Baking

You will need:

  • pizza peel; alternatively, you can use metal sheet;
  • spelt bran or other type of bran;
  • razor or scalpel;
  • water spray bottle

Before you start baking for the first time, check how much time your oven (with a pizza stone in it if you are going to use one) needs to reach the temperature of 250 degrees Celsius [482 degrees Fahrenheit]. You will need this information to know when to end the retarding process (take the loaves out of the fridge).

Once the oven has heated up to 250 degrees Celsius [482 degrees Fahrenheit], perform the following steps:

  1. sprinkle the pizza peel with bran;
  2. place the loaf on the peel, gently turning the basket upside down;
  3. score the loaf using a razor or a scalpel (read more about scoring at the end of this section);
  4. quickly spray the inside of the oven with plenty of water (try not to spray water directly on the oven lamp as it may crack) and close the oven immediately afterwards, to maintain the right temperature;
  5. take the peel with a loaf on it, put the loaf directly on the pizza stone, and quickly close the oven door;
  6. do the same with the other loaf, in the above five steps; spray the oven with water once again (be careful not to wet the loaves too much);
  7. close the oven and keep it closed for at least 30 minutes.

Loaves shrouded in steam                                                     Turning the loaves in the oven

Reduce the temperature to 225 degrees Celsius [437 degrees Fahrenheit] and set the timer. If your oven does not bake evenly, 15 minutes before baking ends you can turn the loaves using a pizza peel (remember to wear oven mitts!). The fully baked bread loaves are shown in the pictures below.

Baking is done!                      Cooling down the loaves                   Bread slices

A powerful water spray bottle is an invaluable tool, as it shrouds the oven in mist in an instant, without causing heat loss. Moisture in the oven helps the loaves rise before the crust hardens.

Scoring

In time, as you become more experienced in baking, you will learn to assess whether the loaf you are going to bake shows a potential to rise during baking and may crack (if it has been rising in insufficient temperature or not long enough, or the dough is too thick), or – quite the opposite – whether the yeast have consumed too much starch and the loaf is filled mainly with gas, or the dough is too loose and the bread structure may collapse during baking. In both cases, problems may be largely mitigated by scoring:

  • A loaf which is likely to rise intensely should have very deep scores (approx. 2 cm deep) in 3 or 4 places (or even in a tic-tac-toe pattern), made with a blade held perpendicularly to the loaf surface.
  • A loaf which has no potential to rise more should have very shallow scores (2 to 4 mm deep) in 2 or 3 places, and the blade should be held at an acute angle.