googled "mouse house bread!" Learn from my mistake - don't do it!!!! ~bleh!~ BUT, this is what I was looking for (=
Apr. 9, 2013 9:36 pm
Hi Candice. Thanks for your kind words. Yep, we are all human and if we didn't Experiment it would be boring.
Apr. 9, 2013 9:40 pm
Thanks for the link and the warning Barb. I will trust your judgement Lol
Apr. 9, 2013 10:21 pm
The internet can be an interesting place and an education - and not always a pleasant one {=
Apr. 10, 2013 5:18 am
Isn't that the truth!
Apr. 10, 2013 4:48 pm
I just loved everyones funny. This is why I have to get over my fear of yeast. I'm with bd weld, had to read it over to make sure I was in the right place.
Apr. 11, 2013 10:09 am
bahahahaha, please laugh so I can laugh with you:P Don't you hate/love new humbling experiences? I had a similar event with plain old loaf one time, I heat the oven, just a min or 2 in the winter, then stick my bread/buns in for final rise, this time I must have heated too much as my loaf had a huge air bubble in the top. The rest rose to an adequate height, but I thought I was master of the dough when I had a HUGE loaf baking away only to find it was a high crust with normal bread under neath. The boys peeled away the crust and enjoyed as always. Humble cooking/baking keeps us human, (and gives people like me a little giggle for the day-I am not really mean, just enjoy sharing failures, especially when I am not part of it)
Apr. 13, 2013 4:08 am
I have been an allrecipes member for YEARS(like since 2003), but have never read too many of the blogs...until I saw this title. Oh my goodness, I know what you are talking about, bread can be SO humbling!! I actually own a bakery and everyone around me considers me an "expert" and thinks I have never failed-I always say there is no such thing as an expert and you just haven't been in my kitchen at the right times. :-) Even though I am only 35, I have been cooking/baking for 30 years as my grandmother was a professional chef and I spent a good deal of my formative years with her-so I cooked multiple things daily most of my life. I was never too intimidated by too many things, when you grow up with it, how can you be? However the failures have taught me that I will NEVER have everything mastered, there will always be more to learn. My biggest problem was irish soda bread of all things, I tried recipe after recipe, replaced my soda, did everything I could think of to figure out the problem. Turns out the problem was me, I had been wanting to mix and knead like I did all bread-opps. I made so many hockey pucks I can't even count them before I figured out what I was doing wrong. I can now make a beautiful loaf of soda bread but only because my family had to endure many that weren't. I actually had one batch of loaves turn out just like your igloo...I had made it, panned it, and then one of the kiddos had an emergency and it was left to rise for 5-6hrs vs 1hr. The result was exactly like your photo-don't know what process was involved, but for me, that is what made the dense loaf that APPEARED to be OK but was a popover instead. The worst part about failure when baking is how badly you want to taste it after smelling it in the oven for so long!! Somehow even the failures emit mouthwatering aromas. Wishing you continued baking success-even with new methods. Thanks for sharing and giving me a smile for the day :-)
Apr. 29, 2013 2:29 pm
As much as I wish I lived closer, it's a good thing I don't: I would never want to leave your house! Good food and good food for thought are irresistible!
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Baking Nana

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About Me
Every morning my granddaughter calls and says, "Good morning Nana. Whatcha doing? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my name, Baking Nana. I love to bake bread and never get tired of it. Yeast is additive! Visit me at If you would like to contact me directly please use the 'Contact Me' on my site.
My favorite things to cook
I go through phases, Asian for a while then Italian then on to something else. I love experimenting with new flavors and different spices. Some times my husband will ask if we will ever have "ordinary" food again. Once in a while I have to toss him a burger just to keep quite! Actually, he is a good sport and my favorite taste tester.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In our family if it is your birthday you get to choose the menu. We have had some really interesting meals. In March we have 5 birthdays so we do one big party - what a crazy menu that is! Christmas dinner is very traditional. Sausage rolls, Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, Green beans with bacon, Mashed Potatoes (the really fattening kind) and trifle for dessert. If I were to dare to omit any of those items I would be lynched.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering really great bread is probably my biggest triumph. I am always so pleased when I create a perfect Asian dish.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few but none so horrible that I can't laugh about them now.
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